A 10-year-old Black girl who was arrested at a school in Hawaii over a drawing was the only Black student involved in the incident and the only one disciplined, the girl’s family and their attorney said.
“It’s hard to believe that they were not treated that way because of their race,” Attorney Mateo Caballero said about the girl and her mother. “She was really the only student investigated, disciplined, interrogated and arrested.”
Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii sent a letter to the Honolulu Police Department, the state Department of Education and the state attorney general’s office demanding policy changes and compensation over an incident at the Honowai Elementary School in Honolulu.
The girl was “handcuffed with excessive force and taken to the police station” after a parent called school officials to complain about a drawing made by the girl and demanding to get police involved, the ACLU said.
The girl’s mother, Tamara Taylor, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Friday that she dropped her daughter at school and received a call later that day about a children’s dispute and the possibility of police being called.
When she arrived, Taylor says, officers were already at the school.
“We were led into a room I’m assuming to discuss the situation. However, what happened previous(ly) to lead up to where we were at that moment was never explained to me. I really didn’t know what was going on at that point in time,” Taylor said.
She wasn’t allowed to leave that room and only saw her daughter at a distance when a police car drove off as Taylor was escorted outside, the mother said.
Taylor said she doesn’t believe the drawing was the sole motivation for her daughter’s arrest and race played a role.
“I was stripped of my rights as a parent and my daughter was stripped of her right to protection and representation as a minor. There was no understanding of diversity, African-American culture and the history of police involvement with African-American youth. My daughter and I are traumatized from these events and I’m disheartened to know that this day will live with my daughter forever,” Taylor said in a statement earlier this week.
The ACLU is giving the school and the police until November 8 to respond to their demands.
The Honolulu Police Department told CNN on Tuesday it was “reviewing the letter and will be working with Corporation Counsel to address these allegations.”
A spokesperson for the Hawaii DOE said the agency did not have a comment at this time.
CNN reached out to Honowai Elementary School but has not heard back.
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