The family of a 7-year-old boy who was allegedly handcuffed at a Dallas Independent School District elementary school has hired an attorney.
Yosio Lopez's parents say Dallas ISD police restrained Yosio at Gabe P. Allen Elementary for acting out last week. The child's mother says he suffers from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and is in the special needs program.
April Odis, the child's mother, argues police used excessive force and didn't tell her Yosio was transported to a mental health facility. Dallas ISD says because of federal confidentiality laws, the district is unable to publicly confirm or deny the claims, but the child's family says they're demanding answers.
The boy's family shared photos with NBC 5, claiming the bruising on the 7-year-old boy's legs are from a Dallas ISD police officer's nightstick, and they say the marks on his back are from an officer's Taser.
"He said, 'The police laser tagged me at school,' and he says, 'My body did this real, real bad,' and he goes, 'By the time you knew it I had those handcuffs on my back,'" said Lopez's grandmother, Eva Alejandro. "He goes, 'I couldn't get out of it, and all I wanted was my mommy.'"
Alejandro said she was devastated to learn that he was allegedly handcuffed at the school last week and then transported to Dallas Behavioral Healthcare in DeSoto, where the family says they took the photos of him in handcuffs hours later.
Odis said the school notified her there was a problem with her son, but she said they offered little explanation when she rushed there to pick him up.
"When I got there, (I said) 'Where's my baby?'" Odis said, recalling a conversation with a school employee. "(The employee said) 'Oh, he's not here. He was acting out, he was saying the absurdities, so he's gone.'"
The family has hired an attorney and claims the district doesn't have adequate oversight from staff and blamed last week's incident on a "failure in training."
"He was denied his safe place," Odis said. "I feel cheated and my son feels cheated."
The boy's family says he spent nearly a week at the mental health facility and was just released Monday afternoon.
Dallas ISD released a statement Monday:
"The Dallas Independent School District is committed to educating the whole child each day, and in doing so, we believe in providing a productive learning environment that is safe for all staff and students. While there has been media interest into an alleged incident at one of our Dallas ISD campuses, due to federal confidentiality laws protecting the privacy of all students and their families, we are unable to publicly confirm or deny the matter reported. We stand by our commitment to serve all students and to ensure their health and safety are never compromised as we focus on student achievement."