Salecia Johnson’s Parents Want Answers

The mom and dad of the 6-year-old who was handcuffed at her Georgia school talk to The Root.


Even though it’s been a week since Georgia kindergartner Salecia Johnson was carted off to jail in handcuffs after throwing a temper tantrum in school, her parents are still unsure what caused the 6-year-old’s behavior.

“The facts aren’t really clear to me how she ended up in the office in the first place. I’m sure something else was going on, because my child is not a bad child and she does not act out to this degree,” Salecia’s mother, Constance Ruff, 27, told The Root. She believes there’s more to the story than what school officials or the local police department reported.  

Last Friday, April 13, around 11:30 a.m., Salecia, who attends Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, Ga. — about 100 miles outside of Atlanta — was taken to the principal’s office after being involved in an altercation with two other girls who were pushing one another, Ruff shared.

Once in the office, Salecia became “violent and disruptive” and displayed behavior that included “pushing several other students; running away from the school staff; slamming chairs around the school office; climbing up and knocking over a bookcase; knocking pictures off the wall; scribbling over the walls and door; and injuring a school employee,” Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Geneva Braziel said in a written statement.

“That could have played a role in Salecia’s acting out, because she was being disciplined and other girls weren’t,” said Ruff, who added that the school never contacted her about Salecia misbehaving but said that she did speak with her daughter’s teacher after the girl complained about kids “picking on” her. Creekside Elementary School officials referred all questions to superintendent Braziel.  

Braziel’s statement also says that the school called the girl’s emergency contacts — who included Salecia’s parents and Ruff’s sister — and that the police were involved because safety became a concern, pointing out that it was the Milledgeville Police Department’s decision to handcuff and transport Salecia to jail. Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord declined The Root’s request to be interviewed for this story.