Chaquita Doman was free to walk the streets of Pensacola, Fla., on Friday after her arrest 48 hours earlier on a charge that she assaulted a 51-year-old school counselor. Chaquita Doman is 5 and attends kindergarten.
Chaquita's parents took her to the Escambia County Jail on Wednesday after the police told them that a warrant had been issued for her arrest. She was booked, fingerprinted and questioned by the juvenile authorities."They even took her mug shot," said her grandmother, Linda Nash. "It was a shock to everyone that a 5-year-old girl was treated like that."
Chaquita's father, Lee Ernest Middleton, a tree cutter, said he was flabbergasted when he saw his daughter marched through a complete booking process.
"Can you image what it's like to have your daughter fingerprinted and escorted by a deputy to a juvenile facility?" Middleton said.
Pensacola school officials said Chaquita, who is of average size and weight for a kindergartner, had a history of "out of control" rages. The officials said they had asked that the warrant be issued as a way for the girl to get help.
They said the attack took place on Feb. 3 at Edgewater Elementary School when she bit and scratched the counselor, Linda Green. The officials said the child had hurled furniture, bit the counselor's arm and inflicted more than two dozen deep scratches on Green.
After the girl went home from school that day, a warrant on a felony charge of battery against an educator was issued. The parents agreed to surrender the child last week.
Juvenile officials said they could not discuss her case because of Chaquita's age. Her parents said they had been told the case might be dropped if they got counseling for the girl.
The case was not the only one in Florida last week in which a child was arrested on felony charges, even though children under age 7 are not usually considered mentally responsible for a criminal act.
On Thursday, a 6-year-old Lakeland boy was arrested and taken from his kindergarten class in handcuffs. The boy, Justin Re-zen-des, who was released after four hours, faces charges of battery on school workers and a sheriff's deputy. The boy appeared in court on Friday, where a judge sentenced him to remain at home until the charges are resolved.