Jake DiProfio rests his head on a table at the local library during a tutoring session.
Jake DiProfio was handcuffed at school four times this year. He’s 11 years old.
The experience left him with nightmares, scars on his wrists, and a visceral fear of police. Seated at his kitchen table in southeast Denver this month, the fifth-grader excused himself to his room before talking about it. He came back with a painted wooden box that looked like a small treasure chest. Inside was his rock collection, a handful of smooth stones his parents bought for him at the science museum. He fiddled with them as he spoke.
“Usually, I don’t remember it,” he said about being handcuffed. “It comes back over a week.”
Those memories, he said, turn into nightmares that last a lot longer.
“Like two nights ago,” he said, turning a quartz over and over in his hand, “I couldn’t sleep because whenever I shut my eyes, I saw the cuffs — me, in a chair with cuffs on.”
The issue of handcuffing in Denver schools rose to prominence last month when a different family spoke out about it happening to their 7-year-old son. At the time, Denver Public Schools said its campus safety officers had handcuffed students 58 times in the past two years. From May 1 to May 28, seven more students were handcuffed, a district spokesperson said.
Read the full story from our partner at chalkbeat.org. Chalkbeat Colorado is a nonprofit news organization covering education issues. For more, visit chalkbeat.org/co.