Florida Prison Employees Fired for Shocking Kids on 'Take Children to Work Day'

Demonstrations at three Florida prisons where more than 40 children were shocked with stun guns have led to the dismissal of three employees and the resignation of two others, the Department of Corrections said Friday.

The incidents took place on April 23, national "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day."

As part of demonstrations at two prisons, children held hands in a circle, and one was shocked with the stun gun, passing the shock around the circle. At another prison, children were shocked individually.

The children, ranged in age from 5 to 17. None was seriously hurt or taken to the hospital, the department said.

A stun gun is an electroshock weapon that temporarily disables a person with an electric shock. It's considered a non-lethal way to subdue violent suspects.

All of the children had parents who work for the department and some parents gave permission for their children to be shocked, but that did not excuse officers for using the stun guns, Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil said Friday.

"We believe this behavior is inexcusable," McNeil said in a phone interview. "I apologize to the children and parents. None of these kids should have been exposed to these devices."

McNeil said he had never been shocked by one of the devices but that the circle demonstration is something commonly done in training classes for correctional officers.

Officials are also investigating a demonstration of tear gas at Lake Correctional Institution in Clermont. Children there were accidentally exposed to the gas when the wind shifted, but none required medical care. That investigation is not yet complete.