Mother Claims N.Y. School Officials Handcuffed Disabled Son

A New York woman says school officials forcefully handcuffed her 12-year-old disabled son after he picked up a rock.

Edgar Leon-Caraballo, who has a rare genetic disease and is learning disabled, was denied his civil rights on May 14 when a police officer or a security guard handcuffed him on the school playground, according to his family's notice of claim against the Huntington School District and Suffolk County.

A notice of claim is the first step required before suing a public agency. Anthony Capetola, the family's attorney, said he plans to file a federal lawsuit seeking at least $10 million.

At a news conference Monday, the attorney and Edgar's mother, Rosa Caraballo, alleged that Edgar was grabbed, shoved to the ground and then handcuffed after an aide — who is with Edgar at all times — told him to drop a small stone he had picked up.

The lawyer said a feeding tube attached to Edgar's stomach was torn during the incident; his mother said Edgar has had nightmares ever since.

After the incident, Huntington Intermediate School principal Mary Stokkers suspended Edgar for a day, the family said. In a May 15 letter to his parents, Stokkers wrote that the reason was "aggressive behavior toward himself and staff members."

The school has declined to comment, saying it does not normally speak publicly about student-related matters.