Officer Shows Up To School Because Of 8-Year-Old's Overdue Books
KLTV | October 10, 2006
An eight-year-old East Texas boy got a visit from a Mt. Vernon police officer during school hours. The reason: five overdue library books from the Franklin County Library. The boy's father is furious that the school would allow something like this to happen. But the officer who went to the school says he was just doing his job. The boy's father told KLTV 7 News today, the incident has upset his son so much, the child missed school for the fist time since kindergarten.
"I was just silent the whole way," said third-grader Will Patterson. He says he had no clue why he got called up to the principal's office in Mt. Vernon. Once inside, he saw Mt. Vernon Sgt. Blake Gurley. "He had a gun on him. He had his pepper spray. He had his handcuffs. He had everything a policeman would have," said Will.
Sergeant Gurley says every month, the library gives him a list of people who have not returned their books and he tries to contact them. He said the library sent out a notice regarding the overdue books to Will's parents. "The mail was returned back to the library so they were not able to get a hold of the parent so I made a few phone calls and determined the child was the school," said Sgt. Gurley.
Will got the books, Peter's Trucks, Octopuses, S ea Anenomes, Jellyfish and another book, during a school field trip. Will says Sgt. Gurley gave him a list of the books, which were due the first week of July. "He said it's gonna cost me $50," said Will.
"It was just shortly after he told me this story that he started breaking out," said Harold Patterson, Will's father. Will had a rash from head to toe and his neck was so swollen, he had trouble breathing. Harold rushed Will to the hospital, after over-the-counter medication failed to help. According to hospital records, Will suffered this because of "anxiety and emotional distress."
Patterson says the pictures do not show the worst of the condition. "I really feel that Will will carry this the rest of his life," said Harold.
Harold took his son out of the school he'd been attending all his life and placed him in a private school. He said he will use every means possible to make sure this never happens to another child.
KLTV 7 News contacted Mt. Vernon I.S.D. superintendent Rick Flanagan about the incident. He said he's determining whether the school handled the situation according to procedure.
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