4th grader arrested after disturbance in class

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Family members of a fourth-grade student in the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District are outraged the 10-year-old was arrested and placed in juvenile detention following a classroom incident on Wednesday.

Family members told Local 2 that Darren Banks was arrested and accused of assaulting his teacher at Emmott Elementary School.

"I was really hurt," said Anna Patterson, the boy's great-grandmother and legal guardian.

"You mean to tell me that in 2012 we're now locking away children in elementary school for just disrupting the learning environment?" said community activist Quanell X.

Quanell X and Banks' family stood on the steps of the Harris County Juvenile Justice Center Thursday to complain that the boy was still in detention and would probably not be released until after a hearing on Friday.

Patterson said she was called to the school after learning Banks "threw a plastic container at his teacher but missed." Patterson said she was stunned when her great-grandson was arrested.

"I didn't sleep last night. I was really upset. I am really upset," said Patterson.

"The teacher was not hurt and did not require any medical attention. The container that was thrown missed," said Quanell X.

However, pictures provided by the school district to Local 2 show the classroom where the incident took place show what appears to be more than just a plastic container being thrown. The pictures show numerous chairs turned over and the room in disarray.

Banks' family members said this was not the first time the boy has been in trouble or even suspended from school. However, Patterson and Banks' mother, Deandrea Citizen, said Banks suffers from Attention Deficit and Hyper Activity disorder. Family members said Banks is being treated with medication and was scheduled to meet with a therapist Thursday. Patterson said the school district knew about Banks' struggles and should have taken this into account.

"I'm in shock. I'm in disbelief. I really don't know what to say or do about it because I can't believe they'll put a 10-year-old in jail," said Citizen.

Family members also questioned why Banks was arrested when a high school student in the same district was not arrested after being accused of accidentally shooting a classmate in the head with a pellet gun in the cafeteria.

"Cy Fair's zero-tolerance policy is nothing but a dog and pony show," said Quanell X.

School district officials said they could not comment directly about either case, citing privacy laws. However, CFISD officials said each incident is viewed separately and added a child is arrested after the Harris County District Attorney's Office agrees to accept criminal charges.

"Suspension was necessary -- yes, discipline -- yes, but locking kids up and criminalizing a young future generation of our youth is totally unacceptable," said Quanell X.

A detention hearing for Banks is scheduled for Friday morning.

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