Civil Liberties

Delaware School Resource Officer Interrogated Third Grader, Fifth Grader Over Stolen $1

Parents suing


When the Delaware Supreme Court revived a family's lawsuit late last month over a school resource officer's intense interrogation of their third-grade son, it reignited the debate about having police officers stationed at schools to investigate matters that used to be handled by school administrators.

The incident started when a Delaware State Police trooper, who was on assignment as a school resource officer in the Cape Henlopen School District, questioned the third-grader and a fifth-grader while investigating the theft of $1.

According to court papers, the questioning was so intense, complete with threats of the children being sent to a juvenile facility for lying, that the 8-year-old — who was not a suspect — burst into tears. His parents pulled him out of school because of the January 2008 incident and filed a lawsuit in January 2010 charging the officer violated the child's rights.