Bill filed in Florida prohibits the arrest of children who are 11-years-old or younger

Just over a month after two six-year-olds were handcuffed and hauled out of Lucious and Emma Nixon School and arrested by police, a Florida lawmaker is taking action.

Florida Senator Randolph Bracey is introducing Senate Bill 578.

“My bill, senate bill 578 prohibits the arrest of children 11 and younger and prevents them from being charged with a crime or adjudicated delinquent,” Sentator Bracey said. His proposed bill is also providing alternatives to arresting children ages 12-14.

“Directing law enforcement to obtain a summons for the child to appear in court when appropriate and allowing for arrest only in extreme circumstances,” Senator Bracey explained. Extreme circumstances causing serious bodily harm or injury, he explained.  His proposed bill would also stop police from arresting children on campus at elementary and middle schools.


Six-year-old Kaia’s grandmother stood next to the state senator showing her support.

 “When the incident first happened, I was upset and angry. Then I was outraged that this couldn’t just happen to my six-year-old granddaughter but any six-year-old child,” said Meralyn Kirkland.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala provided guidance to Senator Bracey in scripting his bill. Ayala is making it clear this is not giving children a hall pass to behave badly.

“This does not mean that they just run free oh slap on the wrist, this means we’ve identified the problem and the resolution to the problem is not arrest and criminal justice the resolution is the humane response of getting them help and keeping them out of the criminal justice system,” Ayala said.


Florida Senator Bracey told reporters he filed this bill a week ago. He has already spoken to the chairman of the criminal justice committee, who he says supports the idea. Bracey said he anticipates the chairman to move it to committee soon.