Dozens of incidents in which police officers have used electric stun guns to subdue unruly students have led school officials around the USA to restrict the use of the devices on campus, reports USA Today. In Miami-Dade County, Fla., schools Superintendent Rudy Crew was inundated with complaints from parents in October after a police officer used a stun gun on a 6-year-old student. Crew asked Miami-Dade police to ban the use of stun guns by officers in elementary schools, and to use Tasers only as a last resort in middle and high schools.
The episode reflected rising concern about the safety of stun guns. Investigations by Amnesty International and The Arizona Republic have linked more than 100 deaths to the devices. Taser International, the nation’s largest maker of stun guns, estimates that 1,700 cops assigned to U.S. schools carried the devices at the start of this school year. It’s unclear whether any kids have died from stun-gun shocks. But reports of youths being zapped have increased as the guns – now used by 7,000 of the USA’s 16,000 police agencies – have become more common in schools. In the central Florida counties of Orange, Seminole, Brevard and Polk, at least 24 students have been shocked with stun guns during the past 19 months, the Orlando Sentinel reported in April.