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Kids in Cuffs: Why handcuff an 8-year-old student with a disability?

An NBC News analysis found that nationally, black students and students with disabilities are suspended, expelled, arrested and referred to police at rates disproportionately higher than their white and non-disabled peers.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (NBC News) - School isn't usually tough for Kalyb Wiley-Primm, a smart, soft-spoken kid who likes science and robotics.

But one day in second grade, Kalyb said, some bullies made it a nightmare. Upset by the bullies' taunts, he began to cry and yell. "I was like, 'I didn't do anything to you!'" he recalled.

When a school security officer at George Melcher Elementary found Kalyb crying and screaming in the classroom, he asked Kalyb to come with him. Out in the hallway, Kalyb, still crying, refused to follow the officer.

According to the incident report, the officer told Kalyb to "calm down" and tried to assure him "he wasn't in trouble," but for Kalyb, it didn't feel that way.

"It was not okay," Kalyb, now 10 years old, said. "I was very mad."

Kalyb kept trying to walk away from the officer, and got more upset the farther they walked. The officer then handcuffed the 50-pound, four-foot boy and marched him to the principal's office. According to the incident report, the officer said he cuffed the boy, who "appeared to be out of control," to keep him from hurting himself.

Due in part to tragic school shootings like the Columbine massacre, police and security officers are now a regular presence at schools. But the handcuffing of Kalyb Wiley-Primm is one of many incidents across the country that have led to calls to examine the role that police play in schools, and change how discipline is meted out — particularly to minority students and students with disabilities.

The NBC News Investigative Unit and the NBC-owned stations analyzed data collected from all public schools in the nation by the U.S. Department of Education. Called the Civil Rights Data Collection, every two years all public school districts are required to report to the Education Department on wide-ranging topics from suspensions and expulsions to arrests and referrals of students to law enforcement. Districts are also required to break down data by race and disability.

NBC News crunched the numbers from the 2013-2014 school year, the most recent data available. The analysis found that nationally, black students, like Kalyb, and students with disabilities are suspended, expelled, arrested and referred to police at rates disproportionately higher than their white and non-disabled peers.

Examinations of police and court records also found that law enforcement became involved with students for minor discipline issues.

Click here to read NBC News' entire report.

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