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POSTED April 17, 2012 7:31 p.m.

POLICE HANDCUFF GEORGIA KINDERGARTNER: ATLANTA (AP) — A kindergartner who threw a tantrum at her small-town Georgia school was taken away in handcuffs, her arms behind her back, in an episode that is firing up the debate over whether teachers and police around the country are overreacting all too often when dealing with disruptive students.

The family of 6-year-old Salecia Johnson lashed out Tuesday over her treatment and said she was badly shaken, while the school system and the police defended how they handled the episode.

Across the country, civil rights advocates and criminal justice experts say, frustrated teachers and principals are calling in the police to deal with even relatively minor disruptions.

Some juvenile authorities say they believe it is happening more often, driven by zero-tolerance policies and an increased police presence on school grounds over the past two decades because of tragedies like the Columbine High massacre in Colorado. Hard numbers to back up the assertion are difficult to come by.

In Georgia, Salecia was accused of tearing items off the walls and throwing books and toys in an outburst Friday at Creekside Elementary in Milledgeville, a city of about 18,000, some 90 miles from Atlanta, police said. Authorities said she also threw a small shelf that struck the principal in the leg, and jumped on a paper shredder and tried to break a glass frame.

Police refused to say what set off the tantrum. The school called police, and when an officer tried to calm the child in the principal's office, she resisted, authorities said. She then was handcuffed and taken away in a patrol car.

OBAMA WANTS TO TARGET OIL MARKET MANIPULATION: WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama pushed Congress Tuesday to give oil market regulators more muscle to deter price manipulation by speculators, the latest White House response to determined Republican attacks on administration energy policies amid high gas prices at the pump.

Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.

"We can't afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions while millions of American families get the short end of the stick," Obama said at the White House.

The plan is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump.

WHITE HOUSE THREATENS TO VETO GOP BUSINESS TAX CUT : WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House threatened Tuesday to veto an effort by House Republicans to cut taxes for millions of smaller businesses, calling it an unproductive giveaway to many of the country's most profitable companies.

The warning was issued two days before the GOP-run House is expected to approve the legislation, which Republicans say would kindle job creation. Even without President Barack Obama in the way, passage was expected to be little more than an election-year political statement because the measure is all but sure to die in the Democratic-led Senate.

 

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