Page last updated at 01:36 GMT, Saturday, 16 May 2009 02:36 UK

Officials sacked after stun stunt

UK police officer demonstrates stun gun
Some children were stunned with their parents' consent

Three US prison officers have been dismissed and two others have resigned after 40 children in Florida were deliberately shocked with stun guns.

The incidents at two prisons occurred last month during a national day when people take their children to work.

In one case, a group of children were told to hold hands in a circle before one of them was shocked with a stun gun and the shock ran round the group.

No one was seriously hurt, but an official said it was "inexcusable".

In the other case in a second prison, children were given individual shocks.

The children, aged from five to 17, were all sons and daughters of employees of the Florida Department of Corrections.

Some parents had given permission for their children to receive the shocks, but this did not justify the actions of officials, said the department's secretary, Walter McNeil.

"We believe this behaviour is inexcusable," he said.

"I apologise to the children and parents. None of these kids should have been exposed to these devices."

He said that the circle shock demonstration was common practice during training classes for prison officers.

A stun gun delivers an electric shock intended to disable someone temporarily, without resorting to firearms.

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