Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Scene from the Collapse of American Society

6 year-old girl throwing a temper tantrum at school? Call the police, have her arrested, take her away in handcuffs. I mean, it's America, what 6 year-old doesn't have an arrest record, right?

No points for guessing the girl's race, by the way.


Chris Honeycutt said...

This is unbearably awful, yes.

Part of the problem that you might not realize is the Kobayashi Maru of dealing with extremely behaviorally disordered kids in the classroom.

The teacher can't touch them, even to restrain them. Because of integration laws regarding the disabled, they cannot isolate them in a special school.

So this... madness - and it really is - is in many ways the byproduct of good intentions.

Roger Owen Green said...


Salecia's mom, Constance, says that "Salecia has been traumatized by this experience. She's afraid to return to school and recently woke up in the middle of the night saying 'they are coming to get me.'" Constance wants to make sure that this incident won't affect Salecia's future, and she wants answers about why police officers were involved in the first place.

So Constance started a petition on demanding that Salecia's arrest be removed from her record and that Creekside Elementary pledge to stop involving police in school discipline.

Constance believes that what happened to Salecia is part of a larger problem. Schools across America are adopting "zero-tolerance" policies that are making police involvement in school disciplinary matters more and more common, according to the Advancement Project, a group working with Constance's family.

Tudor said...

So, let me get this straight: this girl "had what seems to be a torrential tantrum in her elementary school class. She apparently threw books and toys, tore at wall hangings and threw a shelf that hit her principal in the leg..."
WTF were the teachers supposed to do? Wait until she'd worn herself out damaging even more property?
Too right this kid ought to be traumatised by being arrested. Might make her and the rest of the school, and the district, and the whole country think twice before acting like a spoilt little thug and traumatising the teachers.

Chris Honeycutt said...

@ Tudor:

I don't think she's a thug. I think she's a sick little girl.

If there's no discipline, she runs the risk of becoming a deviant, but she's 6. Huge changes are possible when a child is 6.

I don't want corporeal punishment back in schools, but if the teachers aren't even allowed to restrain a child the school needs someone - a district psychologist, for example - who can be called in when things get totally out of control.

I've been around kids who completely "lost it" like that. Somebody needs to be available to remove them from the classroom, physically if necessary.

SamuraiFrog said...

I've been substitute teaching for years now, and most of that subbing involves being an individual assist for exactly these kinds of children. It is beyond frustrating that there's no meaningful disciplining of children anymore; no one gets left behind or meaningfully challenged, much less punished in any realistic way, and it's like walking a tightrope. I've dealt with both parents and teachers who seem to have no idea what to do; it's as if a harsh look at a child falls under the category of child abuse, and no one's sure what the answer is because no one feels able to act.

I do like this idea of a district psychologist or someone who has the freedom to act. I think it's very indicative of the fear to discipline a child that someone felt the appropriate thing to do was to call the police on a first-grader. Describing a 6 year-old as a "spoilt little thug" is ridiculous.

Having experienced it from the inside, there's a lot wrong with the American school system; it's becoming a pointless, ineffectual daily jail cell for kids that barely has anything to teach. This is just another example of how deteriorated it's become.

I sometimes joke that kids in this country started going downhill when we stopped spanking them. Really it's not about hitting kids, but about discipline. Do kids even get grounded anymore? Or is everyone just hoping someone else will deal with them?

Chris Honeycutt said...

Part of it, I think, is the breakdown of the extended family.

I think there were always families with problems and poorly disciplined kids. But grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. who also had exposure to the child and cared about the child could step in.

I know a family with a child like this and it isn't pretty. Despite the fact they can't handle him, they expect the teachers to just put up with it.

But I do see another problem, and this might be a touch controversial: we don't blame the individual, we blame their "ism." "Autism," Asperger's, ADD/ADHD, depression... it goes on.

If the parents decide it's chemical and genetic, then the logic goes the parent can't do anything about it and the rest of the world will have to turn on little Billy's "ism." Rather than needing discipline, it's assumed that the child is born broken and cannot be fixed through behavior modification.

Just imho.

SamuraiFrog said...

Yes, I agree. I see that kind of thing all the time; it becomes that the child has some kind of problem or disability that can't be addressed reasonably and all we can do is try to separate them and keep them occupied until the day is over. I think it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when the kids are then given lowered expectations to meet.

Chris Honeycutt said...

Wish there was a "like" or "acknowledge" button on blogs.

Yeah, I agree. I also get frightened for the next generation because they now get labeled at 3, 4, 5 years old and carry that label for life.