So, this 6 year old that was cuffed, arrested, & charged for her tantrum…I think I might could need to tap out of reality. Because if…
Devil’s Advocate (re: someone who has worked with kids ~ many of them “troubled” for years): What would you have liked for the school staff to have done? She was throwing furniture, hitting ppl & didn’t calm down when police got there. (Have u ever had a child throw a chair @ u? It fucks up ur whole day.) Believe it or not, parents get upset when staff manhandle their children, so yoking her up and putting her in a corner isn’t an option. Also, there is the safety and well-being of the other children at stake. 9 times out of 10, the staff has had issues w this kid and told the parent. Parents aren’t always receptive or helpful…for reasons. If the child can’t self-soothe, then s/he must be removed.
No one said she didn’t need intervention & support. That’s why ambulances, hospitals, & social workers exist after all. But to be arrested & charged? That’s not about helping her on any level.
First off fuck your devil’s advocate, I have zero respect for people who try to disguise their true views by claiming that the devil believes this thing that they believe, and it’s cowardly.
BUT WHAT THE ENTIRE FUCK CAN YOU HEAR YOURSELF? CAN YOU? you’re telling me that a six year old was SO distraught that she was chucking chairs around? No one thought this was maybe a clue that she felt like she needed to protect herself? No one backed every one up, sent the rest of the kids to the library, and then asked that child if she felt safer? No one said, “I’m scared you’re going to hurt yourself. Are you scared someone’s going to hurt you? is that why you need the chair?” Did no one even try to treat this child withh dignity and respect?
“Calm down or you’ll be punished” isn’t creating safety. it isn’t building trust. It’s just exerting more authority and upping the fucking stakes. it isn’t proving yourself to be safe enough to stop feeling the need to defend against you. The fuck is wrong with people? All this child got was the heavy boot of authority and not even a moment’s fleeting compassion. That someone trained to educate children handed this child so abysmally is disgusting and they should answer for this mistreatment.
SHE SIX YEARS OLD. and all she got was injustice after injustice. Why wasn’t there a single adult in that school who liked her enough to try to help her? I fought at doctor’s offices. I refused to take off my clothes. I asked the doctor where he was going to touch me. He should have just told me. maybe he would have been smart enough to realize that my violent resistance *had a cause* instead of just deciding that I was a half feral demon child who could shatter glass with her screams. That doctor could have become my protector and my hero, if he hadn’t tried to crush me under his authority, and instead asked why I wanted to know where he wanted to touch me.
Maybe that teacher could have become that little girl’s hero and protector. instead that teacher is a little girl’s tormentor, who called the police and had her arrested. It’s revolting. It’s criminal.
Why doesn’t anyone feel that there is something valuable being about a person who children *trust?* why isn’t that on the top ten list of reasons why He/She’s The One in all those silly mating magazines kids read these days?
so some anon douche with an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org did an end run around my no anon asks an wrote an anonymous disqus comment, and i’ve turned comments off because i will not ever allow people to come at me without naming themselves.
This is what they wrote:
I would just like to point out that all things aside, when your kid throws a tantrum, do they listen to reason? Does any young child listen to reason? No, because they don’t have the experience to overcome their emotions. while I agree that arresting and charging the girl is crossing a line, having the school call the police when the child’s parents are not available or willing to help is the right thing to do. School teachers and staff are not allowed to attempt to physically restrain the child, and she was throwing objects, putting them in danger. They can’t do anything to her to stop her from hurting herself or other children other than attempting to remove the other kids from harms way until help arrives, in this case the police. Again, I would point out the fact that the parents did not arrive to stop the situation, and that leaves one to wonder what her home situation is like, and that maybe it needs some police involvement as well. I know of extremely few cases where a child will react so violently to any situation, unless there are problems at home. Whether there is abuse or neglect, I don’t know, but I would be suspicious. My mother works in an elementary school that has frequent issues. One young boy threatened to blow up a teachers car, another girl was taken from the building in a straight jacket after she attacked one of the teachers because she wouldn’t pay attention and was sent to the vice-principal’s office. Again I would also like to reiterate the fact that teachers cannot lay their hands on a student, so what other safe alternative would you have suggested the school take? Leave her there and hope her parents eventually showed up before she hurt herself or someone else, or call the police, and then maybe look into what is going on at home to cause outbursts like this?
And this is my answer: you’re not all that good with kids if you think this is a reasonable justification for criminalizing children. why are you trying to reason with anyone who is exhibiting extreme emotional disturbance regardless of their age? you can’t talk to a distraught child while they’re distraught enough to throw chairs at people, but why isn’t it obvious that what to do first is
1. get the other kids out of the class and to the library or the gym or wherever they can go and be supervised. it could be that one of those kids is the reason for the disturbance, whatever. doesn’t matter. they can potentially interfere and escalate the situation and get hurt themselves.
2. get back. far enough that you’re not at a threatening distance, and then get unthreatening. be seated, for example. maybe on the floor. watch. wait. as long as the kid is just screaming and crying and not hurting herself or damaging anything that could hurt her, like breaking glass, there is no actual harm being done, so let the kid yell.
3. if you feel like saying anything, don’t tell her to calm down or threaten her, because that’s an idiotic thing to do. stick with “You’re safe, (name) it’s only us here, there’s no one to hurt you. I’m worried about you. Can you answer me yes or no? are you scared?” Personalize, empathize, humanize, engage. Establish safety and concern in an isolated environment. keep the questions to yes/no, nod, shake head, and keep calm while you work on getting their attention. And if they’re not using their words, you can stick to yes or no, nod or shake head, and add a hand signal, so if you say anything that’s scary or bad, they can put their hand up to signal that you should stop talking about that. That makes the child in charge, okay?
if you can get a kid to respond to you, you can engage the kid, build a rapport, establish trust, show them respect. it’s amazing what you can do if you actually give enough of a shit to *try.* why the fuck is this hard? how is it that I know what to do and so called educated people don’t?
Notice that there is nothing in there that requires a teacher to lay hands on a student to accomplish. peddle your “we’re helpless to actually do anything because teachers can’t touch students” sob story elsewhere.
4. The fuck planet is this? putting a kid in a straitjacket because she wasn’t paying attention? how does anyone dare let their kids go to school if they’re going to be put in inhumane restraints because they’re not paying attention? who thinks this is right? they’re children. CHILDREN. there’s a thousand reasons why a child might not be paying attention, from bored supergenius to add to trauma triggers to self soothing motions to cope with overwhelming sensory input to the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome, and some of these are potentially serious and potentially dangerous, but a story that’s about the child being bad is not a story where the child’s difficulty is discovered. There’s no room for it in a bad excuse to justify brutality, and if it was actually discovered, the story would have been told differently, because no shitty excuse would have been needed.
So yeah, go tell it to someone else. I’m not buying it.
Whoever the fuck you are.
Reinforces something I’ve been stewing over for the past few weeks. When you’re a kid (which is to say, when I was a kid), the fucked-up reality is that the one who targeted you to needle, harass, provoke, tease, bully, assault, and harangue until you’re so desperate to make it stop that you’ll turn violent or otherwise act out is probably never going to have people in positions of authority within the schooling system say, “There’s something wrong with you, we need to figure out what’s going on and how to correct this because it’s unhealthy for everyone”. They don’t separate THAT kid for their constant naggling aggressions perpetrated behind Teacher’s back. They don’t call Child Services to find out if there’s abuse at home. They don’t recommend medication to “get him/her under control”. The schooling system is largely blind to these larval sociopaths.
Instead they turn all their scrutiny to the kid whose back is against the wall, the one who’s lashing out because they’ve been cornered and can’t escape, the one who’s screaming because the adults won’t listen. That’s the “problem child”. That’s the “bad seed”. That’s the one who needs counselling and medication and punishment. That’s the one who needs to straighten up. That’s the one who’s expected to suck it up and take what others dish out and keep his/her head down and “be good” while the aggressors do whatever the fuck they please, because APPARENTLY unceasing assault on another child magically fucking evaporates into innocence the second the victim tries to do something about it.
And this is a large part of why I became bitter, cynical, misanthropic, and old when I was very young.
First, to an earlier comment: how do you know the parents weren’t desperately trying to get there, but couldn’t get the time off work without threat of being fired? Having their pay lowered? What if mom was at home with a sick younger sibling and was trying her best? What if she missed the call and had no idea. Sometimes it isn’t as easy as, “those parents are bad because they didn’t get there fast enough”.
Second: I did this once. When I was a teenager, in a mental institution. I destroyed a room that I was left alone in after a meeting took place where I was led to believe I’d be released… and instead was told I’d have to stay. I only learned in adulthood that they’d lied to me and my mom and dad had not consented or known about what happened.
I can only speak for myself, but when everyone walked out of that room after I started screaming and throwing chairs, I was desperate. I was terrified, desperate, and alone. I was trapped and had no way out. I had no words to express what was going on for me… even as a teenager. I was scared that this was the end of my life, and this was all I would know. I was powerless and under the control of people I did not trust. And most importantly, people who had hurt me in the last few weeks. And now I was forced to stay. So I destroyed everything I could see. I threw things, I broke things, I tore things off the wall. I even cracked apart little pieces of chalk because there was nothing left I could destroy.
I can’t pretend to know why this little girl had her tantrum the way she did, but I do know why I had mine and I know that it takes a lot to push a kid that far. What she needed was understanding and care… not being fucking arrested and handcuffed. Because I know if I had been handcuffed and thrown in a squad car after my breakdown, I wouldn’t be here right now because I’d have felt I had no hope left. That is not the way to treat a child in distress.