When Handcuffs Aren't Enough
April 26, 2005

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that every social problem begins in the family? Well for all you naysayers out there, I offer you a prime example of parenting gone bad: "Police Handcuff 5-year-old After Tantrum." At this point, I'm sure we've all heard, seen, or read the story about last month's turbulence in a St. Petersburg, FL elementary school classroom. If you haven't, Baldilocks has a good run down. I won't bother regurgitating information. In short, Ja'eisha Scott, a 5-year-old girl with a history of bad behavior was acting out, being violent, and endangering others (and herself) in the classroom. The teacher couldn't control her, so the police department was called. The girl threw a tantrum and couldn't be "tamed" so she was handcuffed. End of story.

Now let me just say this: when we have to use officers of the law to control elementary school children, we are in DEEP DEEP trouble. As of late this has been an all too frequent occurrence.

In Philadelphia, a 10-year-old student was handcuffed and arrested for violating the school weapons policy when she brought scissors to school. In St. Louis, a kindergartener was handcuffed for being unruly and disruptive. Then there's the Texas mom who dialed 9-1-1 because her 9 and 12 year old daughters were fighting uncontrollably. Her reason? They were "bigger than her."

I don't know where you all come from, but my little brother is 6-foot-2 and can bench press my mother one and half times over, but it would be a cold day in a very hot place before my mother would ever be afraid of him. That my friends, is insane.

Do you see what happens when parents do not properly discipline their children? All literal hell breaks loose.

Of all the commentary I've read on the matter, I've yet to read anything with which I fully agree. Most people agree that handcuffing a five-year-old and broadcasting the video on national television is highly suspect. I'll co-sign on that. I hate our media. We sensationalize everything and I'm not particularly fond of seeing the same traumatizing (for the girl) images played over and over again. It's unclear who (if anyone) exactly has her best interest in mind.

Let me just interject a brief caveat on children and police officers. When examining such matters, it's important to remember that there is an all out systemic attempt to weaken parental authority. It's an attack on the family structure. The less power parents have, the more chaos we will see.

Here in Washington state, it is perfectly legal for police officers to march onto school grounds and interrogate your child without parental consent. The only requirement is that they must read the child their rights. Considering investigatie manipulation tactics used and the fact that the average child has no idea what the "right to an attorney" means, I take issue with this type of legislation.

Caveat finished.

In the case of the 5-year-old Florida girl, I believe we're looking at the culmination of three different failures: parental failure, governmental failure, and lastly, educational failure.

Parental Failure: It's politically incorrect to blame parents for their children's behavior, but I'm all for it. After all, this is the land of the free and the home of the blame. Children (not adults, but children) are direct products of their upbringing. They mimic what they see; they test boundaries; they don't always know right from wrong. From what has been reported, this is not the first time the police have been called and this behavior clearly isn't isolated. If kids are allowed to throw temper tantrums at home, they will surely do it in public (and to the nth degree). There may be other household issues to factor into this equation, but simply put this mother is not doing her job.

Incidentally, the mother claimed it was a "set up" and has consulted an attorney and recently announced she will sue. She may very well have a case. I've yet to read anything about her taking any personal responsibility. Typical.

Governmental Failure: Someone else has noted this better than I could. In her post on the matter, La Shawn Barber precisely writes:

We live in a litigious society, and had the teacher done anything physical to restrain her, the parents would have sued the school. That must change. Schools should be allowed to administer a certain level of restraint when children become a physical threat to others without civil liability. I’m old enough to remember when principals paddled students. You had to be really bad to get sent to the principal’s office at the elementary school I attended, but if you were, you got paddled and sent home.
We are reaping what we've sown here.

Educational Failure: Many people are coming down hard on the school administrators for their actions, but I say they should've done more. I think they should also be faulted in laying a foundation for this to take place.

I've observed a number of public school teachers and heard from students themselves that coast to coast, many a classroom are out of control. Teachers and school administrators are afraid of students and employ weak methods of laying down the law. Via a video tape, part of the conversation between Ja'eisha and the teacher, Christina Ottersback, and principal, Nicole Dibenedetto was captured. So it goes (as transcribed by the AP):

"This is your mess to clean up. We need you to stop. You may not do this," Dibenedetto patiently but firmly told the girl, who stubbornly refused.

Eventually, the girl did start cleaning up the mess, but then she refused to leave the room. Only when Dibenedetto and Tsaousis asked her to make a choice before they counted to five did she finally leave with them.

(Emphasis mine) "Make a choice before they counted to five????" Mistake number one in my book. This isn't Supernanny. Enough with 1-2-3 magic. The only choice the 5-year-old should've been given was the choice to obey, and that doesn't take 5 seconds. Many elementary school teachers try to employ these modern techniques that do not work on hard-headed and undisciplined children. I don't care if you have America's Most Wanted in the third row, classroom control is entirely dependent on the teacher. I've seen it done, but it takes hard work.

Ultimately, we all lose in this scenario. The mother loses because she's not properly rearing her child. The child loses because she doesn't get disciplined in love and reaps worldly repercussions. The school loses because they have to spend more time policing students than actually educating them.

And we still want to keep prayer out of schools eh? Foolish we are.

Posted by Ambra at April 26, 2005 6:41 PM in Education
Bookmark and Share

 


 

 

 

Obviously the principal was aware that this event was being recorded, or the child would've been slapped silly.

Atleast, that is what I hope is the case.

Of course it is the parents' fault; we now have 2 generations of parents who are trying to raise their children idealistically rather than realistically (I'm not sure those are words or not)children must be disciplined like puppies as soon as the mistake occurs; this is hard work especially for families with both parents working; unfortunately most public school systems have lost the ability to discipline children; there is obviously a direct correlation in one's ability to learn amidst an undisciplined environment; and unlike LaShawn I believe a little corporal punishment goes a long way toward teaching right from wrong;

You're right Ambra, it starts at home. It would have also been a cold day in a very hot place before my mother was "scared" of my 6-foot, 200 pound brother. It was called respect for your parents, or in my home, "honor thy father and mother."

These kids, and it's not an isolated segment anymore, need to be disciplined HARD and taught how to behave. Kids shouldn't have choices, they should be told what to do and what is right and wrong. Period.

I remember very well a tantrum I threw when I was 16 years old. I thought I would bow up to my dad and he more than politely told me and I quote "I don't how big you are. I don't care how big you think you are. I don't care how big you are going to be. You will never take me." Needless to say I backed down fast.

I feel so sorry for some parents.

You are wrong -- it is NOT the parents fault -- I know this for a FACT -- in my state any time the parents touch (spank) the child the child is ENCOURAGED to report it to the school (mult assemblies and films and vists by the CWFS insures this) and a vist from the CWFS (state) comes to the parents who are threated with jail -- when you disagree with them -- they say you show treathning and violent behavior and threatened with jail

The parents, at least in my state have NO control over their kids..

First off, "None," your comment shouldn't really be dignified with a response since you didn't even have the gall to at least write an ALIAS.

But believe it or not, I think you just reinforced my caveat about the war on parental rights....

I remember a day when the parents and police worked together to brign up the next generation and sometimes the police were asked to come to the houst to show junior what the final destination of his behavioral course would be.

I again point out the Blockbuster fallacy:

You need two pieces of ID to rent a movie at Blockbuster, but they let ANYONE be parents.

Ambra,
I am almost forty years older then you and more then 40 years older then any 16-year old. At 16 I was taller and stronger than my mother. I knew from a child (before kindergarten) who was boss. Is this a special needs child who needs to be in special ed classes? We as a society have reaped the consequences of anti-Christian and anti-authoritarianism. I have a wife who has recently worked in elementary schools. There are no public schools that are not largely "minority" meaning black or hispanic or asian in most cities. The parent(s) are to blame coupled with liberal courts. I was afraid to act out in school because my parents would have handed out far harsher punishment then any school. By thankful you have the parents you have. Does your brother beat up female teachers, I bet not!

Hand cuffs? Of course not. A straight jacket is much better. In junior high, a kid had a tantrum and the cops hauled him off in a straight jacket with chains all around. A learning experience for everyone, but especially for Leo.

I agree that this child probably has some serious issues going on at home, but lets not lose sight of the fact that this is a little girl that was handcuffed like a criminal for throwing a tantrum. I find it unlikely that she has received proper discipline at home. However, that is not a justification to handcuff a 5 year old girl. I have seen the video, and while the child was acting up, I've seen kids do much worse. I didn't see all of this violence and hitting that supposedly occurred and justified the calling of police. No hitting is acceptable, but I have classroom experience, and I've seen much, much worse. The little girl was relatively calm and sitting down when the police arrived and cuffed her. Surely there was something else that could have been done. I mean, this is a 5 year old! I sense, among people I've spoken to about this, a willingness to dismiss the handcuffing of a little girl by focusing on the parents or implying that she deserved it. The fact that she may have lax parents shouldn't lessen our outrage. I for one agree that the teacher s should have some kind of option to restrain the child, and that a rude 5 year old shouldn't should have only one choice, to behave.

Ambra,
I hate to see a little girl learn that the police threaten her. If her mother had her head screwed on straight there would be no need for this. It is also a shame that we have so little faith in schools that they cannot restrain and punish if they judge it to be best. I would rather have my kids learn to deal with over zealous disciplinarians than have no discipline at school. That is the world I faced as a kid in the 1960s, and it was better than this mess by a mile.

You are right. We are in DEEP trouble.

The girl threw a tantrum and couldn't be "tamed" so she was handcuffed. End of story.

Let's clarify one thing. When the police arrived, the girl was sitting calmly in a chair. She started screaming and crying when the police went to her, after talking to her, and started the handcuffing process.

Smack momma. Give her intense parenting classes (geez), and then smack her again.

The police didn't have to 'cuff the kid. She was already calm.

My son started walking when he was 10 1/2 months old. His discipline started then. Guess how many "fits" he's thrown with me? ONE. He is now 14 years old. He's as tall as me, but so what. If he got out of line with me, I'd bust him right now! I love him dearly, but act crazy with me and I'm paying his bills? The devil IS a liar!

My son started walking when he was 10 1/2 months old. His discipline started then. Guess how many "fits" he's thrown with me? ONE. He is now 14 years old. He's as tall as me, but so what. If he got out of line with me, I'd bust him right now! I love him dearly, but act crazy with me and I'm paying his bills? The devil IS a liar!

Mom...is that you?

Ha ha ha! you are too cool Ambra! No, but an additional thought to what I said earlier. I remember one time I smarted off to my mom, and she decked me. After a while, I realized that I was on the living room couch (she had knocked me unconscious). She sent me to school the next day with a black eye, and except for kids playing the dozens on me ("does your mama spar with Muhummad Ali?"), no teachers got involved. They figured I deserved it. But no worries, my mom and I have the most awesome relationship in the world. I just know I appreciate her for "beatin'" my butt when I needed it. Look here, she's in a wheelchair and has only one leg (lost it to diabetes), and she'd kick my tail with the one she does have if need be.(LOL!) I respect her to the highest.

While it was very likely and surely inevitable that the mother of this child would sue, I have argued that the school should sue back, arguing that child committed vandalism and battery. I have a post on my blog about it, check it out because it is way too long to post here.

First of all, I would like to say that the "dialed 9-1-1" link doesn't work. Second, I would like to blame liberalism for this entire mess. Third, I think the school should sue the girl's mother. Thank you.

As a follow up please see -----> http://pcwatch.blogspot.com/
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Tuesday, May 03, 2005

PARENTAL DISCIPLINE INCORRECT "

Also note the following line ==== "Police Capt. Michael Botieri said officers have more leeway about arresting a parent for domestic violence when an open hand is used for spanking."


As I said before parents have no control over their children

I agree that it is in the parenting that will save this society. Children are our future so they have to be raised properly.
Gina's story reminds me of my own experience: When I was a very angry 16 year old, I shoved my mother during an argument, she reacted by instinct and hit me. I didn't go down but I was out on my feet for several seconds.
My mother and I had a good talk after that and she eplained that I had frightened her when I shoved her. I had no idea that she would have been intimidated by me or what she went through as a single mother.
Ever since then we worked on communication and now I am 32 and we are closer than ever.

Aw man, you missed your chance!
{ Comments are now closed for this entry. }




Archives
Columns
Contact
Media

Enter your Email

 

 



Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City