A Terrifying Way to Discipline Children

11 Sep

In A Terrifying Way to Discipline Children, seclusion and restraint comes to the Sunday New York Times. The story begins:

IN my public school 40 years ago, teachers didn’t lay their hands on students for bad behavior. They sent them to the principal’s office. But in today’s often overcrowded and underfunded schools, where one in eight students receive help for special learning needs, the use of physical restraints and seclusion rooms has become a common way to maintain order.

Writer Bill Lichtenstein gives a parent’s account of seclusion used on his disabled daughter:

Once in kindergarten, Rose began throwing violent tantrums at home. She repeatedly watched a scene from the film “Finding Nemo” in which a shark batters its way into a tiny room, attempting to eat the main characters. The school provided no explanation or solution. Finally, on Jan. 6, 2006, a school aide called saying that Rose had taken off her clothes. We needed to come get her.

At school, her mother and I found Rose standing alone on the cement floor of a basement mop closet, illuminated by a single light bulb. There was nothing in the closet for a child — no chair, no books, no crayons, nothing but our daughter standing naked in a pool of urine, looking frightened as she tried to cover herself with her hands. On the floor lay her favorite purple-striped Hanna Andersson outfit and panties.

The full story is not long but, as you can imagine from the quote above, is sad and tough to read.

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3 Responses to “A Terrifying Way to Discipline Children”

  1. Saraquill September 13, 2012 at 00:38 #

    My head is full of vengeful thoughts against the school after reading this.

  2. Evi September 15, 2012 at 14:48 #

    Good points made here. But never forget: There are cruel caregivers out there who abuse self abusive or aggressive autistic individuals and then BLAME it on “technique”. Still other “caregivers” are too lazy to implement necessary pro-active interventions or other calming or care needed and use unnecessary restraints or holds or techinques so they don’t have to work with the autistic person. They may be too busy texting or watching a movie. They can’t be bothered with the intensive work it takes to actually help the autistic person. Overmedicating a patient is yet another way to restrain patients to AVOID helping patients in a more humane and dignified way.

  3. Evi September 20, 2012 at 04:13 #

    “Local family catches caretakers’ abuse on camera” seen on channel 8 san diego news Sept 19th 2012. Just horrific! Why is there such a rise in abuse of autistic people? What does this say about the soul beat of our society? http://www.cbs8.com/story/19589835/local-family-catches-caretakers-abuse-on-camera

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