Quickie: More abuse in schools
I can’t help but include this one again. For a bit of sorely-needed cathartic comic relief.
Warning: Abuse of an autistic child in an educational setting
Fuckery of the Day:
In Mercer County, Kentucky, nine year old Chris Baker, an Autistic student, was told by his special education aide to climb inside a gym ball bag for punishment to “control his autistic behavior” in mid-December 2011. He was placed in the bag with the drawstring tightened and left in the hallway in the school. When his mother, Sandra Baker, was called to the school to get her son, she demanded that he be removed from the bag right away. The teacher struggled to undo the drawstring, and Chris emerged sweaty and non-communicative. According to the teacher, this had been done several times over the last year, but Sandra didn’t know until this latest incident. While she met with state officials on Monday 19 December 2011 before a possible meeting with school officials, there is no guarantee that those meetings will prevent this kind of abuse from happening again — either to Chris or to other students.
If you think it’s wrong to tell an Autistic child to climb inside a bag intended for gym balls and tighten it with a drawstring, which could potentially have led to serious injury or death, as punishment, then please sign this petition. This is wrong. This is abuse. It needs to stop.
Yes it is, and yes it does. (And every single fucking day, something like this shows up. And these are only the incidents where someone is able/willing to effectively raise a stink.)
However, I cannot agree with the first demand for action–and wonder about the effectiveness of many of the rest, by extension:
1.) That the teacher(s) responsible for placing Christopher Baker in a gym ball bag be dismissed from position for abusing a vulnerable person (a person with a disability) OR be required to successfully complete extensive continuing education professional training in interacting with and educating Autistic students and students with other disabilities, not to be fewer than at least the equivalent of a semester-long graduate level course developed using existing standards and best practices in model state systems, and which shall specifically include techniques for appropriate de-escalation and crisis intervention;
It does not take specialized training to know that closing a child up in a drawstring bag is WRONG. Any child, under any conceivable educational circumstance. All the training in the world is not going to help the kind of abusive jerk who wants to treat other people this way. The adults involved should not be spending any time around–much less working with–any children, disabled people, elderly people, animals, and no doubt other categories of people they might abuse and unfortunately have a reasonable expectation of getting away with abusing. Period.
ETA: I forgot to mention the strong possibility of at least an attempt at child abuse by proxy here, too, besides the humiliation value. Leave a kid out on display in a school hallway closed up in a sack, and everyone passing by is going to resist putting the boot in? *scratches head* /ETA
Goodness knows that de-escalation* and crisis intervention are useful skills if you plan to deal with other human beings–in a professional capacity or no–but in this context? Christ on toast.
Honestly, I’m not sure that the kinds of training special ed teachers might get is going to help for prevention of this kind of shit. Training in acting like a decent human being who shows respect to those around you? Sure. Not the same thing at all.
4.) That use of any type of restraint or seclusion on any student be explicitly prohibited except in brief, temporary, and emergency interventions when there is imminent and immediate threat of harm to self or others, that are carefully and completely documented and reviewed with a full debriefing including the student and parent(s) or guardian(s) afterward.
Better than what is already happening, to be sure. But, things have still broken down to the FUBAR point if this even becomes relevant at all. (And, no, do not pull out the NLMC shit. “Your” child also deserves respect.)
* I want to get back to that post and its followup, at some point.