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Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
Reports of a 5-by-5-foot padded enclosure where misbehaving kids are sent as punishment has many parents in Arizona upset and disappointed. The state does not have any laws prohibiting seclusion and even restraint for students–some with special needs–who are majorly disruptive and need to calm down, according to local news station CBS 5. From CBS5.com’s report on the “scream rooms:”
Leslie and Eric Noyes are the proud parents of a 7-year-old boy.
“He’s just a great kid, you know?” Eric Noyes said.
The second-grader has some special needs, so he was placed in the special education class at Desert Sage Elementary School in the Deer Valley Unified School District.
One day he came home with a disturbing story.
“He has been complaining about being restrained – he uses that word, restrained. And being put into cool down,” Leslie Noyes said.
“I was thinking there’s probably some bean bag chairs, maybe some books and just a room to get away from his general class. I had no idea it was literally almost a padded cell,” Eric Noyes said.
Leslie went to school armed with a camera and took pictures as proof.
They show a 5-foot by 5-foot padded box placed inside an empty classroom.
“My son has said he’s been there anywhere from a few minutes to almost all day,” Leslie Noyes said.
CBS 5 News went to Deer Valley with the accusations that a young boy saying he wasn’t even let out to use the bathroom, and that he had to eat lunch in there.
They refused to speak with us on camera, but released a statement that reads in part, “If a child requires the use of seclusion/physical intervention, parents are notified as soon as possible within the same school day. Two adults always accompany the child when secluded. This is the last method of behavior management schools use with a student.”
Deer Valley’s spokesperson also said Eric and Leslie’s son has been in the room 17 times since October, but they deny he was left there any longer than 15 minutes at a time.
Image: Phoenix area “scream room” chamber, via KPHO.com.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Chances are you’ve seen the YouTube video of Tommy Jordan, the North Carolina dad who shot his teenage daughter’s laptop. Viewed more than 22 million times in one week, the video has sparked passionate debate across the Internet.
Jordan’s 15-year-old daughter posted an angry, hurtful rant on Facebook about having too many chores, and Jordan—who’d spent hours the previous day updating her laptop—was furious that this was how she was using it. “Today was probably the most disappointing day of my life as a father,” he says at the start of the video. He reads his daughter’s post to the camera and then shoots her laptop eight times.
Comments on YouTube are split: Many say Jordan’s reaction is too extreme or criticize his use of a gun. But many others praise his tough-love approach with comments like “Give this man a medal” and “Tommy Jordan for President.” On Time.com, columnist Susanna Schrobsdorff notes that many parents of teenagers dream of doing what Jordan did:
It is both disturbing and so deeply satisfying that you can’t watch it without reliving every fantasy you’ve ever had about hurling one of your teen’s gadgets out a window or under a car after they’ve used it to ignore you or deceive you, or distract themselves from something they’re supposed to do.
KJ Dell’Antonia of the New York Times Motherlode blog writes that “Mr. Jordan acted childishly,” but she says she’s felt his anger: [I]f you’ve grounded a kid in anger, or yanked an arm or felt an ugly expression on your face and heard a tone in your voice that you’ve never used with anyone other than your beloved child, you know what I mean. Our children infuriate us like no one else.”
Jordan hasn’t spoken to reporters, but he has posted comments on his Facebook page. (He says child protective services did pay him a visit, and found his guns stored securely.) He also mentioned lessons he and his daughter have drawn from the experience. From the Los Angeles Times:
“We’ve always told her that what you put online can effect you forever,” [Jordan] said. “She’s seen first-hand through this video the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her Dad, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back, so think carefully before you use the Internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings.”
Readers, what’s your take on the laptop-shooting dad?
Image: Tommy Jordan screenshot via the Los Angeles Times.
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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Mounting evidence suggests that spanking kids sets them up for long-term negative consequences, according to a research review published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The review found that children disciplined with spanking or slapping are more likely to be aggressive as children and delinquent as they get older. Research also shows that physical punishment may slow cognitive development.
Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and her coauthor reviewed studies on physical punishment conducted in the last two decades and say none of the studies showed benefits to spanking.
MSNBC offers more details:
In one U.S. study, researchers looked at 2,400 mothers who spanked their 3-year-olds twice the previous month, and found that children had an increased risk for higher levels of aggression when they were 5 years old.
“In the U.S., physical punishment is such an entrenched part of the culture that virtually no one has experienced growing up without it,” Durrant said. ”This situation makes it difficult for parents to visualize raising a child without it.”
This raises an obvious question: Is it possible that children who are spanked are naturally more difficult or aggressive? The researchers report that some studies controlled for those factors but still found that spanking was linked to later behavior problems.
Another study found that parents who were taught no-spank techniques for dealing with misbehavior reported a drop in their child’s difficult behaviors as the parents adopted the new techniques. The researchers encourage parents to learn such techniques.
Parents, what’s your take on this research?
Image: Spanking via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, November 10th, 2011
In the wake of a 2004 video of a Texas judge beating his teenage daughter with a belt, which received huge YouTube circulation last week, the national conversation about parents using physical means of discipline on their children has risen to fever pitch.
Hillary Adams, now 23, learned last week that the statute of limitations had expired on charges of abuse or judicial misconduct against her father. She had uploaded the video in hopes that her father would be remorseful for her behavior and reconcile their relationship.
CNN.com published a report today about Sweden, which in 1979 became the first country to outlaw corporal punishment by parents. Today, 30 countries have similar laws. From the article:
No countries in North America ban physical punishment by parents, but there’s a perennial debate about the line between discipline and abuse, and who’s allowed to administer it. It flared again last week after millions watched a seven-minute YouTube video from 2004 that showed a Texas judge cursing at his teen daughter and beating her with a belt.
While there are laws against child abuse, it’s legal in all 50 states for parents to hit their children, and for schools in 19 states to physically punish kids. About 80% of American parents said they’ve hit their young children, and about 100,000 kids are paddled in U.S. schools every year, researchers said.
Kids are still hit with hands, belts, switches and paddles, said Elizabeth Gershoff , an associate professor of human development and family sciences at University of Texas, despite research that shows it doesn’t model or teach behavior parents are looking for, that it damages trust between parent and children and that it can lead to increased aggression.
Although more parents are trying a variety of disciplinary measures, corporal punishment isn’t going away, and some researchers argue that it shouldn’t. It’s effective for gaining immediate compliance from young children, and is unlikely to have long-term negative effects, they said. More powerfully, it’s hard to stop a discipline technique that’s been passed down through generations.
(image via: http://www.principalspage.com/)
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Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Michael Pearl, a Tennessee pastor whose book To Train Up a Child advocates the use of “the rod” in child discipline, is at the center of a growing debate that now includes the deaths of three children whose parents had copies of the book in their homes. The New York Times reports:
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Debate over the Pearls’ teachings, first seen on Christian Web sites, gained new intensity after the death of a third child, all allegedly at the hands of parents who kept the Pearls’ book, “To Train Up a Child,” in their homes. On Sept. 29, the parents were charged with homicide by abuse.
More than 670,000 copies of the Pearls’ self-published book are in circulation, and it is especially popular among Christian home-schoolers, who praise it in their magazines and on their Web sites. The Pearls provide instructions on using a switch from as early as six months to discourage misbehavior and describe how to make use of implements for hitting on the arms, legs or back, including a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line that, Mr. Pearl notes, “can be rolled up and carried in your pocket.”
The furor in part reflects societal disagreements over corporal punishment, which conservative Christians say is called for in the Bible and which many Americans consider reasonable up to a point, even as many parents and pediatricians reject it. The issue flared recently when a video was posted online of a Texas judge whipping his daughter.
Mr. Pearl, 66, and Mrs. Pearl, 60, say that blaming their book for extreme abuse by a few unstable parents is preposterous and that they explicitly counsel against acting in anger or causing a bruise. They say that their methods, properly used, yield peace and happy teenagers.