How did we get here???

I don’t like to be a pessimist. I really do like to think that we are working toward a better future, ensuring that the next generation is well prepared for the challenges that lay ahead when they someday run our country. However, then I see news stories that make me think otherwise.

You might remember awhile back, blogger Kris-Ann on our site wrote about the “scream rooms” in a CT elementary school…rooms where special needs children throwing tantrums were left to scream. As if this weren’t upsetting enough, other students reported to have been distracted and upset by the screaming they heard coming from the scream rooms.

In a similar upsetting vein, comes this story, reported on CNN.com. In a nutshell, a 6 year old girl from Georgia threw a major tantrum at school. Not just a screaming fit, but a full-on, throwing things around the room and destroying property sort of tantrum. The principal said the kindergarten student could not be contained, she was danger to students and staff, and called the police. The police couldn’t calm her down, and she was handcuffed.

I’m not excusing this child’s tantrum as something we should accept. What I’m doing is questioning how we are responding to this kind of behavior in schools and what is contributing to it. If you follow my Wednesday posts, you know how I feel about the ever-growing lack of free play and social time in schools, and the stress on children from increased testing at younger and younger ages. I think we’re starting to see the repercussions of this.

Kids are acting out in frightening ways, and our response is to ignore it and tell them to fall in line. Put yourself in the shoes of that six year old. Obviously, something was deeply upsetting her. It wasn’t a safe scenario, and it certainly wasn’t something that we can tolerate in schools. However, I refuse to believe it was a cause for the police or that this somehow “taught her a lesson” about behavior. Perhaps the school should have called the school psychologist in, as I would see this as a mental health crisis.

The article ends with the following:

“The child appeared to have calmed down by the time police officers arrived, but began screaming as two officers, a man and a woman, stood her up, leaned her toward a table and handcuffed her. She was later turned over to her mother, who came to the school.”

My question is this: Who wouldn’t scream, as a kindergarten student, if uniformed adults came into your school and handcuffed you? And perhaps more importantly, at what point will we start questioning where we are headed?

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