Friday, June 06, 2008

And now whose behavior was out of line?

A story today on a morning magazine show brought back such dark, sad memories of my elementary school days. The story talked about a five year old boy who was group castigated by his classmates at the direction of their teacher. Allegedly the teacher required the young student to present himself in front of the class and then requested that his classmates tell him out loud everything they didn't like about him and his behavior. The five year old boy has autistic traits, therefore his behavior was considered unruly. Instead of the teacher creating an environment in which he could integrate his differences with those of his classmates she instead inflicted an unwarranted style of punishment that no child should ever have to endure. Talk about sticks and stones, I have never heard of a more glaring example. In the wisdom of this student he refuses to return to this classroom.

This incident reminded me of when I was in the third grade. Due to my cerebral palsy when sneezed I needed help with wiping my nose, my teacher said in a very loud voice "any child that can't wipe her own nose doesn't belong in the third grade." I still feel the warmth in my face as I blushed with severe embarrassment. Fortunately for me my classmates were more mature and empathetic than the teacher. One little boy who I will never forget got out of his seat and helped me with a tissue. We didn't exchange any words, but the understanding was profound and memorable.

This happened to me in 1958. Wow, is it literally an emotional whip lash that fifty years later this place of shame for being disabled can be revisited by a young child.

Link to news story http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,358956,00.html

8 comments:

EkC said...

I'm still in disbelief that this happened to Alex Barton. It pains me to hear that there are other teachers who treat children like this as well...Something tells me that teaching is not the right profession for these people. Anyways, I just found your blog and I have enjoyed reading it. I look forward to reading future posts!

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