What is going on when a five-year-old girl throwing a tantrum at school has to be handcuffed and led away by no less than three police officers?!
Some people, like my guest on "DaySide" Monday, will say it's excessive behavior by police. But many of you saw something very different in the video of this child. Why weren't the parents on the scene? (Why, when the school called the Mom, did she say she couldn't arrive for an hour? I'd have been there in a nano-second.) Why didn't the teachers do more to subdue the child? Fear of a lawsuit? Here are some of the e-mails you sent in after the show:
"I'm on the side of the police officials. The pendulum has sung so far that school officials have THEIR HANDS TIED. From the aired videotape, the teacher handled herself very appropriately. She has no recourse but to turn the incident over to the police, as she is unable to do anything else. She cannot restrain children, and in some cases even touch children. Society has dictated what her behavior should be. She did as her community voted."
"As a 9-year police officer and current School Resource Officer in the state of Florida, I can tell you that the officers did not appear to do ANYTHING wrong in that video. It is important for the public to understand that it is necessary for the officers to restore order, prevent the child from hurting herself, and prevent her from hurting someone else (including the officers). Handcuffing is a MINIMAL use of physical control that accomplishes these goals. The outcry would be much worse if it were video of the officers in a prolonged "wrestling match" with a squirmy child...the officers were ABSOLUTELY correct to do what they did."
Cape Coral, FL
"Watching the video of that little girl, I feel the handcuffing or even calling the police would have been unnecessary if she had been issued a sound spanking at the beginning of her attack on her teacher. I doubt that she OR her mother has ever had one."
"As a teacher in Virginia I witnessed my kind and loving principal try to subdue a five year old in his office in my presence. The child grabbed his desk stapler and smashed it into his face, resulting in damaged teeth and a major wound on his lips. Anyone out there who does not understand the uncontrollable nature of a troubled child is not living in the real world."
"When I was 5 years old, I was selected to pass out paper to the entire class for the week. The next week, my teacher assigned the task to another student and I went into a rage. I was promptly removed from the class and received three swats from a paddle that hung on the wall just inside the classroom. I never ever had another problem in class again. Each day I walked into that room, I looked to see if the paddle was still up there. Indeed it was. We need to put the paddles back on the walls of schools and give the control back to the teachers. Yes, that was 1964. Today, I have a nephew with similar problems who has been suspended from school over 30 times in nine years. The talking it over/time out theory isn't working for him or many others for that matter."
This is pretty much the theme of all the comments that have come in to "DaySide" since today's show. And I have to say as a parent and stepparent, I too thought, "What the heck is WRONG with this kid? Don't her parents ever discipline her? But — the next e-mail is worth reading for perspective, because we don't know if the girl in the video has a chemical or developmental problem:
"Linda, I have two ADHD boys, married an ADHD man and am ADD myself. To me this is crying out for help and needs to be evaluated. Not to say that all ADHD children are violent. That is not true. But, they react to their intense frustrations before thinking of consequences and this sometimes can lead to them hurting someone or even themselves."
We'll stay on the story, to be continued.
Tuesday on "DaySide," we'll also be talking baseball (search). Cal Ripken will be in the studio, to promote a contest in which you can win tickets to the July 12th all-star game and sit with Cal. Meanwhile, the steroid issue is still on the front burner — as Congress will put their questions to football players tomorrow afternoon. Many of you have criticized lawmakers for spending their work hours on this instead of trivial things like, oh, Social Security and the war on terror. But that said — I'd like to see what your current thinking is about steroids in major league sports. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can direct your comments/questions to Cal if you like.
See you on the air.
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