August 05, 2015

The handcuffing of elementary school students a sign of the tragic state of schools

Thomas PrattRebel Blogger

A disturbing piece of news was announced recently on CNN News when it was reported that and elementary school aged child was handcuffed by a “police officer hired to work full time at the school.” The video recording of the incident was disturbing to say the least.

This is a very sad comment on what the educational system is becoming. Children are being treated as criminals. If the best the educational system can do is hire police officers to maintain discipline within the schools, then we are in serious trouble.

Instead of wasting tax payer’s money on hiring police for this problem, why not spend the money on smaller class rooms with a smaller student teacher ratio? Why not implement structure and provide bi-weekly testing so the children are forced to spend more time studying in a structured environment? Why not create ways for slower learning students to achieve greater and more immediate success?

If there are dollars to hire police, then why are there not dollars for smaller classrooms and better trained teachers?

This begs the question:  What on earth is our educational system becoming in our free world?

It is very clear this so-called teacher has not received any training on how to deal with children that are displaying aggressive behaviour. It seems to me that if the school adopted this suggested policy they may have better success in dealing with physically aggressive children:

1. Take charge and remain calm.

Students take their cues from the teacher’s demeanor. Quietly ask the students to stand up and remove all contents from their desks. This process helps eliminate the ability for the aggressive child to throw anything. It also removes the classmates from a potentially dangerous environment.  Have one of the students notify the principal for assistance.

2. Ask the children to exit the room and stand quietly in the hallway until they are called back in.

3. The teacher and or assistant, if the teacher is fortunate enough to have one, should start taking all chairs out of the room or shoving them out the door into the hall and then move all desks to the side of the room.

4. Let the child exhaust him or her-self without physical interference.

5. When the child is tired or starting to slow down acknowledge their frustration. Say something like, “You must be really feeling frustrated.” This must be said in an empathetic tone of voice.

6. Lets both take a really big breath. Maybe you can help me here and we can solve this problem together? Acknowledge that you are there to help them. Sometimes things in life are not fair. Talk about it, but first inhale and have a nice long exhale. Repeat the process with the child a couple times.

7. Once the child is calm, make the suggestion that we both go to a quiet area where the child can either talk it over with the school psychologist or with the teacher or both. Whomever the child feels more comfortable speaking with.

8. Once the child is in a quiet area and meeting with someone to talk over the problem invite the children back into the class room.

9. Have a bit of a debriefing with the classmates. Ask the children how they are feeling and some suggestions on how we can help the child deal with some of his frustration. How can we as a team be supportive of this child? By so doing you as the teacher are acknowledging the classmates ability to help problem solve and provide creative input. 

You are also teaching the other children not to be afraid of the fellow student and to be supportive of him or her. Self-esteem is important in order for children to learn and grow.

Ask the children if they have ever been bullied. How did it make them feel? Create an environment where the children are supportive of their classmate. Create empathy and respect.


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commented 2015-08-09 21:25:47 -0400
Could it be that the kid was a graduate of some government run day care center? If I behaved like the kid must have, my parents would have tanned my ass.
commented 2015-08-09 13:46:46 -0400
Hey Dan, my last post was meant as sarcasm. I thought it would have been noticeable based upon my previous comments. My bad.

School is a privilege not a right as far as I am concerned. If a child is disrupting the other students from being able to learn then they should be removed from the class and/or school. Phone the parents, arrange for the child to continue the work in an isolated environment until the lesson is complete, they will be restricted from attending normal classes until the work is complete, then help the janitor for the rest of the day clean the washrooms or paint a fence etc. My parents found that hard work was a great motivator for behaving.

commented 2015-08-07 15:37:14 -0400
Dear Reader:

Once again my article is not blaming parents or even necessarily the teachers. If there is a blame then it is a fault of our overly politically correct system which says you are not allowed to spank your children and the schools have to remove the strap, but it is okay to put handcuffs on a child.

Once again I must reiterate this article is not about bad parenting it is about an educational system which allows the handcuffing of a 70r 8 year old child, because he was disruptive.
I am in complete sympathy with the parent or educator that has the hardship of dealing with children of special needs. Likewise I am in sympathy with the special needs child that needs the extra help and cannot receive it.
The point is Handcuffing a child is abusive. The irony is that while the schools have a no touch no strap policy of discipline because it is abusive than why is hand cuffing a child not considered abuse. It seems to me that handcuffing a child is physically and mentally abusive and just encourages other children to pick on that special needs child.
commented 2015-08-07 14:07:27 -0400
The majority of posters here are pretty damn ignorant. Everyone who sees a kid act up instantly assumes the parents are at fault. It just shows how uneducated and overly opinionated people are on facts they know nothing about.

I have three kids. My oldest, who is 5, has ADHD from what I’ve been told. I’m not one to argue with a doctor because they are generally much smarter than me but I’m not 100% sold on ADHD anyway.

He has trouble focusing on school work. He fidgets a lot and has bursts of energy. Very rarely he will become overstimulated and he will panic as a result. Sometimes he becomes aggressive. When he does act out at school he does lose virtually every single privilege he has. He will spend some time in his room, eat, then go to bed for the night. As a result, the freak outs are becoming less frequent because the punishment is starting to sink in. Still, there’s only so much a parent can do with all the PC teachers and parents out there. If you smack your kid in public you may get the cops called on you or you’ll get PC thug parents coming to your kid’s rescue.

Kids really do need a good spanking now and then. I was spanked, or I should say I was hit with a tree branch right on the arse for doing something bad. I’d have to go pick one out myself. I sure as hell don’t do that but good, firm discipline is needed. Some parents won’t agree but generally kids who aren’t spanked are little shitheads. Some kids do have genuine issues that aren’t caused by bad parenting. I control my kids very well but the truth is there’s little I can do when he’s off at school being babied by teachers in an environment where he can get away with almost anything.
commented 2015-08-07 11:03:41 -0400
Dear Reader:
A thought had just occurred to me that you may have thought my 9 step method was punishment. Just to clarify further. This 9 step method is not about punishment. Punishment for the child is a separate issue altogether. This takes place after it the situation has been resolved and the tantrum has run it’s course.
In addition you need to teach the child how to deal with the frustration in a less violent way. The tantrum should be a wake up call.

This 9 step method is about de-escalation of a potentially dangerous situation. Once the de-escalation takes place than one can investigate what punishment would be appropriate.

Handcuffing a child should never be used of de-escalation or containment purposes and even less so as punishment. To do so only aggravates the problem and solves nothing. In addition injury to that child is very great.
Think about this. If your child had a learning problem and was being bullied and this lead to a tantrum of dangerous proportion, would you be happy to have your child handcuffed?
We are not talking about the strap or spanking, we are talking about a child being traumatized by being treated as a criminal.

If a puppy poops in your house, you do not kick it or the puppy will eventually have to be destroyed because he cannot function in society. If a puppy poops in your house you train him to go outside and use positive re-enforcement & praise and a dog cookie.

If you kick a child because they are slow learners & frustrated & or bullied they will probably grow up to hate authority and society as a whole. They may end up shooting people in a mall.
commented 2015-08-07 09:55:04 -0400
Dear Reader:

It is becoming very clear to me that some of you have difficulty understanding what I am saying.
First of all, I agree with most of you. I believe and support corporal punishment, when & if it is warranted. However, it should be used very sparingly and not out of frustration or anger and only under certain circumstances. If there is a better & more effective method of discipline than it should be the first choice. In addition, at the very beginning of my article I strongly recommended that if you support integration, you need a smaller teacher student ratio otherwise the experiment is doomed to fail. Learning disabled children learn best in a small structured classroom environment. What may work well for the student that is a fast learner, does not work well for a slower learning student.
Large classrooms only mean the child with special needs ends up being ignored and become very frustrated.
Secondly, I find it difficult to understand how anyone can support the use of handcuffs on an 8 year old child that has learning problems. It is strange that our society is against the use of corporal punishment and calls it abuse and yet has no difficulty handcuffing an eight year old. If handcuffing and treating a child in this manner is not abusive, than I do not know or understand what is.
Thirdly, handcuffing a child when they are having a tantrum does not solve anything. In fact, I would submit to you the idea that the probability of injuring that child in the process is great and therefore inappropriate.
Fourthly, if the child is having a tantrum due to excessive frustration in learning or due to bullying, which I strong suspect is the case, than handcuffing will only send the wrong message to other children and further victimizes the special needs child.
As for my 9 step method, I what I think most of you fail to realize is that in a situation when a teacher is dealing with a violent tantrum, the first order of business is the safety of the other classmates as well as the safety of the child who is having the tantrum. This process addresses it. It has nothing to do with catering to the child. It has everything to do with safety and de-escalation of the behaviour of the child. Once the child is calm than the appropriate action can be taken in terms of punishment if it is deemed necessary.
I am enjoying this debate and I do think it is creating thought.
commented 2015-08-07 08:36:02 -0400
Oh, and if a kid has to be tazered to control them, I’d say zap the parents every time the kid acts up instead.
commented 2015-08-07 08:32:51 -0400
IF, I understand correctly…
Teachers at RISK in an elementary school?
And needing more money to compensate?
In Grade 6, a kid is 11!
That’s a liberal solution if I ever heard one.
Even the worst punk, brat, delinquent in my class never dared throw a tantrum with a teacher because we KNEW we’d get the strap, for far less actually.
Plus we’d get it at home again from Dad.
Plus, before we’d even gotten to school our parents had taught us to respect adults, which meant teachers.
There were some teachers I didn’t like but I still obeyed them because my parents, and all parents, unless the community as a whole felt the teacher was an idiot, would still back the teacher.
This grand liberal experiment of “Talking to kids” for everything little thing is a failure, as any conservative could have told you.
I’ve got a nephew becoming a teacher, and I asked what they are now teaching to deal with tantrum brats.
He told me they now have to put the kid in a padded room and watch him scream and yell and cuss and whatever until he settles down enough to be reasoned with!
So what happens when more that one kid has a meltdown?
You going to need an awful lot of padded rooms and observers.
How about this for a solution?
How you vote decides which school your kids must attend, and education tax dollars are divided the same way.
Vote liberal, and your kids go to a school that practices “Talking about your feelings and encouraging positive behavior in group hugs.”
Vote conservative, and your kids go to a school practicing "Gunboat diplomacy.
commented 2015-08-06 23:36:04 -0400
Hey Dan,
In reference too “Or to show us what ridiculous policy teachers have to go through when dealing with a brat.” Does this statement possibility raise teacher wages to compensate with the continued risk of workplace environment? Cheers =D
commented 2015-08-06 20:57:06 -0400
Mr. Pratt,

Your entire 9 point plan caudles the kid.
Sure teachers and parents should talk to the kid first, and only worlds they should say are, in this order.
1. “Cut that out.”
2. “Do that once and you’re going to be punished” and state intended punishment.
3. Punish. (This part is voiceless in case you hadn’t figured it out.)
The one in a million kids who ends up gunning somebody down twenty years from now, in all likely hood it had NOTHING to do with getting the strap in school.
And what you don’t seem to understand is that the time it takes to “pacify” the kid takes that learning time from ALL the students.
The handcuffs most likely wouldn’t be necessary if most kids got a hand cuff.
Our principal had a POOL CUE and he USED IT!
Guess what our Grade 7 class gave him for Christmas. A new pool cue! And we thought it was funnier than H.
Thing is, he carried that thing everywhere, and I only saw him use it once.
And the kid deserved it.
And you know why so many kids are brats by six?
Because parents are scared to spank too.
By the time I was 4 years old I knew to call all adults Mr. Mrs. and Miss.
And not swear. (Or not swear around adults at least.)
It’s just common courtesy.
I still remember having a really “bad day” in my mid 30’s and busting my knuckles hard on some piece of farm equipment when a wrench slipped, and I cussed a blue streak.
Didn’t know my Mom was at the farm, and just outside until she said, “I heard that.”
Immediately I felt like I was 10, and apologized, not because I was terrified of “Mommy Dearest” but because I was embarrassed about swearing in the presence of a lady/my Mom.
Now kids swear all the time, and it’s vulgar.
And kids don’t realize, if they use the “F” word in anger at someone from my generation, they’re fighting words because if a someone is so mad they lose it cuss you out like that, you have no idea what lines they’re about to cross.
So you know what?
When a kid throws a tantrum, a CONTROLLED bit of physical discipline is most likely what STOPS them from shooting someone twenty years down the road, because they learn there are boundaries and lines to a civilized society, and there is always someone bigger and tougher who will enforce them.
And the vast, vast, vast majority of bullied kids never shoot someone. You’re trying to make a rule to cover the crazy exceptions, and no laws have ever stopped “crazy.” It’s why they catch everybody else off guard all the time.
And the fact that “All bullies were picked on” does NOT mean that “All picked on people become bullies.” That is not a logical statement.
And I don’t even believe that all bullies were picked on when younger. Some bullies are just jerks.
Plus I’ve seen far more people who were picked on in school, not become bullies when they got older, because they knew what it felt like.
They also never bothered coming back to the reunions.
And last, I’m tired of editing, so I’m just going to post and hope for the best.
commented 2015-08-06 19:42:34 -0400
Sorry, I meant it does seem in my last comment. I do want to thank you for writing and sharing this article. No sarcasm intended. I am very happy that you covered this story to open up a civil conversation on the discipline of the future. Even though we my differ in opinion, this is the kind of topics that do require discussion. Cheers ! Please continue the good work!
commented 2015-08-06 15:38:25 -0400
Mr. Pratt, it is clear to me that you are very concerned and caring. Unfortunately, it does not seem that you like many others abhor violence to the point of making it non-existant. Violence or the threat there of, has been the staple way of discipline of children throughout the world since time began. It is only in the last 20 or so years that the discission approach has been attempted. It just doesn’t work. What stops and adult from hurting another? Simply the threat of confinement or violence. The threat of a talk/discussion just does not carry any weight.
commented 2015-08-06 14:32:43 -0400
So your 9 step approach was NOT satire? I started reading your rebuttal and stopped cold when I read the words “passive agressive”. Buddy, this is half of what is wrong with society today. There can be nothing “passive” about taking control of a situation and handing out discipline. You deal with kids in a firm and fair way and guess what? Reasoning with them has nothing to do with it. Until they are 18 and especially when they are at school – THEY DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD.
I got up to no good at school in my younger years. I was physically, yes PHYSICALLY marched down to the principlal’s office, where I had a one-on-one with the top dog I never forgot. I was shown what I would get if I got up to this nonsense again (strap laid out on the desk) and told to STOP DOING IT OR ELSE (more or less). Scared the hell out of me. And … I still had my fun but when I knew I was just about to step over the line … I pictured getting whacked with you-know-what and dialed it back.
It did not break my spirit, it did not scar me for life – it simply showed me where the line was and what would happen if I crossed it.
That’s called simple, direct discipline with no room for interpretation. It works.
Kids need rules and they need to know what happens when they break them. Not discussions about feelings and time outs.
commented 2015-08-06 10:22:42 -0400
I think some have misunderstood the message of my article. Perhaps I was not clear enough. Please let me clarify.

Some took my blog as a personal attack on parenting. The article was not an attack on the parent, but rather on a faulty system that says take away the right of parents & the schools to provide discipline. In other words it is abuse to use the strap or to spank your child, but it is not abuse to treat a child as a criminal. If that is not child abuse than I am baffeled by what is?

Secondly, I was addressing the issue of de-escalation, which is what you need to achieve immediately. While I acknowledge it takes time and that it means teachers become babysitters in a situation like this, the safety of the fellow students and the child having the tantrum needs to be addressed quickly.

Putting the child in chains is certainly not the answer. What I have suggested is a passive aggressive way to de-escalate a potentially tragic situation. What will they use next Tazzers?

You can be rest assured that if they do and child dies as a result, than people will be scratching their heads asking what the heck happened?

Thirdly, no- where in my article did I say the child should be caudeled. In fact what I said at the very beginning of the article is that you need structure within the school system and it needs to be designed in such a way that helps keep the child on task. Ie: smaller student teacher ratio if integration is to work.

Fourthly, I am not saying that some disciplinary action may still need to be taken at some point, but this may have to happen 24 hours after the incident in order for all the facts to be collected and the appropriate disciplinary action taken. Children generally become aggressive in school because they are being picked on. If the system treats a child as a criminal then it sends the wrong message to the child, ie your bad; you are unworthy; you will go no- where; there is no place for you. This only leads to increased bullying, which probably was the cause of the problem in the first place.

The final result in 20 years time will be this person gunning down fellow students and teachers. Then society will be asking, What went wrong? It is all very fine and good to say the person was crazy and they were responsible for their actions and they would be correct in saying so, but this attitude has to change. Guess what? The person was crazy, but ask yourself, who made them that way and why are they not equally responsible? It is all very good to say the victims are not responsible, but until we address the issue as to why this happened and make changes in how we deal with each other at an early age than the problem will continue to exist.

Slow learners have always been easy targets for teachers and classmates.

I still believe in the adage of spare the rod; spoil the child, but I also believe that the rod should only be used sparingly and at the appropriate time and under the appropriate set of circumstances. If there is a more effective method of creating structure and discipline for that child then it should be used.

Thomas Pratt
commented 2015-08-05 22:57:42 -0400
Actually I can’t blame the doctors… What would you do if a parent came to you and said “My kid won’t listen or behave. We talked about it but he/she says its not their fault. What is the problem doctor?”. If you said " The problem is the kid needs to be disciplined by you the parent.". Or would you say “ADHD” because you know the parent has no intention to take responsibility for themselves and looks for the easy way out as they have their whole entire life?
commented 2015-08-05 22:46:30 -0400
What do people expect? Parents do not discipline their kids, teachers are no longer allowed to discipline kids, doctors feed them drugs and assume they have ADD or ADHD. The only people left to administer discipline is either law enforcement or soldiers. So if we stop the police from being able to administer discipline, then I guess we will have to leave it to soldiers. BANG!!!!! Problem solved =p
commented 2015-08-05 22:43:35 -0400
And no, I never bothered watching the video.
The 9 point plan was stupid enough.
commented 2015-08-05 22:42:30 -0400
I really, really, really, hope this piece was sarcasm.
Or to show us what ridiculous policy teachers have to go through when dealing with a brat.
Cause what’s really needed is a good swift kick in the arse.
Maybe it will turn some kids into traumatized delinquents.
This turns the MAJORITY of them into manipulative little tyrants who think they can get away with murder.
An unless parents KNOW the teacher is some kind of an absolute twit, then when the kid gets home the parents should give him another kick in the backside.
We’ve tried your "Let’s all sit down and talk bull, and while it may work for some, it doesn’t work for all, and now WAY more kids have absolutely no respect for authority, other people’s property, and even themselves.
commented 2015-08-05 22:30:21 -0400
This is the dumbest thing I have seen on this site. The “9 steps” described here can be simply summed up as “bugger those other brats, little Jonny is having a tantrum so he’s the only one who matters.”

I saw no abuse in the video in question. What I saw was a man (never mind how he was dressed) trying to, in a firm but compassionate way, teach a completely out of control brat that yes, your actions do have consequences and yes, you have the choice of what happens to you.