Thursday, February 20, 2020

Knee Jerk Reactions

Last week I read about another example of schools not using common sense and good judgment.

We need to stop having these knee jerk reactions and getting back to using good judgment.

A six-year-old child does not understand the impact of making this gesture and needs to be taught it is inappropriate. She should not be arrested.

How many young children hit their parents? Do we have them arrested for assault and battery? No, we teach them that this behavior is inappropriate.

If a student takes a pencil or candy from another student’s desk without their permission, do we have them arrested for stealing? No, we teach them that this behavior is inappropriate.

Years ago, I had a high school student with Down Syndrome who pulled the fire alarm. He was encouraged to do it by older students in the general education classes. The administration wanted my student arrested and after a lengthy discussion, he was not arrested. I explained that my student was aware that he had done something wrong. When a person does something wrong, he usually hides the fact and won’t admit it. My student admitted it, laughed and thought it would help him be liked by his peers. The parents, the administration, and I sat down with the student and calmly explained why this was wrong. We also explained that there would be consequences if it happened again. Then it was important to bring in the boys who had encouraged him to do this and explain the consequences for them also. They were guilty of taking advantage of my student and encouraging him to break the law, which made them accessories to the “crime.” This was a learning experience for my students, his parents, and also the other boys who thought they were being funny and playing a joke on my student.

We need to stop looking at children mimicking adult behavior (from watching TV, the news, the movies, etc.) as criminals and take the time to teach them appropriate behavior!

Do you agree or disagree? Please share.

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