April 23, 2005

What Lawsuits Have Wrought

I'm assuming your local news station did a "I'm FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS" story tonight like mine did. You know, the one where the five-year-old got arrested for throwing a temper tantrum.

Well, if you're interested, there's a whole lot more video than what they showed on the news.

To watch the respective videos first go here for the classroom video and here for the office video.

That's what people call a temper tantrum these days? That is not a temper tantrum. That is what is called willful behavior. There's a difference. The word "tantrum" implies that there is no way the kid is coming out of it; that the child is uncontrollable/inconsolable/dangerous to themselves and others. I've seen and dealt with many kids who were in a full-blown tantrum. This kid was not in a tantrum. A tantrum involves incessant screaming, crying, kicking, more screaming, biting, hitting, more kicking, more screaming, more hitting. They are in the throes of an epically proportioned meltdown.

This child was controllable. Every time it seemed like she was being ignored, the child acted up. She pulled things off the wall when she realized someone would be upset if she did. She deliberately climbed up on that table after being told not to. Why? Because she was told not to. She was simply being willful. She thought she could win, and she proved it by doing it even though she was rebuffed once. The Vice Principal and teacher just did not have the means to control her. Why? They couldn't touch her for fear of a lawsuit. You'll notice the only time the Vice Principal touched her was when the little girl was in danger of harming herself. As Robbo points out, seither did the Vice Principal inject a little force into the tone she employed. Apparently, they're not even allowed to threaten the little buggers with adverse consequences.

Given that the school's staff was completely hamstrung by regulations, I can't blame those teachers for calling the campus cops. While one wonders why they have cops at the campus of an Elementary School, they were nonetheless the proper people to call. Unfortunately, they're being sued right now because they placed the girl in cuffs, which is a measure police generally use to subdue criminals, but is also a protective measure meant to ensure the officers aren't harmed. I don't honestly think they had any other choice, given that the girl had been kicking and screaming. You'll note how quickly she sat down and started behaving herself when she learned policemen were on the way. You'll also note that the police officer asked her if she remembered him and did she remember that he'd told her mother that the next time he'd put her in cuffs?

Why would a five-year-old be chummy with a police officer? Why would that threat be the only one this little girl would listen to? Makes a person wonder about that child's home life, doesn't it?

It seems as if the policeman was the only person who was willing to put his money where his mouth was about actions and consequences. His department doesn't deserve to be sued because he was doing his job. One can only hope this makes her straighten up and fly right. I don't think it will, considering her mother is suing the cops, and she's bound to learn the wrong lesson from that action, but one can hope.

{Hat Tip: Robbo and Wizbang}

Posted by Kathy at April 23, 2005 12:05 AM

I dunno...those people sure made me feel threatened...I would have listend to them straight away! NOT!

There was no sense of authority in any-ones voices. Not one person said one thing to her to imply that they were in charge. Sad.

Posted by: The Wizard at April 23, 2005 08:40 AM
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