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Boy Forced To Wear Skirt As Punishment

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Posted by: edhara

This kind of concept is really, really weird to me. It's one thing to punish a kid, it's another to humuliate him completely just to get him to shut up.

http://www.local6.com/money/2881645/detail.html

Report: Boy Forced To Wear Skirt As Punishment
Teacher Allegedly Confesses To Putting Dress On Student

POSTED: 4:57 pm EST February 27, 2004
UPDATED: 6:14 pm EST February 27, 2004
A Central Florida preschool faces allegations of punishing children in an unusual and potentially traumatic way after a teacher's reported confession of putting a boy in a girl's dress, according to a Local 6 News report.

The family of a 5-year-old boy who was reportedly put in a yellow dress because he was talking too much said Friday that they plan to file a lawsuit against the Merriday Montessori School.

"It was a form of punishment, because he would not listen, they put him in a dress," the boy's grandmother Brenda Bradley said. "A yellow dress, and had my other grandson and the rest of the class laughing at him."

The details Bradley told Local 6 News about were confirmed in a 43-page Department of Children & Families report obtained by Local 6 News. In the report, the teacher admitted that she put a dress on the boy because, she stated, he was "being unruly."

Local 6 News obtained a copy of the taped interview between the DCF case worker and the 5-year-old child describing the incident:

Child: "When I was watching TV, I was talking too much and Miss Valerie put the dress on me."

DCF worker: "What color was the dress?"

Child: "Yellow."

DCF worker: "With flowers?"

Child: "Um hum. -- they laughed at me with the dress."

DCF worker: "Who?"

Child: "Everyone."

The child's mother, Tiffany Fairlamb, told Local 6 News that the teacher said her son would not listen so she had to put him in a dress, according to the report.

Local 6 News has learned that the case may not have been an isolated incident, according to reporter Wendy Saltzman.

Saltzman said that another child told his mother that a different boy at the school had been punished in the exact same way.

"I think this is a practice that happened more than once, by more than one teacher to more than one student," Fairlamb said.

Local 6 News reported that Merriday Motessori School stonewalled repeated requests for an interview and refused to acknowledge the unsettling allegations.

Local 6 News reported that DCF closed their case without any action, because, they said there was a low level of risk since the family has already removed their two kids from the school.

However, Local 6 News will investigate whether DCF did their job in Friday night's 11 p.m. show and speak to another parent.



Posted by: rhuntington3

That teacher should be fired. That's was very inappropiate thing to do.



Posted by: nachonaco

Yeah.....

Whatever happened to timeouts?



Posted by: stargazer21

Kinda off topic, but not...

I bought a pink tank top that has "DIVA" on the front in big glittery and rhinestone letters. I told my 14 year old son that everytime he disrespected my time when it came to his theatre rehersals or shows, he would have to wear it in public for the same amount of time that he wasted.

He's become MUCH more responsible about letting me know when he gets out or has to go in. :D He's never had to wear it.

That said...I would never do that to a little kid.



Posted by: jwjody

Humiliation is not a form of punishment.

J



Posted by: Ruth

This is wrong for so many reasons. It's wrong to use humiliation as a form of punishment for a little kid. IMO, it's also terrible to see a teacher encouraging bullying and reinforcing traditional gender roles in such a negative, punitive way. The lesson is that a boy who is effiminate should be ashamed and that the other kids should feel free to gang up on him and make fun of him, which is horrible. The teacher also is telling the kids that she won't protect them from the other students if they bully, which has got to be a scary, scary thing for some of the kids in that class.



Posted by: justapixel

Consequences are supposed to be appropriate for the action done. How making a boy wear a dress will teach him not to talk is beyond me. This is preschool - the whole point of it is not to expect children to be perfect automatons, but to gently guide them into the behavior that will be expected as they enter the elementary school system. You have to teach little children, especially boys, when it is okay to speak out and when they must be quiet, and that takes time for it's against their nature.

Teaching is supposed to be about guidance and giving appropriate consequences for unwanted behavior, not punishment and humiliation. I hope this sadistic teacher gets fired and never is allowed around children again, and I also hope that these parents win their lawsuit.

Incidents like this can have far reaching affects on a child's life.



Posted by: Inundated

The kid is *5* for crying out loud! 5 years old! You have to be very careful how you deal with children that young...something like this is WAY too over the top.

You have to wonder what was going through this preschool teacher's mind, that they thought it was a "good thing"...more than one time.



Posted by: bgreen5

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING????

My God...

A yellow dress???

Everyone knows yellow is out.

The teacher should have selected a nice plum color, or at least something a little more neutral.

;)

Of course, the irony here is that had the student wished to attend class in a yellow dress and the teacher forbade it, the ACLU would be all over this case.



Posted by: Fustanella

I resent the implication in the original article. :D



Posted by: WanMan

Ahh yes, my property tax dollars at work!



Posted by: bgreen5

quote:
Originally posted by WanMan
Ahh yes, my property tax dollars at work!


Is a "Montessori" school a public institution?

They also said it was a pre-school, which I also thought was pay-to-play by definition. :confused:

I would have expected the parents to be happy they were getting their money's worth.



Posted by: WanMan

You got a point, there. So, in addition to those parents paying into the county public school system these parents are paying for private 'schooling', too.



Posted by: bgreen5

I'm glad edhara started this thread, as it prompted me to educate myself about the philosophy behind Montessori schools. It seems that the teacher is indeed in violation of some of the key principles of the philosophy put forth by Dr. Montessori.

Apparently, Montessori is more about creativity and freedom and is relatively less concerned about academics and discipline. I learned something today.

Some eye-opening info here.


Parents Who Are Comfortable With Montessori Tend to AGREE with The Following Basic Ideas about Children’s Learning:

<excerpts>
3. It is critically important to allow children to develop a high degree of independence and autonomy.

4. Academic competition and accountability are not effective ways to motivate students to become well educated. Students learn more effectively when school is seen as a safe, exciting, and joyful experience.

5. A competitive classroom environment stifles creativity.

11. Teachers should serve as children’s mentors, friends, and guides, rather than as task-masters and disciplinarians. Students should be treated with profound respect, in partnership rather than with condescension, external control, and domination.

12. Children are capable of making choices to guide their own learning.

15. The family assumes that their children will do well, and are fairly relaxed about academic issues. They want school to be exciting and fun, not demanding and stressful in the name of high standards!


Parents Who Are Comfortable with Montessori Tend to Question or DISAGREE With Statements Such As …

1. Academic competition prepares students for the real world.

3. Testing helps to insure accountability for children, teachers, and schools.

4. Teachers must maintain strict discipline in the classroom.

6. Our family places a very high priority on achievement. We have high expectations for our children, and are looking for a school that will provide them with a high level of challenge.

7. We want to ensure that our child gets into the best schools and colleges.




I had no idea what was behind the Montessori philosophy until now. Apparently, it's much more about being "comfortable" than about "academics".

Given that, I can understand why these parents would be outraged for not getting what they paid for.

I suppose for a pre-school, I might be comfortable with the idea of a Montessori education. But I wouldn't be comfortable with de-emphasizing academics and discipline at higher levels.



Posted by: Fustanella

IIRC, the boy was forced to wear a dress, not a skirt. Facts=good. :eek:



Posted by: mbklein

I've had a lot of second-hand experience with Montessori education (the American variety -- it's slightly different than the European flavor originally developed by Maria Montessori, though it maintains the same core principles). I wouldn't say that it's more about "comfort" than "academics." I'd say it's more about learning to think independently, solve problems (which are presented primarily in the form of educational toys and games at the earlier levels), and learn at one's own pace. There's very little rote teaching involved.

It's a fantastic system for certain types of children, and horrible for others. It also requires a certain amount of parental involvement that a lot of other educational systems just assume won't exist (or at least know they can't depend on).

That said, this particular teacher should not only be fired; she should have her Montessori certification (if she actually has one) revoked.

Michael



Posted by: tomo_kun

quote:
Originally posted by bgreen5
Is a "Montessori" school a public institution?

No, private.

Im very dissapointed that a MONTESSORI Teach has done this! Very VERY dissapointed.
Montessori teachers arnt cruel like this. Some of them dont do drastic stuff, they just scare the crap out of you!


EDIT: Actually, montessori schools do give an equal balence of comfortablilty and accidemics.

This school isnt a great school, that dosnt mean ALL montssori schools are. Humiliation can be a form of diceplin, but not to a 5 year old. Recently there was a girl who's father spanked her in the classroom because she was causing trouble, not listening and being obnoxious. I spanking in the classroom (non sexual, nothing bad) would help alot. Its better then yelling at her and having her be stupid again, this time she is scared. The dress is bad, that school should be sued for every penny they have.

EDIT2:strict discipline is with most of the teachers. testing is actually with most of them too. just some didnt belive in them and they only would if they where doing HORRABLY.


When i say strict, i mean sending to office, scarring crap out of them, strict talks, but no yelling, dresses, hummiliation or any of that crap.



Posted by: Fustanella

quote:
Originally posted by tomo_kun
Recently there was a girl who's father spanked her in the classroom because she was causing trouble, not listening and being obnoxious. I spanking in the classroom (non sexual, nothing bad) would help alot.
Yep, that's the only way kids these days'll learn, with a whuppin'. :eek: :rolleyes:



Posted by: tomo_kun

quote:
Originally posted by Fustanella
Yep, that's the only way kids these days'll learn, with a whuppin'. :eek: :rolleyes:
Its not like she was hurt, she was just hummiliated. I also belive this is why kids are little brats these days, is because no one belives in good ol' fashon spankin'. Also i didnt say that was the only way they would. Also hummiliation or "whuppin's"arnt the answer, all the time. Hummiliation worked for that girl, but for that 5 year old, that was just wrong.



Posted by: Ruth

An area where I believe more discipline is warranted is the teaching of spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. All who fail shall be beaten. Keep this in mind as you post. ;)



Posted by: Inundated

quote:
Originally posted by Ruth
An area where I believe more discipline is warranted is the teaching of spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. All who fail shall be beaten. Keep this in mind as you post. ;)


Ouch!
:)



Posted by: nachonaco

I feel sorry for all those Valley Girls who use the letter 'u' as 'you' when they write a note where you live, Ruth!



Posted by: Ruth

My point is, people have strong points and weak points. Inflicting vicious punishments for the weak points encourages obedience, but it also can frighten someone into not expressing himself at all -- and keeping him from developing the good stuff he has.

For example, if we beat everyone who made a spelling error, people would be hesitant to post, and we'd lose lots of interesting discussion as a result. Sometimes it's more effective to focus on the positive -- like maybe if we encourage vibrant discussions, people will want to improve their use of language so that they can be more persuasive. In the long run, I think this approach makes better use of our collective resources.



Posted by: dswallow

quote:
Originally posted by Ruth
My point is, people have strong points and weak points. Inflicting vicious punishments for the weak points encourages obedience, but it also can frighten someone into not expressing himself at all -- and keeping him from developing the good stuff he has.

For example, if we beat everyone who made a spelling error, people would be hesitant to post, and we'd lose lots of interesting discussion as a result. Sometimes it's more effective to focus on the positive -- like maybe if we encourage vibrant discussions, people will want to improve their use of language so that they can be more persuasive. In the long run, I think this approach makes better use of our collective resources.

And there'd be a whole group that'd post with spelling errors just for the thrill of getting spanked by someone.

The punishment was wrong, but I don't think the concept of humiliation as punishment is necessarily itself wrong.

The humiliation is a form of peer pressure, to (hopefully) induce the child to avoid the circumstances that led to the punishment in the first place. Remember the concept of having to stand in a corner for a time, perhaps even with a "dunce" cap on your head?

What's wrong here is the reinforcement by association of "wearing a dress == humiliation."



Posted by: daperlman

This makes me remember a 3rd grade teacher I had. For PE kids would run 'the mile' trail unless they didn't want to run the mile... in which case they'd run a smaller trail inside the mile trail called the wussy trail. I wondered then if that was stepping over the line. In retrospect it wasn't.



Posted by: futerfas

When I first moved to Allentown from Albany, I went to the montasouri pre-school and HATED it. I was 4 at the time but I can always remember this one time when i was crying, and they tried giving me a cookie to shut me up, and it didn't work. Droped out of that, next year I went to Pre-K at the JCC, and I turned out ok :)



Posted by: justapixel

quote:
Originally posted by Ruth
For example, if we beat everyone who made a spelling error, people would be hesitant to post, and we'd lose lots of interesting discussion as a result. Sometimes it's more effective to focus on the positive -- like maybe if we encourage vibrant discussions, people will want to improve their use of language so that they can be more persuasive.


Now we have a thread within a thread. :) Remember, some people cannot improve because of a disability. I don't know if anybody who posted in this thread has dyslexia, but people like DB, who we all know has it, cannot improve their written use of the language no matter how hard they want to. Empathy is in order, not humilation.

Who knows why that five year old didn't obey? He may have been too immature to be able to sit for any length of time, he may be disobedient due to family issues, or he may have ADHD. You can't humiliate somebody out of a disability, and immaturity or obstinance requires guidance and patience, not humiliation.

Peer pressure comes from peers, and should never come from adults. I don't believe that teacher who called the smaller circuit the "wussy" trail was appropriate - but I also don't think a kid should have ever had the choice on which one to run. You run the mile, period, and if you can't, you will eventually. Teachers are supposed to guide, protect, train and nurture. While it doesn't have to be all huggy/kissy, it should never be done on the same level as the other children would do, nor should it be done in such a way as to put a target on any kids back.



Posted by: bgreen5

quote:
Originally posted by justapixel
Now we have a thread within a thread. :) Remember, some people cannot improve because of a disability. I don't know if anybody who posted in this thread has dyslexia, but people like DB, who we all know has it, cannot improve their written use of the language no matter how hard they want to. Empathy is in order, not humilation.



I don't necessarily disagree with your sentiments, Ann. And if everyone in the world had this same generosity of spirit and empathy for fellow man under all circumstances, we would be living in the Utopia. It comes down to practice and practicality, and our own sensitivity to the possibility that we might be ridiculing someone with a hidden disability or other unusual condition/circumstances.

I'm well aware of the pitfalls: I once poked fun at a member's spelling without realizing he was dyslexic. He was very upset and considered it the final straw that prompted him to leave the forum (he decided to come back). I had no previous idea, and I also apologized publicly and by PM.

Recently, we had a member leave the forum because of a lot of "short" jokes. As I recall, most people in that thread did not consider their posts to be offensive or inappropriate.

So, is it fair game to poke fun at short people, but not poor spellers?

All I'm saying is that everything's a balancing act, and you can't always know in advance who you might be offending or why.

If we did know in advance, there would be no entertainment anywhere and this forum would be vacant.

(uh oh... I think this might now be a thread within a thread within a thread :D )



Posted by: justapixel

quote:
Originally posted by bgreen5
So, is it fair game to poke fun at short people, but not poor spellers?




I think the difference is, we can poke fun at short people or bad spellers in theory.

But when we do it in specific it's rude and maybe bigoted.

The member who left because she didn't like the short jokes had the right to do so, of course, but the discussion wasn't specific to her, or even the people on the television show they were discussing. It was shortness in general, and really more of a language exercise than anything else.

That's quite different than knowing a specific person has a disability, such as achrondroplasia, and making fun of them. If she had said she was a dwarf, for example, and in that thread people riffed on her shortness they way they did in the TV thread, that would have been very cruel.

It's all about the context. There is no utopia, you are right, and people are always going to joke about differences between people. Some take it too personally when it's just general comments, and that is being oversensitive in my book. But, when it's actually directed at the specific person, there is no questioning the intent and that is what makes the difference.



Posted by: bgreen5

quote:
Originally posted by justapixel

It's all about the context. There is no utopia, you are right, and people are always going to joke about differences between people. Some take it too personally when it's just general comments, and that is being oversensitive in my book. But, when it's actually directed at the specific person, there is no questioning the intent and that is what makes the difference.



I think it's even more complicated than "specific" vs. "general".

We all know that race, religion, and politics entail very broad topics, without even necessitating references to specific individuals. But even the "general" discussions lead to hurt feelings. It all comes down to personal politics and what may or may not offend someone.

If I was a dwarf and walked into a discussion where people were riffing on the word "short" (in a thread which has no other context than the short person topic which opened the thread), I would probably be upset myself. I believe there was a lot more going on psychologically in that thread that most people (those who aren't short) are simply oblivious to.

By contrast, I would predict that a thread riffing on the word "Jew" or "Hindu" would be locked faster than the blink of an eye. (well, maybe I'm not sure about "Hindu" because there is probably very low visible representation of that demographic here)

If we go beyond the race/religion/politics (which are known hot-buttons) to other topics, there are plenty of subjects that could be offensive to some but most of us would be obliviously happy to poke fun over.

I think it really boils down to what the majority is willing to put up with, which isn't always sensitive to the feelings of the minority. That, in combination with how obvious the target of humor is, and how likely it is that we would experience repercussions by proceeding with the lampooning.

For example, it's not likely we would see a thread making fun of amputees. Most of us probably have friends/relatives/aquaintences or some level of exposure to someone with one of the more visible disabilities or physical anomalies.

On the other hand, a thread poking fun of hermaphrodites might go on unchallenged for pages. After all, most of us probably have never met a hermaphrodite, so they seem less real or less likely for us to encounter. Less likelihood of reprisals. After all, if a forum member actually was a hermaphrodite, it's not something they're likely to speak up about to challenge that such a thread be shut down.

These are just examples. My main point being that what's "offensive" is more often judged by what we can get away with, and how many people are on which side of the fence, vs. any absolute kind of metric, criteria, or moral roadmap.



Posted by: murgatroyd

quote:
Originally posted by justapixel
I think the difference is, we can poke fun at short people or bad spellers in theory.

But when we do it in specific it's rude and maybe bigoted.

The member who left because she didn't like the short jokes had the right to do so, of course, but the discussion wasn't specific to her, or even the people on the television show they were discussing. It was shortness in general, and really more of a language exercise than anything else.

That's quite different than knowing a specific person has a disability, such as achrondroplasia, and making fun of them. If she had said she was a dwarf, for example, and in that thread people riffed on her shortness they way they did in the TV thread, that would have been very cruel.

It's all about the context. There is no utopia, you are right, and people are always going to joke about differences between people. Some take it too personally when it's just general comments, and that is being oversensitive in my book. But, when it's actually directed at the specific person, there is no questioning the intent and that is what makes the difference.



Am I reading you correctly, Ann? You feel it is okay to make general rude comments about "people" who are different than you, not directed at anyone in particular, but if someone finds your comments offensive, you reserve the right to call them oversensitive for being offended? In other words, you would use the "I wasn't talking about YOU" defense?

How can this be considered polite in any way? I must have missed that chapter in my etiquette book.

Also, if we were talking about a workplace rather than this forum, I suspect a lot of lawyers would call the scenario I described "creating a hostile work enviroment" and one could get sued over it.

Jan



Posted by: Saturn

quote:
Originally posted by justapixel
I don't know if anybody who posted in this thread has dyslexia, but people like DB, who we all know has it, cannot improve their written use of the language no matter how hard they want to.


That's just plain not true. I had a physics teacher in high school who was easily the best teacher I ever had, and she admitted to us that she had dyslexia. As a result, she said she had to read all the grades out loud as she was writing them on papers and into the gradebook in order to prevent transposing digits. Her assignments and tests were not littered with errors either, finding a mistake of any sort was quite rare, in fact.

Coupled with today's spell-checkers, dyslexia is nowhere near as difficult a disability to overcome as it once was. It takes a little more effort than those who don't have it, but it is certainly possible. Most disabilities are possible to overcome with enough effort and assistance from technology these days. For example, I competed yesterday in a programming contest in which one of the contestents was completely blind.



Posted by: cptodd

quote:
Originally posted by bgreen5
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING????

My God...

A yellow dress???

Everyone knows yellow is out.

The teacher should have selected a nice plum color, or at least something a little more neutral.

;)

Of course, the irony here is that had the student wished to attend class in a yellow dress and the teacher forbade it, the ACLU would be all over this case.



Yellow is the new black my friend! :D



Posted by: loswald

Humiliating a child whose only fault in class seemed to be that he wasn't paying attention was a little over the top. But in the spirit of having the punishment fit the crime, I would have loved to see my "preschool Bully" forced to wear a dress. 20 years later I can still remember the things he did to humiliate me.



Posted by: cheesesteak

The punishment was inappropriate but a part of me thinks the little boy should thank the stars that his teacher wasn't a nun named Sister Bruce Lee from the order of the Sisters Of Corporal Punishment like I had when I was growing up.



Posted by: justapixel

quote:
Originally posted by murgatroyd
Am I reading you correctly, Ann?


No, you certainly aren't. Maybe you need to reread what I said.



Posted by: justapixel

quote:
Originally posted by bgreen5


We all know that race, religion, and politics entail very broad topics, without even necessitating references to specific individuals. But even the "general" discussions lead to hurt feelings. It all comes down to personal politics and what may or may not offend someone.




In a way you are right, it is about what people can get away with, but it's deeper than that. I think it's human nature to joke - sometimes about things that are less easy to understand or make one uncomfortable. Homicide cops joke about the murder scene, for example, where you and I might be unbelievably shocked and find nothing to joke about.

Certain topics have always caused issues between humans - there is a reason for the old adage never to talk about religion or politics at a dinner party. Others are less easy to define.

In specific, there have been things said here that offended me on a personal level, but the people who said them have no way of knowing that is something that bothers me, so I can't blame them. But, if they did know my sore spot and continued to do it, then I would be rightfully upset.

It's unrealistic to go through life thinking you have a right to not be offended. It's impossible, we are too diverse a society. We have a right not to be attacked for our differences, but there isn't, nor should there be, a right not to be offended.

Oh, and Saturn: Dyslexia is an umbrella term that covers all sorts of learning/reading disabilities of varying degrees. Perhaps your teacher had one that is easier to overcome or get around. I know from personal experience that not everybody can do so, no matter how hard they try.




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