An autistic girl was put into a time-out room in school for failing to complete a reading assignment and was left in there FOR THREE HOURS. While in there, she wet herself.
Now I ask you... Would shit like this happen as often if teachers took one moment to think "If this were MY child, would I be okay with this?"
I may not see abuse like this coming from the teachers I work alongside (thank God), but there have been times were I thought we could all benefit from the "what if he were mine...?" approach. Of course, this may have negative consequences once in a while, as in the cases when I've thought "If he were my son (or she were my daughter), I'd have smacked the back of his head faster than he could say 'you don't know me, whateva' and banned all use of TV, video games, mp3 player, computer, and phone until he turned 18. In fact, I'd send the brat to live on an Amish farm for a week and see how he likes them apples."
That may not be the best perspective. It's sad to think I have such double standards between what I would find acceptable from my students versus my own children, but then they're very different people with very different backgrounds and upbringings.
Back to the news story at hand... The only time I would think it would be appropriate to isolate a student is if the student was upset and needed a moment to calm down, but I still wouldn't leave him entirely alone as I'd hate to be liable for any harm he may do to himself or his surroundings, and certainly not for three hours. How horrifying for the parents who entrusted their already fragile child to other adults, a child who may not be able to explain circumstances or her feelings accurately, who can't defend herself or her own interests... It's enough to make you weep. I know there are still fucked up parents out there who WOULD do this to their own child, but I think if more teachers thought that way there would be fewer incidences of humiliation, bullying, teasing, excessive punishing, and abuse of students.
My title for this post was partly in reference to poor Marcus Fiesel who was also autistic and was bound in a blanket wrapped tight with packing tape and placed in a closet where he died. His foster parents were away for a family reunion. He was left without water and food but most likely died from the heat. And don't get me started on parents leaving their kids to die in the heat because I can believe one parent may make that mistake, but then another woman, and ANOTHER woman making the exact same mistake...? All living in the same tri-state? Has no one learned anything?? Okay, get me started on this one. As horrifying as it was, I was able to believe that the Slaby woman just made a huge disgusting mistake. We're human. But that news story had me glancing in my rear view mirror a LOT more than I used to. It made me glance sadly at my car seat every time I got out of my car and thank my lucky stars that I can still hold my daughter to me and hear her laugh or cry or demand chicken nuggets really loudly. How on earth could someone forget so soon at the cost of their own flesh and blood?
Ak. It's all really horrid and I don't mean to point the finger of blame in some sort of holier-than-thou stance... I just think adults need to think more. Think of the kids more. Just THINK!