What is happening down there in Florida?
While watching this incident on the tube a few hours ago, I remember thinking that, had I acted in this manner some thirty-nine years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to sit down for a week. (Remember that threat?)
The videotaped altercation with a 5-year-old girl who was hauled off in handcuffs following an extended tantrum at her St. Petersburg, Fla., school has led to questions about whether the police overreacted.[SNIP]When the little girl was handcuffed, she understandably began screaming and struggling with the officers. However, that last statement obviously suggests that the mother and the police have been called about this kid before.
The footage starts in [teacher Christina] Ottersbach's classroom, where assistant principal Nicole Dibenedetto and teacher Patti Tsaousis were trying to calm the girl down and get her to clean up a mess that she had made.
Ottersbach is not in the room, having pulled her other students out of the classroom because of the girl's unseen outburst, leaving just the three.
"This is your mess to clean up. We need you to stop. You may not do this," Dibenedetto patiently but firmly told the girl, who stubbornly refused.
Eventually, the girl did start cleaning up the mess, but then she refused to leave the room. Only when Dibenedetto and Tsaousis asked her to make a choice before they counted to five did she finally leave with them.
Things evidently did not improve after that, however. The tape cuts to Dibenedetto's office, which has been trashed, apparently by the girl. She is seen ripping papers off the wall and refusing Dibenedetto's requests that she stay seated in a chair.
The girl even becomes violent at that point, taking numerous swings at Dibenedetto, who only puts her hands up to block the girl's punches.
The only other time the assistant principal touches the girl is when the child twice climbs onto a table, and the woman lifts her off and puts her back on the floor, on her feet.
Shortly after that, voices are heard saying that police have arrived. The girl sits down in the chair and remains there as three uniformed St. Petersburg police officers walk in.
"Do you remember me?" one of them asks the girl. "I'm the one who told your mom I'd put handcuffs on you."
(Was this a special education class? To my unlearned eye, this little girl is in need of special ed., in need of medication or both. Most normal five-year-olds don’t hit at the teacher and yell ‘no’ when the teacher asks her to clean up her own mess. This five-year-old sounded and acted like a toddler.)
One thing I find interesting is this next statement by the girl’s family attorney, John Trevena:
"I'm concerned that the educators shadowed and hovered around the young girl," he said. "It certainly gives credence to the argument that they may have been provoking her to act out more. To me, it didn't look like a de-escalation. It looked like an escalation, an attempt to get her to act out more. I just don't understand why they didn't distance themselves back further and allow things to cool off."Attorneys. I suppose if the educators had backed off and let the girl injure herself, that it would have been just peachy keen and he would have never sued the school for negligence.
Yes, handcuffing a five-year-old is going overboard. But if that is certainly out of the question, what should the teacher do if the parent doesn't show up right away? They can’t spank the kids the way they could and did when I was a wee one. According to the attorney, the teachers can’t even “hover.” All of a sudden a kid is guaranteed her “space” when she disrupts the classroom so much that all of the other students have to be evacuated. Meanwhile, no one is learning.
And, as is evitable in stories like these, I find no mention of this little girl’s father.
(Thanks to Wizbang)