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Boy Barred from Bathroom During Punishment

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Forced to squat for 30 minutes, a 7th grader soils himself. Are teacher's disciplinary tactics getting way out of hand?

boy in classroom

Last year, when Issac, an Illinois junior high student, and his friends left a mess in the lunchroom he and his pals were told to do laps. Only Issac, who suffers from asthma, couldn't finish.

So he was given another punishment.

A counselor and social worker forced the boy to remain in a squatting position with his arms extended holding two heavy books for nearly 30 minutes until he urinated on himself, according to a lawsuit filed last week against the South Holland School District. Eventually Issac was forced to return to class soaked in urine, according to court papers.

Leslie Connie, Issac's mom says her son has since suffered from extreme anxiety, panic attacks, recurring nightmares, frequent flashbacks and sleepwalking. Connie said her son now attends a private school.

Experts say the use of force in schools is increasing at a rapid pace -- at least one or two cases a week. "It's an awful combination, because many parents expect restraints to be used -- as long as it's not their kid," said Reece L. Peterson, a professor of special education at the University of Nebraska.

Do you think the school's punishment went too far? 

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jill March 16, 2009, 4:36 PM

Absolutely. Power hungry, maybe?

leelee March 16, 2009, 5:16 PM

Yes!!! They were WAY out of line. It was cruel and hurtful! The punishment must fit the crime. They should have been cleaning up that lunch room for the week. How are laps going to enforce clean behavior? It’s no fault of the boy’s that he has asthma and can’t do the laps. Parents/Gaurdians should have been called. No child should be “forced” to return to class in soiled clothing!

Anonymous March 16, 2009, 6:52 PM

UNBELIVEABLE!!!!!I cannot understand where that was equal punishment . I wonder how thta teacher would like his or her OWN child to be treated that way then forced to return to class after soiling themselves. Again unbelivable .

Jessica March 16, 2009, 7:42 PM

I’m a teacher candidate at the moment (fancy title for those of us in the College of Education) and we discussed instances such as these. “Leelee” is correct in her observation that the punishment must reinforce the correct behavoir.

Correct punishment aside, this is downright abuse. It sickens me that any human would force another human, especially a child, to do something like this.

It scares me to no end that these people are educators. Had someone found parents doing this to their children, they would be arrested for child abuse.

Bec Thomas March 16, 2009, 9:21 PM

I think this has always been a problem in public schools and I think in many areas public schools have just crossed to many lines, it’s why I homeschool.

K&C's mom March 16, 2009, 11:17 PM

I agree with Bec, that is why we homeschool, too, that and our public schools where we live are highly inadequit

Gail Cooke March 17, 2009, 12:29 AM

OMG, that’s WAY WAY out of line. Passing waste is a BIOLOGICAL NEED…NOT to be used as punishment.

I’d sue that school so fast their heads would spin faster than Regan in The Exorcist.

Lea March 17, 2009, 3:01 AM

Issues like these in public schools show a lack of training and support for the teachers - I think that in this situation too much power was given to a counselor who did not have experience with disciplining children or just didn’t belong in that position. I don’t agree, however, that homeschooling is necessarily the answer because even today with the advancements of and availability of socialization that homeschoolers have still gives a very limited view of the world. I am one to advocate for children IN the school system - including my children - so that the WHOLE system is changed, that ALL children in the school benefit from my voice. Be proactive, not reactive.

Amanda March 23, 2009, 3:33 AM


mike April 10, 2009, 4:39 AM

The “isometric squat” punishment where you assume a half-squat position and hold out the arms with a weight (in our case a rifle) is a common punishment for male cadets in military training. Even male cadets like us (18 yrs old and up) find that punishment agonizing after few minutes. I cant believe a teacher tried to use a military punishment like that on a kid.

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