Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Education, Survivor, and Hamburgers

I think Amanda was the first to point out the recent abuse of a Kindergarten student in Port St. Lucie, Florida. And many others have since weighed in (scroll down the linked blog for a list of other posts).

I would imagine the vast majority of those who read this blog have already heard about this, where a Kindergarten teacher thought it thoroughly appropriate to have a 5 year old student stand in front of the class while his classmates were instructed to tell him what they didn't like about him. The teacher then thought it would be a good idea to have his classmates vote on whether he should be allowed to stay in the class or not.

They voted him out, by a vote of 14-2, in a move reminiscent of the American TV show, Survivor.

The vast majority of blogging on this that I have seen quite rightly call for the "teacher", Wendy Portillo, to be fired immediately.

Bev has kindly posted some contact info for key people that we can register our (polite) displeasure with.

I especially enjoyed Shawn's post at Along The Spectrum as he detailed how although Portillo's actions were especially egregious, that there was blame enough to go around to the whole system that allowed this to happen.

It has been recognized that teachers are sometimes bullies. Some teachers bully because they are sadistic, and some because they were once bullied themselves.

Bullying isn't only something that happens in schools. Increasingly aggressive managers in the workplace sometimes bully their employees, in a style of management referred to as "Hamburger Management". In this form of management, competition is stressed amongst workers, with workers constantly encouraged to be better than their co-workers, and be "winners".

While bullying in the workplace is also wrong, at least the ones being bullied are presumably adults and have the possibility of leaving to find work elsewhere. Often when pupils in schools report bullying, they are not believed, the bullying continues and often gets worse, and they can suffer long term mental health consequences.

Once again, I encourage everyone to go to Bev's blog for a list of the people you can (politely) contact to let them know that such situations are unacceptable.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Justice Delayed

photo credit-densaer
creative commons license

Well, it might be a case of too little, too late for many who have been tortured at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in the past, but I'll take anything at this point.

Yesterday's Boston Globe reported that the JRC is being investigated, and that state investigators went in to the center last week and seized boxes of documents.

I started writing about the JRC about 15 months ago, but they've been up to no good for a lot longer than that. The JRC is famous for using electric shocks in autistic individuals as a form of "aversive therapy". Inmates "Students" at the center wear backpacks with batteries and shocking devices which torturers "patient care technicians" can activate at any time by pushing a button. They shock children for such things as being "defiant", or for matters as trivial as "nagging a teacher".

The state of Massachusetts has considered laws in the past to ban spanking of children, but still allows the JRC to continue its daily torture of children.

According to the Globe article:

State Police seized documents late last week from the offices of the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton that are related to a prank phone call last summer that led two students to wrongfully receive dozens of punishing electrical shocks, according to two people with direct knowledge of the investigation.

I guess all of the shocking things that go on at the JRC on a daily basis, like starvation and shocking "students" is just fine, but give some of those same "students" some extra shocks and NOW they're sitting up and taking notice.

The article goes on to say:

The collection of evidence has to do with a yearlong grand jury investigation led by the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, said Kenneth Mollins, a New York lawyer who has filed several lawsuits against the school and who said he spoke to a representative of Coakley's office about the Rotenberg investigation. Mollins said he was told the grand jury is also examining possible financial improprieties by the school.

I just hope that this investigation sheds enough light on this stinkhole of a place that the public finally sees it for what it is.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

photo credit-tanakawho
creative commons license

To those that missed my post last year, it applies even more so now.

And for a bit of humor, I suggest viewing "Because I'm the mom".

Happy Mother's Day!