Saturday, April 26, 2008

Crayon Battle Draws Felony Charges Against Florida 8 Year-Old

From USA Today:

WBBH-TV says a fight over crayons led to felony charges against an 8-year-old boy in Fort Myers, Fla.

The second-grader was charged with aggravated battery after a teacher told police that he hit some of his classmates and then punched his teacher during a violent outburst at Royal Palm Exceptional School.

The boy, who we're not identifying because of his age, is said to be 4 feet tall and weigh about 70 pounds.

"If he was overpowering her that much, I feel like she shouldn't be in that line of work," his grandmother, Dorothy Williams, tells the station. "If she can't deal with him, put him in someone else's classroom. If it's a male, whatever, and let them restrain him," she adds.

Lee County Judge Joseph Fuller says the boy needs a "time out." He'll be arraigned next month.

To the teachers reading this, can you please let us know - is this really necessary?

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

UPDATE:

Canada, eh picks up on a similarly outageous story reported by CBS, this one involving a Florida kindergarten student:

St. Petersburg (Fla.) police officers handcuffed an unruly 5-year-old girl after she acted up in her kindergarten class.

A video camera, which was rolling March 14 as part of a teacher's classroom self-improvement exercise, captured images of the girl tearing papers off a bulletin board, climbing on a table and punching an assistant principal before police were called to Fairmount Park Elementary School.

Then it shows the child appearing to calm down before three officers approach, pin her arms behind her back and put on handcuffs as she screamed, "No!"

- GJW

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1 comment:

Mr. E said...

In Canada, no child under 12 can be charged. They can be referred to the children's aid societies. That would be a last step unless he/she has sexually assaulted another student or assaulted someone with a deadly weapon. I don't think crayons count unless one sharpens them and uses a knifing action to stab someone.

The reality for many teachers in Canada is that we have not receive training on how to deal with violent incidents. What do I do to stop two boys in kindergarten from fighting? Do I grab arms to separate them and leave bruise marks? How about two girls in grade eight? Do I push them apart and get accused of touching a breast?

I don't have enough information about the eight year-old student in Florida to determine the best course of action. I don't know if he is a student with special-needs. I would suggest that teachers and schools follow a progressive discipline model where teachers deal with students first, then talk to the parents/guardians, and then refer the students to administration.