In what appears to be a case of Zero Tolerance Gone Completely Insane, a child in West Virginia was suspended from school last month for the intolerable act of crying.
The six-year-old child was attending Tallwood Elementary School in Virginia Beach when his parents were notified that he was suspended from school for crying too much and “disrupting the educational process.”
The boy’s parents, who had not been notified of any behavioral issues with the child prior to the suspension, protested the school’s action and soon thereafter contacted the Rutherford Institute, a conservative organization dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights, for legal assistance.
Calling the punishment overly harsh and stating that the attitude of the school is “lacking in common sense, compassion and due process for students and their families,” the Rutherford Institute called on the school to rescind the suspension and expunge it from the child’s academic record.
While handling a crying six-year-old is definitely trying, and certainly a child who is acting out in the classroom can be disruptive, the manner in which Tallwood Elementary School chose to handle this issue leaves a great deal to be desired. By receiving a suspension for crying, the child will not learn to manage his emotions, but will rather learn that his emotions are bad and punishable. The school showed a shocking lack of capacity for dealing with challenging children in appropriate ways – such as comforting the child or working out a plan of action with the parents.
Rather, they have taken the approach of simply sweeping the issue temporarily under the rug until the child, and the problem, return to the classroom. It’s truly disturbing to find that staff at an elementary school, who presumably have dealt with six-year-old behavior before, took this drastic step at all – never mind without having any contact or discussion with the parents.
Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr