Child Suspended From School For Crying

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.

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Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr


Susan E.
Susan E.4 years ago

So...this is nine minutes away from my apartment. Was debating doing my practicum here....

Connie T.
Past Member 5 years ago

However difficult he may be - poor kid needs help but so it seems do his peculiar parents!

Pamela W.
Pamela W5 years ago

I see this story dates back quite a long time - has there been an update on it? The Rutherford Institute link no longer shows anything relevent to this ... so we're possibly commenting on something which is no longer "current" and has already been resolved???? Would be interesting to know the outcome of it all !!!!!!!!

Bethany Hunt
Bethany Hunt5 years ago

If Some O and Wilma E are correct , then this shows incompetent reporting by whoever wrote this article. Get your facts right before you get on your self-righteous high horse!

Bethany Hunt
Bethany Hunt5 years ago

@TJ W re. the enlightening info given by Some O and Wilma E. who I presume both have first or second hand knowledge of this case - maybe the school staff would like to do something to get a diagnosis, but are not allowed to because the parents won't agree to it? I'm not sure what the laws are in the U.S. but I should think the school has a legal right and responsibility to report this situation. It sounds like the boy is severely disturbed, which would cause suspicion of emotional abuse, or concern that he has something like autism, and isn't getting any treatment for it. Maybe the school is afraid of the belligerence of the boy's father, and threats of litigation - there is something wrong if a school can't act for fear of being sued. Why isn't the government supporting them?

Stella Ward
Stella Ward5 years ago

I am just curious - who are the "geniuses" out there who actually support how the school handled the crying child and why.
The "Zero Tolerance" policies have gotten way out of hand. If that had happened to my child, I would certainly have taken it to court and the media, and expect that the school staff either get some extensive training on how to deal with young children, or change to a completely new staff including the principal who would allow for a young child to be treated so callously when he/she is just experiencing normal 6-year-old behavior.
It is time to change the "Zero Tolerance" policies to ones that make sense and actually help to serve the children in the best possible way.

Anne S.
Anne S5 years ago

If, as parents, we are forced to submit our kids to institutional places of learning, we should expect that system can cope. More training for the teachers, and more funding from the government to provide skilled care (and time) for our future generations. A little compassion for students, parents and teachers, please.

Tahni W5 years ago

If what Some O. and Wilma E. are writing here is the truth, why didn't the schools contact the proper people who could diagnose his problem, possible autism and/or severe abuse in the home, and deal with the fact that his parents were neglecting his (probable) medical and emotional needs?
Instead, both schools chose to neglect him as well, and should be held accountable for not serving in the child's best interest.
Someone needs to help this kid but it appears all the adults in his life are too lazy and selfish to do it.

Wilma E.
Wilma E.6 years ago

finishing previous post: cut-off

Everytime bronson thinks someone, even a smiling classmate, has looked at him, he starts screaming and throwing a tantrum. he has to be removed from the classroom so the other children can continue to learn, because NOTHING will calm him down other than waiting for him to exhaust himself.

point-of-information: the clarks received permission to send bronson clark to centerville elementary school in virginia beach. bronson immediately made himself known there with his screaming fits. after several patient attempts by school staff at centerville to work with bronson and his parents, the Principal called Mr. Clark (an Assistant Principal with the same virginia beach school system). he rudely informed her that he was a busy man and she was not to call him at work EVER. if there is a problem with bronson, she should call his wife.
NOTE: this is the same wife that Tallwood Elementary was DIS-ALLOWED from calling.
NOTE: mr clark is an ASSISTANT principal . . . and had the nerve to REPRIMAND a PRINCIPAL!!!!!!!
NOTE: bronson clark was back at Tallwood Elementary before the end of September as a result of his continuous screaming, his parents lack of action toward getting him professional help, and mr. clark's rude and unprofessional behavior.

and that's the facts, and the rest of the story.

Wilma E.
Wilma E.6 years ago

fact correction #1, paragraph 1: the school is NOT in West Virginia. It is in Virginia.

fact correction #2, paragraph 3: the parents had been repeatedly contacted and repeatedly claimed their child's problem was the school's fault. Prior to the suspension, the father informed the administration that NO ONE WAS TO CONTACT HIS WIFE about this matter.... ALL CONTACT WAS TO BE MADE DIRECTLY TO HIM.

fact correction #3, paragraph 5: the school worked VERY PATIENTLY with bronson clark. MANY times he was calmly walked around the building by various teachers and administrators while he SQUALLED AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS. often, school personnel would have to take him outside because of his continuous screaming (once recorded lasting over 20 minutes). several members of the staff talked with bronson in an attempt to understand his trouble and help him. he would not talk, but would merely emit a yell/scream that was devoid of emotion and tears. screaming for the sake of screaming. his parents were repeatedly informed and repeatedly did nothing for their son. their only response was to yell at the school staff who were trying to help, and then spew their child's name all over the internet by filing a spurious lawsuit and reporting lies about the school.

Everytime bronson thinks someone, even a smiling classmate, has looked at him, he starts screaming and throwing a tantrum. he has to be removed from the classroom so the other children can continue to learn, because NO