2005-04-23

 

The Police is your friend....

"Florida police officers handcuffed an allegedly uncontrollable five-year-old after she acted up at a Florida kindergarten and drove her to her mother in the back of a police cruiser". Full Article at BBC News. Also at ABC News.

The video of the incident.



What am I supposed to say to my almost 5 year old? The Police is your friend, right? If the police is trained to behave like such inhuman automata, we might as well just develop robots to do their jobs. The 5 year-old girl was already sitting quietly on a chair... It is absolutely incomprehensible.



And the school too, why on Earth do you call the Police to handle a 5-year-old? It's messed up, just messed up.

Comments:
I think you should tell your son that police his is friend, but that it can also be wrong.

It reminds me of a text by Umberto Eco, where he complained about how animals are portrayed to children, as benevolent, silly creatures, to appease man's guilty conscience regarding them. "Instead of loyally telling them what men are, and what animals are".

The same many be true for the police, or the war, or Abu Grahib, or ourselves...
 
That is a fair point. I am just upset at the enormous amount of rules that are imposed today on school teachers and the police, which moves them from emotional human beings into algorithms. It makes people loose all sense of proportion.

I am very willing to accept human error, failabilities, inconsistencies, etc. That is why this bothers me even more. I believe the teachers and the police acted the way they did because they wanted to avoid any responsibility, with all the error that that entails, in dealing with a 5-year-old person. By going by the rules (which are clearly not designed to handle children) they chose (were forced?) to not engage with her as humans.

People should think about how excessive reliance on rules of behavior deprive us from acting like people who can choose -- the most fundamental of human traits, Aquinas would say.
 
This situation is really frightening because it wasn’t just one bad decision, but a failure of multiple individuals and systems. What teacher can’t handle a tantrum? Why wasn’t someone from CPS sent instead of uniformed officers, or anyone with some concept of how to deal with children? What were not one but two officers thinking when they approached a quiet 5 year old and placed her in handcuffs? Did they really feel threatened?

I can appreciate that teachers and school administration are in tough positions. They worry about liability exposure because the culture and court system will entertain the most ridiculous lawsuits, and even doles out the most incredible of judgments now and then. Everyone’s gunshy and it does no one any good.

The US school system jumped the tracks long ago when "zero tolerance" policies came into vogue. Not only are we tying the hands of our educators, but we're setting an awful example for our children when they see an authority structure that can't handle the realities of issues in context.

I’m sure the line that comes down will be that this girl was behaving violently, thus they dealt with it according to policy. Heh. Violent would have been the harangue my mother would have unleashed on me if I’d thrown a fit at school. ☺

But anon is right; what can you do other than address the situation when it comes up and explain that the system makes mistakes sometimes, too?
 

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