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Should all children be treated the same?

Forum: Heated Debates


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October 19th, 2009, 06:20 AM
SusieQ2's Avatar Jersey Girl
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 39,051
I know this can be a hot button topic because it comes up often in schools.

Should all children receive the same punishment for committing the same offense or should the punishment be based upon each individual child?

For instance:

Child A brings an unloaded gun to school. He shows it to a few friends and gets caught with it. Obviously bringing a gun to school is against school rules. Child A is 13 and know/understands the no gun rule. He is a normally developing 13 year old with no learning, social, physical, mental, developmental handicaps of any sort.

Child B brings a gun to school. He pulls it out of his bookbag while getting his stuff out in the morning and other students see it and report it. Child B is also 13. However, he is Autistic. He is in a special education classroom. He's aware of the no gun rule but he often struggles with remembering the rules and abiding by them.

Should both children receive the same punishment?

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October 19th, 2009, 10:23 AM
Tofu Bacon
Posts: n/a
Oh boy, what kind of punishment are we talking about here?

I can tell you first hand that punishment and autism do mesh well. Not only do they not always understand that "No guns in school" means "Don't bring a gun to school ever", but they also find it extremely difficult to make sense of consequences. Child #2 may very well "know" the rules, but may not understand that he has to follow the rules. Punishing him likely won't accomplish much, but resonsibility needs to fall on those who are supposed to be providing him with the supervision he needs: his parents, teacher and his aide at school (if he has one).
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October 19th, 2009, 10:51 AM
Tammyjh's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: North
Posts: 7,824
As autism comes in varying degrees, I do not believe there is an easy answer. I can tell you from experience that a lot of children on the spectrum that are higher functioning are very rule oriented individuals so not remembering a rule would be out of the norm(not unheard of though). I would suspect that if a child on the spectrum broke the rule for some reason, there is likely to be someone else behind it who convinced them that the rule had either changed or that an authority figure had given permission. If this were the case, getting to the bottom of "why" the child had broken the rule is what is more important because if its just left at giving the autistic child the consequence without finding out the whole story, you could be punishing the wrong person.

And a big ditto to what Cori posted.
Tammy, Mom to
Abby (19), Kacie (13), Chase (11), & Jacob (7)

"...They're supposed to make you miserable! That's why they're family!" ~ Bobby ~ Supernatural
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October 19th, 2009, 11:14 AM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
I absolutely think that it *should* be able to be evaluated based on criteria like you described above. How does that work in policy writing? IDK - I think there are too many variables to account for EVERY possible scenario/child....but again this is why I think the way they used to do things of their being a discussion either among faculty & school board & a meeting with parents, etc...to determine what should be done...rather than blanket policies. I think too many people want absolutes & everything in black & white to ever go back to that though.
B - Crazy momma to my two boys
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October 19th, 2009, 11:52 AM
SusieQ2's Avatar Jersey Girl
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 39,051
I actually really bad for schools who have to deal with such situations. I know many schools have a zero tolerance policy for weapons. I can understand their reasoning for it but it just isn't always going to work. Sometimes there really are exceptions to the rule.

My local district had recently been having trouble with a 2nd grade student. He was diagnosed as having ODD and could become very violent at times. He was in a special education classroom with only 5 other children. Sometimes he would just come to school in a "mood." He couldn't really ever tell you why he was in this mood but when he was it was everybody beware.

One day one of the aides was sitting on the floor helping another child. The boy with ODD got very angry because his crayon broke while he was coloring. He got right out of his seat, ran up behind the aide and kicked her so hard he broke one of her ribs.

Now if any child who did not have some type of diagnosed condition and was in a regular ed classroom did something like that he would have would have received at least a 10 day suspension and possibly been expelled.

The school wanted to suspend this boy for 10 days. His parents were outraged! They felt that their son had a disorder that kept him from being able to control his compulsions and emotions and therefore he couldn't help what he had done.

I think the school finally bent and gave the boy a 5 day suspension which the parents finally agreed to.

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October 19th, 2009, 01:24 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 22,812
My younger sister is mentally handicap, was in special ed classes & was always punished the same for behaving badly as any other child would be, and she did some pretty bad things so they would suspend or expel her from a school. For example she was expelled from one school for chasing another child with scissors and then laughing in the principals face when he paddled her...This had happened after some smaller instances & the school was fed up...

I think a childs disability, if there is one, should be considered when it comes to the punishment, when it comes to "special needs" children, the same tactics do not always work for them. It did no good for my little sister to be paddled, obviously, and thats one way I dont think she should have been punished, it would have been a much better effect on her to make her sit in a time out or whatever (for small problems, I understand expelling her for putting another child at harm!)

Last edited by MDS0307; October 20th, 2009 at 02:53 PM.
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October 19th, 2009, 02:22 PM
Tammyjh's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: North
Posts: 7,824
As far as the boy with ODD, being expelled is fine in my book because he has shown that he can make the environment unsafe for staff and other students. Had he broken the rib of another child, being expelled would have probably been the least of his parents worries. It may sound cold but special needs does not trump the safety of others.
Tammy, Mom to
Abby (19), Kacie (13), Chase (11), & Jacob (7)

"...They're supposed to make you miserable! That's why they're family!" ~ Bobby ~ Supernatural
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