Corporal punishment IS physical and emotional abuse! … Arresting students in our schools traumatizes the student being arrested and the students witnessing the arrest.
By Gordon Davis
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts recently ruled that a couple who disciplined their child using corporal punishment could not be foster parents.
The couple argued that they would not used corporal punishment on the foster children, but only their biological children. This argument was rejected by the Court.
The Court based its ruling affirmed the decision of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) that the foster parents use of corporal punishment on foster children who have likely suffered traumas of abuse or neglect was potentially harmful. It also ruled that even if the foster parents did not use corporal punishment on the foster children, their use of corporal punishment on their biological children could be emotionally upsetting to the foster children.
“… that children placed by the department have been exposed to an array of neglect and abuse, and their awareness of acts of corporal punishment in their foster homes “could well trigger the very trauma the placement was intended to mitigate.” The hearing officer stated that the department could not simply place with the Magazus a child who had not been physically abused because foster children often do not disclose the full extent of their experiences until after being placed in substitute care. Moreover, she continued, the Magazus’ willingness to refrain from using corporal punishment on a 9 foster child did not alleviate the department’s concerns regarding the discipline of such child postadoption, when the child would no longer be under the purview of the department”
The Worcester Public Schools are legally similar to foster parents.
They are parentis in loco which means that the schools have the same parental responsibilities as biological parents, foster parents and guardians when the children are at school.
Corporal punishment is not allowed at the Worcester Public Schools with the exception of the use of police force. The use of police force and arrest is traumatic and emotionally upsetting. Yet it is increasingly being used in the Worcester Public Schools for non-emergency matters such as school discipline which is covered by Chap. 222 of the Acts. 2012.
Robert L. Simon M. D. has written: “False arrest and imprisonment can be an extraordinarily traumatic event. The author’s evaluation of three cases, and a review of the recent forensic psychiatric literature and reported legal cases, clearly demonstrate that serious psychological impairment may follow false arrest and imprisonment. These cases are frequently litigated.“
Arrests made by the police for “disturbance and disorderly,” as defined in Chapter 222, are false arrests and imprisonment. These situations should be handled per the statutes by the Worcester Public Schools – administratively and not by falsely arresting and imprisoning children.
The number of arrests of students at Worcester Public Schools is higher than last academic year with at least two students arrested in our middle schools. A Worcester Public School official has stated most of the arrests have been for disturbances and disorderly, which are not crimes.
The Worcester Public Schools published an outdated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on December 18, 2015.
I am sorry to say that the MOU published on that date was a sham and a political stunt.
The MOU published is the outdated MOU which does not cover police being full-time in our schools, their duties and restrictions, their training, nor their chain of command (can a principal order a police officer to stand down?).
Dr. Rodrigues, acting superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools, said at a December 2015 meeting an updated MOU would not be available until after March of 2016 when there would be some sort of curriculum for the training of police in schools.
The facts are the following:
· the police in the schools have not been trained for being School Resource Officers, as there is no curriculum
· there is no clear description of the police duties and restrictions in the schools
· the police have not recognized that a principal of a school can make them stand down
· most of the arrests made in Worcester Public Schools are for non criminal events, which are more appropriately handled by school administrators
· there is evidence that police arresting children and children witnessing arrests cause trauma
At the December 17, 2015, Worcester School Committee meeting, Ms. Idella Hazard opposed cops being in schools as it sends the wrong message to our children, is potentially damaging, and the resources could be better spent.
Although she did not say that cops in the schools are a part of a racist school-to-jail policy, I believe that it is racist.
This is especially true as the Worcester School Committee is all white and the majority of the children in the Worcester Public Schools are not.