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School punishmont too harsh for childron
September 21, 2012
Would public schools punish students using methods that could
severely harm them? It seems so.
Seclusion rooms were originally used to calm down an angry or
violent child, preventing them from hurting themselves or others.
But recently public schools have used this method
as a form of punishment, a practice that damages
children and is unregulated in many places.
It comes as a shock that such forms of
punishment are used in this day and age,
especially when the harm they cause is so clear.
While seclusion rooms may be necessary in
extreme cases, where a child has become a threat
to their own or others' safety, schools should not
use them to discipline students.
The New York Times reporter Bill Lichtenstein
told of how, after noticing strange behavior in his
daughter Rose, he was one day called to the school
to find her locked in a closet for misbehavior. It
had become a regular experience for the child, and
six years later, she still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder
because of it.
Rose is not alone. A study in Ohio found that out of 100 school
districts, 39 of them had unregulated seclusion rooms — 40 percent
of the schools. In fact, about 20 states have no rules for them at all.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, of 40,000
students who were isolated or restrained in some way, the majority
developed physical, learning or behavioral issues.
How could using something often labeled "scream rooms"
become an ordinary practice? Lack of regulations appears to be the
bulk of the issue.
The seclusion method began in schools for students with special
needs as a safety precaution, but in the 1970s, it slowly slid into
public schools as well.
The slow transition left schools to monitor these methods
themselves. With individual districts and sometimes even single
teachers governing their use, faculty in many schools would abuse
it to punish students.
Locking a child in an enclosed space is easier than other forms of
discipline. It is quick and doesn't require a teacher to deal with him
or her for longer than they have to, giving it appeal to those who are
willing to do it.
Anything that can emotionally harm children in such a way needs
to be prevented, and the only thing that can truly stop this offense
is legislation, whether it be from individual states or from Congress.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act was presented to Congress in
December 2011. It would protect all students from harmful and life-
threatening seclusion or restraint methods. But Congress referred
the bill to a committee, and no results are expected from it any time
So the responsibility of ending this may very well fall to individual
states. Iowa has already amended its laws, requiring parental
permission and training in order to use seclusion and restraint.
While other states are doing the same, it is still vital for seclusion
and restraint methods to be restricted and heavily monitored in
schools. Difficult as a student may be to deal with, no teacher has
the right to abuse them with these practices.
Hopefully in the near future schools will eliminate this destructive
Alzheimer’s: would you want to know?
BY MCCAFFREY BLAUNER
On the good days, she could remember
my name. Some days I was Tom, her son
she hadn't seen in years, and other days
she didn't know me at all. On the good
days, she knew where she was, and talked
with me, my mother and my little brother.
On the bad days, she would weep and
her Eastern European nurse would kindly
usher us out of the room, smiling sadly.
Alzheimer's ate my grandmother
alive. Bit by bit, the woman I had known
receded, replaced by a different person
who could do little but stare out at the
world with glassy-eyed, childlike
confusion. It was strange, but she
was old and it was understood
that this was simply a facet of the
aging process, albeit a dark one.
It never occurred to me that,
decades earlier, she might have
had some premonition of what
was to come. Perhaps she had
seen her own parents go down
a similar path. Perhaps not.
Perhaps it had come upon
her with the swiftness of
nightfall, as her memories
faded and she had no time to
feel the terror of encroaching
On April 6, 2012, the FDA
approved an early-detection tool
developed by the pharmaceutical
company Eli Lily, that will be able
to test for Alzheimer's disease,
indicating plaques in the brains of
patients who seem to be exhibiting
early signs of the disease. The
process works by tagging certain
proteins, whose presence might indicate
Alzheimer's, with a radioactive dye
called florbetapir F 18, which can then be
detected in positron emission tomography
The question that occurs then is: would
you want to know?
For some, early detection offers a host
of complications. In some cases, patients
whose diagnoses have been confirmed
have experienced severe depression
and anxiety while
entirely asymptomatic. Others argue,
given that no cure for Alzheimer's exists,
knowledge of one's own prognosis does
little for the patient in question.
In my own case, I can say with some
certainty that I would want to know.
It is no simple or easy thing to know
of your own coming decline, but I would
rather have some warning than to be
suddenly overtaken by this debilitating
disease. Then, at least, knowing that your
days of complete cognition are numbered,
you might put some value on the "good"
days you have.
Perhaps if more of the population
> was made aware of their impending
fates, there might be more support
for pharmaceutical companies
to find a definitive treatment
for this disease. With prior
knowledge, one might be
able to stave off the eventual
decline by prioritizing a
healthy lifestyle and taking
supplements like folic acid,
fish oil and vitamin B12,
known to help decrease
the chances of developing
Finally, I would hope that if
any loved one of mine were at
risk for developing this awful
ailment, they might confirm it
through this test. I would hope
that — though this knowledge
might weigh heavily on them — it
would allow them to treasure the
time they have left, and inspire me to
place the same value on my time. And
perhaps that it might allow them
the opportunity — or even inspire
them — to engage in preventative
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