A Lot Of Nerve

I have a 6-year-old daughter with Asperger’s, so when I read an article online about a teacher in West Virginia who put an autistic student in a cardboard box labeled “bad kid fort,” I figured I had to share my opinion.

That teacher had a lot of nerve.  For someone who chose to enter a profession where they may have to interact with students who are not like them or their children, it is my opinion that this teacher chose the wrong profession.  I can say, without fail, that if that were to ever happen to my daughter, I would be at the school in a heartbeat, and there most certainly would be a “come to Jesus meeting” with the teacher and school administration.  And it would not be pretty for the teacher who showed such ignorance, either.

The discipline, which went against everything outlined in the discipline section of this student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), was uncalled for, whether or not it was doled out to an autistic student or a non-autistic student.  To say it was merely poor judgement is not a fair assessment.  If my wife or I did that to our daughter in a public setting, child services would be at our door that same evening investigating us for child abuse.

The principal of the school is not much better than the teacher, at least from judging his response to the matter:

“She was attempting to deal with a difficult situation in class.  We put teachers in these situations where they have not had a lot of training.  She was doing the best with the skill set she had.”

What does that even mean, “she was doing the best with the skill set she had?”  Does it mean that they hire teachers who do not possess a skill set that includes common sense and basic respect for human dignity?

Reading the article made my blood boil without a doubt.  It is the type of behavior demonstrated by the teacher, and the nonchalant “who cares?” attitude from the principal that makes parents wary of people as a whole.  It is beyond comprehension why this teacher is still employed, or has not been at least been suspended.  Being ignorant of conditions like autism is not an excuse or free pass to treat people on the spectrum like they are pieces of garbage.  I am beyond happy that my daughter is in a school where the teachers and administration care, and where they teach the other students to care about each other; yes, there may come a time where we have to deal with some sort of issue or another, but I am confident that we can work with the school if something were to ever come up.


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