duct tapeWhen mom Natasha Crutchfield sent her 8-year-old son to school, she thought he'd be safe. He was going to SCHOOL. But then her son came home from his San Antonio, Texas school and told her he'd been duct-taped to a chair for three hours by a teacher who said he was too "rowdy."

Appropriate discipline? Not on your life. But what's a mom to do?

She wasn't there. She had to send her kid to school. And instead of being able to choose an appropriate course of action to correct her son's behavior, she had to rely on the school staff to do it.

It's what parents across the United States do every day. We pack our kids lunches, fill up their backpacks, and we load them on school buses, off to spend a day with other adults who we hope will treat them as we would.

Usually they do. Usually I agree if a teacher decides my kid should sit out five minutes of recess for forgetting to bring her homework home for the third time in a row or spend a few minutes with her head on her desk for talking too much in class.

But when the school does something I don't agree with wholeheartedly, it's hard to know just what to do. If I don't stick up for her, then I've failed her. But if I raise a ruckus, what message am I sending her about respect for authority, for other adults who DO have to discipline her when I'm not around?

Take what happened to Natasha Crutchfield's son.

Clearly, a child should not be duct taped to a chair for any amount of time. That little boy should have felt it was OK to pull the tape off, get up, and walk to an administrator's office to report her for doing something wrong.

It's not his fault that he didn't, nor is it his mom's. It's impossible to prepare our kids for every eventuality.

We try to teach our kids that they need to respect their elders, but we also have to teach them that their elders aren't always right, that sometimes it's OK to disobey their elders.

This is the fine line you walk both before and after a situation akin to the Crutchfields. Because now this mom has to raise a stink, has to get the Judson Independent School District to do something about a teacher who duct tapes kids to chairs so that her kid knows she's got his back, while still teaching her son to respect OTHER teachers.

It's not for the faint of heart. But good for her for sticking up for her kid. He's just a little boy ... and he needs her help.

Have you ever had to complain when a school staffer disciplined your child too harshly? What did you do about it?

 

Image by Jeanne Sager