Okay, okay, I know I said spanking in school is fine by me, so long as it’s done within reason and the confines of a trusting relationship with a parent. But an administrator flat-out kicking a kid’s butt, Hulk Hogan-style? Now that’s just a bit much too much.
But that’s what happened to an autistic student at South Richmond High School in Staten Island, New York, after an assistant dean opened up a can of whoop you-know-what on young Brian Shane after he got into a shoving match with some other kids. According to his parents, the boy has been the subject of relentless bullying by other students (which I’m sure we all could’ve guessed). And now grown-ups are apparently getting in on the act.
Stats for the boy: 5’10”, 175 pounds. Stats for the big, bad dean: 6’2”, 400 pounds (although I gotta say, even though I haven’t seen a picture of the guy, that seems like an exaggerated estimate. He’s sure enough in the wrong line of business for a man of his stature if those numbers are accurate and he’s got the agility to pull off the Pile Driver).
At any rate, 15-year-old Brian is now in a wheelchair and “extreme pain” with a double leg fracture, and the wannabe wrestler cum secondary school educator is in potentially hot water for his dummy move. As he well should be.
If a teacher, principal, guidance counselor — heck, even a cafeteria lady or a janitor — sees some kids squabbling and goes in to break it up, the rule of thumb is that the child should never come out more injured than they would have if the adult had let the fight continue in the first place. What in the blazing hell was this man thinking when he, according to the boy’s dad, "grabbed Brian around the chest and wrapped his leg around Brian’s leg. They both flew backward in what my son said was like an Ultimate Wrestling move."
Can we talk about excessive force? On an autistic kid, albeit a highly functioning one? No child should get this treatment.
Truth be told, the dean would’ve been dead wrong if he would’ve choked out one of the bullies, considering he’s playing Andre the doggone Giant to their piddly little adolescent frames. But no way, no how does any corrective measure on school grounds require a grown man to toss a kid to the ground in a manner that calls to mind techniques borrowed from Monday Night Raw.
To make matters worse, the battered victim and his parents were given the cold shoulder by the school itself and the larger administration when they reported the incident to the principal. A request to transfer to another school has also been denied by the Holy Grail of School-Related Mishaps — the local Department of Education — which means Brian not only has to fear the kids who tease him mercilessly, he has to keep an eye out for adults abusing their authority and the system that will inevitably back them.
So what would you do if this were your child? Would you wage a court battle for damages? Would you move out of the district that failed to defend your kid’s honor? Or would you add it to the pool of greater lessons that your autistic child has to learn about life with a disability?
Image via simononly/Flickr