Teacher Makes Autistic Teen Beat Himself Up

Jeanne Sager
Tweens & Teens
10

handI thought teachers being allowed to spank their students was bad enough. But a teacher at a school for autistic kids skirted the rules to do something even worse. She didn't hit a child with her hands or a paddle.

Nah, Margaret Boyett allegedly used the teenager's OWN HAND to smack him around. I'd be impressed with her craftiness if I weren't so disgusted by what she did. Because if it isn't bad enough that a teacher would raise a hand to a child, I think that applies doubly to kids with special needs ... including a teen on the spectrum.

Boyett allegedly got so angry with the 13-year-old that she was first restrained by another adult in the classroom, who kept her from attacking him outright. So she opted for making the kid beat himself up.

Listen, I get it. Kids are frustrating. My daughter doesn't have autism, and there are days it takes a lot of willpower to keep my temper under control. She does the normal "kid thing," whereby she tests limits by being 100 percent obtuse. I'm not suggesting a kid like her deserves a smack. They've succeeded when they know they've gotten to you -- it's the law of "there's no such thing as bad attention."

But kids on the spectrum are different. With brains that are wired differently (and depending on WHERE they fall on the spectrum), the child with autism is more likely to be having trouble with social cues than to be purposely acting "obtuse." What might require some form of (non-corporal) discipline in a child who isn't on the spectrum is not necessarily a disciplinary issue with a kid on the spectrum. As the folks at Autism Speaks explain:

Without the ability to interpret gestures and facial expressions, the social world may seem bewildering. To compound the problem, people with autism have difficulty seeing things from another person's perspective.

In other words, they're not trying to piss you off. They're just being THEM! And a special education teacher at a school for children with autism should understand that.

Heck, I expect adults to understand that. Any adult. A close friend was working as a waitress when she was spanked by an autistic teen. She let it go specifically because he was autistic. If she can do it, a teacher can too.

Do you have any respect for this teacher?

 

Image via Bidrohi>H!ROK</Flickr

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