4-Year-Old Forced to Stand Outside In Freezing Weather With No Snowsuit as 'Punishment'

snowsuit kidWhat person in their right mind would punish a 4-year-old child by making him stand outside in the freezing cold with no snowsuit? (In North Dakota, no less?) Or, more accurately, what 3 people in their right minds would do such a thing? Apparently 3 teachers at a YMCA Learning Center in Fargo did exactly that to one of their students. And they might've gotten away with it, too, if a classmate's parent hadn't happened to notice the little boy standing on the playground shivering (temperatures were only in the mid-teens that day!). When she asked him what he was doing outside without his coat, he told her he was "being punished." Horrified, the parent immediately called the police.

When questioned, the teachers said they were "having trouble getting the child to put on his outdoor apparel, so they took the child and his clothes outside and 'had him stand on his snowsuit and were waiting for him to be ready to put it on.'"

How long were they going to wait?! Until the poor kid's fingers were frostbitten?? And why would they be so cruel in the first place? Look, I know perfectly well how stubborn little kids can be about not wanting to bundle up -- but cajoling toddlers into snowsuits and mittens comes with the caretaking territory. In this situation, the solution could have been very simple: Keep the kid indoors with one of the teachers while the rest of the class plays outside. That way he would "learn his lesson" without freezing his poor little face off. Why didn't that occur to any of those teachers?

The 3 teachers involved have been suspended (not fired?!) as the YMCA insists: "Our policy specifically states that we do not use any kind of punishment that would take away warmth, food, sleep, that kind of thing." But as a parent, what really bothers me is the fact that these teachers were hired in the first place. We're supposed to be able to put our trust in the people who are paid to teach and take care of our kids ... sometimes, unfortunately, they don't deserve our trust.

What would you do if this happened to your kid?


Image via Jean Pinchot/Flickr

in the news, safety, nursery school


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mande... manderspanders

If my kid were being that stubborn, I can't say that I wouldn't do the same thing.  It isn't like he didn't have warm clothing...his snowsuit was right there, all he had to do was put it on.  The teachers should have been watching him, and making sure he didn't stand out there for too long; but other than that, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire for kids to learn the lesson.

LostS... LostSoul88

If he wouldn't put it on then don't allow him to go outside with the other children1 Don't risk getting him severally sick! How is that they can do that and not get hit with child abuse.child endangerment but if I did that I would be charged? Fucking BS. They need to be fired. 

mande... manderspanders

Maybe he didn't want to go outside? So by refusing to put on his warm gear and letting him stay inside, he gets what he wants and it reinforces stubborn/defiant behavior.  The kids don't make the rules, the adults do.  What we don't know is a) how long was he out there (which the length of time would determine to me if it were indeed child endangerment) and b) if this was a recurrent problem for him.  If this was a recurrent problem, then he did need to learn WHY he needed to warm his warm snow suit.  I'll bet this kid never refuses to put it on again.

Angelique Jarvis

it's horrible thing to do to a child but now a days they put people in charge of places and schools that care more about how they look then the care of our children

Deneen Jardine-Bussear

Why were they outside playing any ways If it's cold enough for a snowsuit its to cold to be playing outside

Tina Prather

find new day care and punish them teachers

Adele Maye Carpenter

manderspanders are you a parent???? i hope not cause your kid/kids need to be taken from you now.... if somecaregiver did the to my kid they would be wishing they were never born.

Becky Freeman

I think it's messed up for a teacher or a parent to do something so cruel to a child. It's one thing to teach a child a lesson, but not at the expense of the child's safety or well being. I am happy to hear that the parent of the other student was not a pushover and took immediate action. God help the "adult" that ever tries to pull something so stupid on my child!! Kids have tantrums and act stubborn and that is no excuse for the grown up's common sense to go out the window.

Ann-Annie Parks Heck

okay, kids do not think like adults--I would have made the kid put it on. I had a kid who hated to be bundled up & be hot but the minute he was cold, he was miserable too. You don't punish a child for thinking like a child--adults should look out for a kid's best interest--geez, how cruel

nonmember avatar Abc mom

That poor baby! My 6yo is autistic and HATED his coat last year! We couldn't figure out why he wouldn't wear it. Because if the autism, the fabric was to hard in his skin and he couldn't tell us. I would fire these people in a heart beat and make sure they never work with children again!

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