What 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