12 January 2012

Skool Daze

Two items in the Drudge roundup today caught my homeschool Dad eye.  I share them with you.

First comes a story from a New York state high school about a mysterious disorder that has 12 female students exhibiting Tourette's Syndrome-like symptoms.  From the full story: 

[Health officials] have ruled out all environmental factors, infections and the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has been consulted, along with Columbia University, as well as the Genesee County Health Department and the New York State Health Department.

Dr. Young said tics like this can be caused by genetics, head trauma, drugs (all students tested negative), antihistamines, and drugs for ADHD and OCD. They said cases like this have been seen nationwide and they come and go in individuals. They add it's not uncommon to see them in waves as stress and anxiety exacerbate them.

Symptoms in these kids are "significant" according to officials, and they add they do not believe the students are making the illness up. 

The first comment on the story asked the question that had occurred to me:  Did these girls receive a Gardasil vaccine?  It is just so weird.  Even the article lists ADHD drugs as a possible cause of such symptoms.  But of course--and I would like to emphasized this fact-- this is rank speculation at this point.  I would love to see a follow up as (hopefully) answers come.

The second story involves a government elementary school in Connecticut that lives up to the "prison-school" epithet.  This school has parents outraged over its practice of locking nonconforming students into unsupervised rooms, where some have injured themselves and/or engaged in Lord of the Flies-type behavior.  They are called by some there "Scream Rooms".  From the full story: 

“My daughter is telling me that there’s kids being taken out in ambulances, by stretcher,” parent Sean Archer told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday.

Disturbing allegations have surfaced of teachers locking students in closet-sized concrete “scream rooms” for punishment.

“Kids come home and they cry, because they’re afraid to go to school. And it’s often,” parent Brian Robillard said.

“She can hear the kids screaming at the top of their lungs, while she’s trying to read and she asks her teacher what’s going on and they never give her an answer. They tell her to ignore it,” said Liz Archer, the sister of one Farm Hill student.

Parents said their children have witnessed teachers placing unruly students into the tiny “time-out” rooms to calm down.

“From what I heard it’s more traumatizing for the child than it was as a help,” parent Jeff Daniels said. “Kids were hitting their heads on the concrete wall. Kids were urinating in the room.”

School Superintendent Michael Freschette said allegations of children harming themselves in the timeout rooms are not true. However, the Board of Education is investigating. The chairman spoke to CBS 2’s Sanchez by phone Wednesday night.

“We certainly are concerned with these allegations and I’m looking into every single one of them to be certain that our staff is providing a safe environment for our students,” Gene Nocera said.

Two “time-out” rooms were implemented two years ago for special needs students. But with growing community concern about their use, the school district drafted a new support plan to deal with students who act up.


The state Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and the state Child Advocate are now investigating the school’s use of “time-out” rooms. 

Why, again, do parents put up with this?  I also find it interesting that this type of discipline began as a strategy to deal with special needs students.  I can't imagine how I would react if my child were imprisoned as a form of punishment; if my child had some disability and this happened, my outrage would be 50 times greater.  These are grade school students.  Where are the adults with any common sense?


Caring Mom said...

Time out? I think they call that solitary confinement. And schools think spanking children is so cruel that they outlawed that?

Anonymous said...

From a college/high schoool student perspective, EVERYONE pops Adderall, a medication used for ADD/ADHD, like candy.

With increased use of the internet, focusing on one subject for an extended period of time is becoming more and more difficult, and ADD/ADHD meds solve that problem.