Indiana moves to protect teachers...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by cheeryteacher, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 12, 2008

    There's a proposal in Indiana to protect teachers from lawsuits when they have to use physical force to break up fights, maintain order in the classroom, or protect other students from harm. I'm in favor of it, especially after seeing videos of teachers getting beaten and feeling like they had to sit there and take it (I'm not saying go blow to blow with any kid, but teachers should have the right to defend themselves, and if in dire circumstances you should be able to defend yourself). What do you guys think.
    http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080812/NEWS07/808120313/1002/LOCAL
     
  2.  
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Aug 12, 2008

    I didn't read the whole article, but I don't think physical force should ever be used to "maintain order in the classroom."
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 12, 2008

    I agree, but if you are attacked you have every right to defend yourself.
     
  5. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    When students are fighting, they need to be separated. The article mentioned a lawsuit about that very issue. I have also personally witnessed children biting and hitting their teacher. It required physical force to get them to stop (pulling them away). I think this is a great proposal. It is not saying anything goes or that a teacher can smack a kid in the mouth or can even paddle a kid. Unfortunately, some children get physical and need to be removed. A teacher or administrator shouldn't be sued for that.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Aug 12, 2008

    I think that teachers need to learn how to handle things without getting physical. There are programs/trainings like CPI and MAB which teach a person how to handle aggressive behaviors in a non-violent way. I myself was trained in MAB (the Non-Violent Management of Aggressive Behaviors), and I used those techniques very frequently when I worked at an inpatient psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents just before getting my current teaching position.

    It seems to me that most cases of aggressive behavior can and should be handled with de-escalation techniques as a first resort and physical restraint as a last. I do not believe that regular, untrained staff should have any part in physical restraint because of the possibility that they might inadvertently harm a student in the process.

    Every school/district should have policies in place regarding who can touch students, to what degree, and for what purpose. If such policies are in place, followed, and documented, then there should be no grounds for a lawsuit from parents.
     
  7. SarahJ

    SarahJ Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    I think teachers should be able to protect themselves. Just the other day I had to physically restrain a kinder aged child because he was hurting others. I had to wrap my arms around him and use my body weight to keep him still. But I didn't shout. I tried to calm him down and took him out of the class, but still, this happens almost every day and takes 1 - 2 teachers to pull him off other kids and he hits, kicks, bites etc teachers as well.
     
  8. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    I know of a first grader at my school who attacked her teacher last year. According to the witnesses, nothing provoked it. It took 3 adults to get her off the teacher. What should they have done? I can't see what else except get her off the teacher.
     
  9. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 12, 2008

    Sarah J and cmorris, this is exactly what I think the proposal will protect. I had to remove a 150 lb 2nd from my class who threw a tantrum, closed his eyes, and start wildly swinging his fists and turning in circles. His mom was mad because "no one should put their hands on her kids." At the time I was thinking about getting the kid away from all of the other kids. Law suits are brought up much to frivolously when teachers are justified in physically touching the child to insure the safety of others.
     
  10. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 12, 2008

    And I'm sure most of us have seen that video of the high school student who had the teacher on the ground and was beating her. That should never be allowed to happen! We have the right to defend ourselves.
     
  11. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 12, 2008

    I got the "maintain order in the classroom" line from the article. From what I read about the proposal it means to remove a child from class before they hurt anyone. I don't know if you would have to deal with that in high school, but I know a bunch of elementary kids who have thrown tantrums and start swinging and the teacher or principal has to either restrain them or get them out of class to protect the other students, and themselves.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 12, 2008

    Cassie, I both agree and disagree with you. I totally agree that non-physical methods by trained people should be the first line of defense in a potentially violent situation. That is something for which we need to concentrate time and effort into training; however, there are times when a teacher needs to be allowed to defend themselves. There have been lawsuits against a teacher who did nothing more than block a punch. I myself spent several anxious weeks after a student attacked me and I responded instictually by throwing my arm up to deflect the punch aiming for my face. Thank God my P was there and it was all caught on video, but I was terrified that I would be accused of wrong doing. That's the thing that I hope Indiana is addressing. If that's the case, then the incedents that would be covered should be few and far between.
     
  13. Chas

    Chas Rookie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    The line in the article is being taken out of context. The line reads, "legal immunity for good-faith actions taken to maintain order in their classroom".

    If the teacher acts negligently, or with ill intentions, they are not covered by the act.
     
  14. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    Exactly.
     
  15. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 12, 2008

    HA! Come spend a day in my class where a student will grab your neck out of the blue and try choking you...or if you block, then run to the nearest classmate and try the same thing. Granted I work with moderate/severe students and many of whom are severely autistic, but I "use force" daily. I do what it takes to keep the other kids from being hurt, and I don't think there is a thing wrong with it. I do not smack kids around. I have been trained in not 1, but three different programs for physical restraints. And yes, I've had the police called on me for "abusing" poor little Susie---I was holding her hands to keep her from slapping me. When is self-defense is abuse? You bet your a$$ that if the same child did the same thing (spit in someone's face, then start slapping them when they ignored her) in the middle of Wal-Mart, then the cops would be called and NOT for the person who had been slapped either! Ugh! This whole thing is ridiculus--we are supposed to let the kids beat us to a bloody pulp? We can't stop a child from attacking another child? AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGG!
     
  16. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 12, 2008

    Just as a post note, when the children are escalating, I do all of the prevention and de-escalating I can, but today the child who attacked another child was sitting quietly and suddenly jumped up and scratched his aide, then ran over and grabbed the other student. There was nothing to de-escalate!
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Aug 12, 2008



    Trinda, you actually proved my point. I said that teachers should be trained in that sort of thing. But if they're not, they should not touch a student except to remove them from imminent physical harm, like a fire or something.
     
  18. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,214
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    As an Indiana teacher I like this new legislation. It feels like parents are out to get teachers nowadays.
     
  19. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 12, 2008

    Yes it does!
     
  20. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    I have not been trained, so what should someone like me do in a situation like that? We do inclusion at my school, so I have children that act out like that on occassion.
     
  21. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 12, 2008

    Ask your counselor or principal about getting training for restraints. If they don't know, they'll know who to get in touch with to find out. Make sure you are part of the union---believe me it helps! Document every incident in detail with what was going on before the behavior, what caused the behavior and the consequence the child received because of the behavior. That saved my butt when the parent called the police on me.
     
  22. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    The kids are out to get the teachers too. We have had many kids do things to teachers physically,mentally and make up things about the teachers and nothing is done. Teachers are hurt, other students are hurt and the offender nothing happens to that person and they know nothing will happen to them no matter what they do. Just listening to the news tells us kids are out of control, at least here in central IN. They believe they are untouchable, unstoppable and above the law. Whether or not the Gov will follow through or it is just a ploy in an election year remains to be seen.
     
  23. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    My school won't provide training to teachers, only administrators. But they tell us to restrain kids if necessary, like the one that physically attacked a teacher unprovoked. But I am part of a union!
     
  24. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 12, 2008

    I work in the same district as that video. It helped to shed some light on what the schools in my area go through. There have been many times that I have had to break up fights and it takes strength at times to make that happen. I shouldn't have to worry about frivolous lawsuits because someone's child was unable to control themselves and not get violent towards me. Deescalation is nice but that doesn't necessarily work when students are beating each other's brains out. Additionally, my district's budget is sooo tight, who is going to pay for restraint training? In an ideal world, teachers wouldn't have to use any type of force to defend themselves or their students but I don't personally live in an ideal world. Luckily, the parents in my school's neighborhood know their children are miscreants involved in gangs and everything else. Perfect example: I had to remove a student, who (has been retained twice) looks more like a woman than I do and has a bit of weight to her, off of a student who was maybe 100 pounds. I watched her sucker punch the student when she was trying to walk away from the situation (this was outside, afterschool) and essentially pick her up and throw her on a set of stairs. She then proceeded to pummel her in the head while pushing her body into the stairs. Mind you, this all happened extremely fast and I had to run a distance just to get there to stop this fight. Since the aggressor is close to my weight and height (I'm 5'11), I had to use my strength to get her off of the student. I literally had to push the student away from the other child because she was not stopping. There was no way that I was going to allow this student to simply beat the other child's brains out.

    Restraint training is ideal for some schools but not all. It's hard to utilize deescalation strategies when you're competing with students who want to be on The Wire because it's being filmed right outside the classroom in their neighborhood. That's where I work and the challenges my school faces. Just my:2cents:
     
  25. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2008

    The classroom, halls, lunch, playground, bathroom, etc are fighting grounds, we intervene more than actually teach. Anything can set a kids off, literally.
     
  26. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 13, 2008

    Sstager, your district is a prime example of why I disagree with Cassie. You can't just watch a fight and not break it up, or let a kid that's as big as or bigger than you beat you up. Schools just can't afford to send everyone to defensive training, but situations are going to arise where you need to step in for the safety of others. The aggressor shouldn't be able to sue you because you were trying to break up a fight.
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Aug 13, 2008

    Look, you guys can touch kids all you want. Obviously some of you are going to do it anyway, even though I think it's a terrible idea in almost every instance. All I can do is tell you that I strongly caution against it unless you have received appropriate training and authorization from your district to do so.

    In my district, any restraint on a student by a teacher or staff member is inappropriate and illegal, unless there are very specific circumstances or a doctor's orders in an IEP.

    I'm not about to get myself fired, and I urge you all to adopt a similar mindset.

    By the way, I do believe that there is a difference between stepping into the middle of a fight and using your body to deflect blows away from another student (seriously, how much does it hurt to have a 5-year-old punch you?) and actually holding a student back. When you cross that line, you've probably just stepped into illegal territory.
     
  28. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 13, 2008

    You are right that the kids are out to get you. I put a kid in time out for throwing a pencil and he started kicking and screaming that he would tell his mom and she was gonna call the police on me and then I'd get fired. He was a first grader!

    I'm not going to sit there and watch my kiddos grab, pinch or scratch another child. I will restrain him, her or it. And Cassie, you are definitely welcome to come to my class and see how much it hurts when a 5 year old lashes out. I've had massive bruises, scars from scratches, black eyes, and a concussion when a so-called innocent child (oh, he was 7) decided to "show the white cracker who's the boss." This is simply a topic that we'll have to agree to disagree on.
     
  29. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 13, 2008

    Why would even breaking up a fight be illegal? If you saw someone getting beat up on the street and stopped to help you would be a hero. What do you guys do if a fight breaks out, sit and watch until security or something comes? I'm not criticizing, because it's obvious that the rules are very different where we teach. I'm just wondering how you can sit and watch someone get beat or let someone beat up on you and not do something. Does your district pay to send everyone to training?
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Aug 13, 2008


    I believe that ARE rare circumstances which would require physical interaction between student and teacher. I've had to pull middle school students apart who were fighting - even though I don't think I should have to put myself in harm's way. In response to your comment, though, I just wanted to remind us all that using physical force is NOT the same as being aggressive.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Aug 13, 2008

    It's illegal to restrain students without a doctor's orders or it being in the IEP. The possibility of hurting a student unintentionally is so great, especially when you aren't trained, that many/most districts have just decided to not allow any sort of physical or mechanical restraint. In my district, you have to watch a video every year about physical and mechanical restraints and how basically you're not allowed to do them. Those are the rules.

    Contrary to whatever opinions some of you might have, I don't just sit around and watch fights happen. I haven't ever had a fight in my room because, thankfully, I've been able to apply de-escalation techniques before a situation has progressed that far. In the event that a fight were to break out, I would, per my training, remove other students from the vicinity by verbally ordering them to leave, and then I would call for help using my phone, panic button, or by sending another kid to notify a nearby teacher about the situation. Once that happens, school police and administrators would come to my room and break up the fight or handle it however they have been trained to do.

    Finally, I do know what it's like to be hit, punched, scratched at, and spit at by an angry child. Remember that prior to teaching I worked on the crisis intervention team at an inpatient psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents. Per our training there (MAB), we learned how to apply de-escalation techniques, appropriately and legally use physical and mechanical restraints, and deflect punches with our bodies. I was hit many, many times there while applying a restraint (at doctor's orders). I was never hurt seriously because I knew how to use my body in such a way as to avoid being hurt--I learned how to get out of headlocks, how to take a punch to the face/body, and, most importantly, how to position my body during a hold so that I wouldn't be as accessible in the first place. I learned how to do all that in my MAB trainings. Most teachers don't know how to do that, and they end up getting hurt themselves while trying to break up fights and handle other situations using physical force.

    That's why I don't think teachers should try to use physical restraint techniques until they've been properly trained--they could hurt kids and they could get hurt themselves.
     
  32. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,483
    Likes Received:
    204

    Aug 13, 2008

    But suppose that in the time it takes for the principal or the school police to get there one of the kids gets hurt in the fight. Wouldn't you run the risk of getting sued by the parents of the kid who got hurt in the fight because you "didn't do anything?"
     
  33. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Aug 13, 2008

    If you tell them to stop fighting, your legal bases are covered. It's up to them to comply with your request--if they don't, it's called insubordination.
     
  34. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 14, 2008

    I don't know... he is talking about two different things in this article. I agree that if I have to grab a kid's arm or shove them to break up a fight, or knock them down on the ground and hold them down, I shouldn't get in trouble for that.

    But he also mentions forcing kids to do push ups for misbehavior... That's corporal punishment. It's a totally different issue. I also take issue with taking something we want kids to love (exercise, reading, writing) and turning it into a punishment.
     
  35. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 14, 2008

    My legal bases might be covered by I couldn't live with myself if I let some poor little kid get pounded on if they were to the point of being seriously hurt.
     
  36. lupin43

    lupin43 Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    My school has many fights. Last year the kids created "squads" based on teaming and fought for power. We had 19 fights one month alone. The one that stands out in my head was one the bleachers. I ran up (they were 8th grade), I realized I couldn't do anything, but get the other kids away and wait for security. Too late. The fighters threw each other down and rolled down the bleachers knocking me backwards. My leg went under the bleachers and stopped our fall as well as the fall of the other teacher and principal they took down with them. The strangest and worst part was THEY KEPT FIGHTING. It took two security guards (the two the school have), the principal once he regained balance and another teacher to pull these boys off of me.

    After the fight nearby students told me I was hitting them. I did not realize it, but I was laying upside-down on the bleachers with a fight on top of me. Once the fight was over I was taken out of the gym by wheelchair. Luckily I only really sprained my ankle and bruised my back. I was limped with a brace for three weeks and screamed when anyone touched my back. The boys were suspended for 10 days. (maximum)

    I was scared that something would happen to me for being "in" the fight. I am thrilled to say that the school district is pressing assault charges on the boys. Only one apologized afterwards. One boy's mother feels this is somehow our fault.

    It is very likely that the other adults in this fight used force to both get the boys off as well as getting other students out of the way. It would be terrible for any of them to be sued for that reason. I am in favor of this idea to protect teachers when using necessary force.
     
  37. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 14, 2008

    And even then it was in gym class. So who knows if this part was taken out of context. I've had parents suggest having their kids do push ups when they misbehave. At that point I just kind of smiled, nodded and moved on.
     
  38. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 14, 2008

    The problem with any de-escalation & restraint training is that you are taught the perfect, textbook example. I've been trained in CPI, PCM and TEAM. The thing is, when you're taught to do a hold you practice on an adult who complies with every order. Say, if you are practicing a bite release, the practice is for the "biter" to be biting your forearm with their back to your chest and you gently press your arm to their mouth and pinch their nose closed so they have to release to breathe. What you get in reality, is a child biting you anywhere but your forearm, hitting & kicking and twisting his head so as you "gently pinch" the nose, it's getting twisted around (maybe broken), his lips are getting mashed and chewed up, and maybe even his tooth is getting knocked out. The parents aren't going to see your bloody sore arm, leg, hip, or belly. They are going to see that Johnnie is all beat up and not that he caused it himself by fighting your release from the bite. And I checked, it does not cover you legally to say "stop it" when one child is stabbing another with scissors and wait for security, the principal etc. Teachers are expected to take "reasonable measures" to ensure the safety of the students. It is not considered "reasonable" to stand there and say stop. This is from our safety director. Teachers are held to a higher standard than the average Joe Blow.
     
  39. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    The way I see it, it's a catch 22. If I do step into the middle of a fight, I'm wrong for using my body to stop it and can be sued. If I don't step in, I'm really wrong for allowing some child to get beat to a pulp. In the situation I listed before, there was NO way that I would have allowed that fight to continue and that child to be hurt. Like I said before, while your techniques may work for you, they don't work for everyone. Oh, I'm usually breaking up fights between teenagers, not 5 year olds.
     
  40. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.
     
  41. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 15, 2008

    That's why teachers need reasonable protections. As it is, Cassie is entirely correct, imo, at least from a legal stand point. People have gotten so sue happy that I don't blame her in the least for her stance in this debate. Now, keep in mind, Cassie works in the inner city. She knows very well how violent kids (teenagers in her case) can be. She is also very aware of the very real threat of being sued and held accountable, even if she is acting soley in defense of herself or an innocent student. She's very much a realist, and, unfortunately, as it stands, stepping in to break up a fight, or even defend yourself agains a student is setting yourself up for a lawsuit. That is what is so very morally wrong. We should be able to reasonably protect ourselves and other students. There should be very clear guidelines as to what that means, in order to prevent the pendulum from swinging the other way, but there should be SOMETHING that protects teachers acting on instinct in an already violent situation.

    I think the social situation needs to change. A teacher should be able to defend him or herself and take reasonable measures to protect their students. The fact that it has gotten to the point that many teachers feel as cassie does, even when harm to an innocent person is inevitable, refects poorly not on cassie, and other teachers like her, but on our society as a whole. We need to address the socital problems that make these types of discussions even necsacary (sp?, it's late, sorry).
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Guitart,
  2. miss-m
Total: 201 (members: 3, guests: 174, robots: 24)
test