Frustrated child needs help to learn appropriate behavior
Letters to the Editor
Published April 26, 2005
Re: The 5-year-old who was handcuffed.
I cried when I read this article. I feel that if three law-enforcement officers cannot find a more appropriate way to interact with a kindergarten child, (unless she had a gun) they are in the wrong career.
And if the school officials had a problem with the child previously, why did they not do some socializing with her before the escalation was repeated? She appears to be very frustrated. I applaud the efforts of the school officials, but is there no one specifically employed by the school to help this child with her frustration and to learn acceptable behavior? I fear this child is probably being failed in more places than the school. She may need some extra coping tools if she is going to be a productive member of society.
The help needs to start today.
-- Sue Simon, St. Pete Beach
School and police did nothing wrong
Re: Kindergartener's arrest.
The girl's mother said she had complained earlier to the school about the assistant principal's treatment of her daughter. She said the administrator has been too harsh with the girl.
They need to check out what's going on at home that's making this little girl act like this.
The school and the police did nothing wrong. I admire the educators' patience. Let's not waste taxpayers' money on another frivolous lawsuit.
-- Belinda Blease, Largo
Police used poor judgment
I just got through seeing the tape of a 5-year-old being placed in handcuffs by your so-called police officers. I was completely appalled by the lack of judgment and the level of racism that still exist in this country.
I have a 5-year-old granddaughter, and I cannot envision any situation that would warrant a child of that age being placed in handcuffs. I hope the parent successfully sues the school and the police department.
This would never have happened if the child had been white. It makes one wonder: Who are they going to call when they really do have a problem - the National Guard? I hope the police officers who handcuffed this child, someday have the same thing done to their children - and let's see how they respond.
-- Mark Hart, North Lauderdale
Child's behavior was unsafe
Re: Kindergartener's arrest.
As a parent, I must say that the child's behavior in this matter was unsafe to the other children in the class. I would not want my child to be in the presence of the uncontrollable child. I watched the videos, and praise Mrs. Nicole Dibenedetto in her actions.
My child had Mrs. D as her teacher, and I volunteered quite frequently during this time, so I have had interactions with Mrs. D myself. I find her to be very well trained educator, with extreme amounts of patience. I have never seen her treat any child without respect, or try to provoke a child.
We have to ask ourselves what we would do in her shoes with an outraged, uncontrollable child. If my child were acting out in this manner, I would know she needs help. That is what I would focus on, instead of reprimanding the school.
School officials did call the mother prior to calling the police, and she seemed not to care. I would have raced to the school - family comes first!
In this situation I believe the school officials did everything in their power to control the child without touching her.
-- S. King, St. Petersburg
Desperate and hamstrung educators
The videotape of the 5-year-old girl's arrest showed one thing: symptoms of a serious educational syndrome whose individual elements are not uncommon: an unruly, defiant child who disrespects authority, a mother who didn't make the effort to show up during this incident but who had plenty of criticism to dole out after the fact, and educators who were rendered impotent and laughably helpless as a result of the political correctness run amok that passes for discipline in today's educational environment.
I felt sad for the assistant principal as she parroted lamely over and over, "Not acceptable, not acceptable" as the child trashed her classmates' papers, her teacher's decorative apple and some carefully crafted board in the administration area. I did not feel "sad" for that child, not for a second. She was treated gently by all involved, including the police. What else could those desperate and hamstrung educators do in the absence of a parent whose duty it is to find a way to leave work and intervene?
-- Marie Hickman, Largo
Spotlight black inventors
Re: The invisible men.
I enjoyed Ron Matus' April 17 article. It noted that African-American students "see strong black men who got rich and famous without a traditional education." Maybe Michael Jordan, P. Diddy and Halle Berry get the media coverage, but In 1935, Benjamin Thornton created a device that could record a voice message from a telephone, forward the messages as well as keep track of the time it was made. It was a predecessor of today's answering machine and call forwarding.
W.B. Purvis, in 1890, received a patent for an improved fountain pen.
Sarah E. Good, the first black woman to receive a patent, invented the precursor to the fold-away couch.
Elijah McCoy established his own firm and was responsible for a total of 57 patents. The term "real McCoy" refers to the oiling device used for industrial machinery.
Garrett Augustus Morgan invented the traffic signal and in 1916 made national news for using a gas mask he had invented to rescue several men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel beneath Lake Erie. The Morgan gas mask was later refined for use by the U.S. Army during World War I.
Maybe if more people knew about these prominent African-Americans, people would not be ashamed of their high SAT scores or afraid to go to college.
-- Dan Fazzini, St. Petersburg
The role of the church
Re: The invisible men.
After reading this report, I used my computer to do a word count. With more than 3,100 words, the article does not include the word, "church," the most visible institution in the black community.
Our clergy appear to be "off the hook." Apparently, any academic challenges black males in high school face have little to do with what happens on Sunday mornings or what members of the clergy do throughout the week.
I have often wondered what might result if members of the clergy routinely visited honors and Advanced Placement classrooms in public high schools. I am not advocating bringing God into the classroom, just his servants.
-- Jason D. Mims, Tampa
[Last modified April 26, 2005, 01:05:18]
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