Sunday, March 1, 2015

Oregon Principal Humiliates 6-Year-Old For Being 1 Minute Late


On February 28th, 2015, it was reported that parents in Oregon are outraged after a six-year-old boy was forced to eat lunch alone behind a cardboard divider, simply because he was one minute late for school.

The mother of first-grader Hunter Cmelo snapped photos of him sitting isolated from the other children during lunch at Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon.

In the images, Hunter sits next to a cup with the letter "D" for "detention," as he looks at the other children's lunch tables. 

Hunter's family says he was humiliated and left crying from the embarrassing public shaming. His grandmother posted the photos to Facebook. They have been shared thousands of times and hundreds of complaints have since poured in to the school district.

School officials explained that the cardboard barrier is part of the principal’s punishment for students who are regularly late for school.

The first-grader’s grandmother, Laura Hoover, posted pictures and text on Facebook Wednesday morning.

“…Sometimes he’s a couple minutes late to school. Yesterday, he was 1 minute late and this is what his momma discovered they do to punish him! They have done this to him 6 times for something that is out of this baby’s control! They make a mockery of him in front of the other students! The principal is responsible for this. His mom found him there, crying, and took him home for the day. …"

It's obviously not the six-year-old's fault, but you think Superintendent John Higgins or the boy's school Principal would understand that? No they don't!
Superintendent John Higgins of Grants Pass School District 7 said all their elementary schools have their own protocol on how to deal with absenteeism and tardiness.

This boy goes to Lincoln Elementary School, Higgins confirmed. He said students who are tardy there four or more times get what is called “make up time.”
According to Fox News, after receiving many complaints, the school released a statement, saying, "This afternoon, Principal Fitzsimmons was able to meet with both parents to discuss their concerns. We are pleased to report the meeting was productive. The parents' concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved."

In other words, they will do it again to another student at a later date -- but for right now we have to let things blow over. 

After the story went viral, the school resource officer and the superintendent joined Principal Fitzsimmons right before school started for the drop off time. 

Superintendent John Higgins said Fitzsimmons received threats and harassing phone calls when the story first broke. I'd like to see Principal Fitzsimmons fired and bans from school grounds.

The school district's attempt to spin this story is by having Superintendent John Higgins come out to say, “People support the principal because they know this is a great learning community that cares about kids.”

As if it makes the actions of a lousy school administrator look better, the Grants Pass School District says Lincoln Elementary won recognition in 2012 from the state for being an outstanding school.

I say, so what? If this is how this school is winning awards than the awards aren't worth a damn!  

Superintendent Higgins says each school in District 7 deals with tardiness differently and the point of any protocol is to get the child caught up on missed schoolwork.

Superintendent Higgins stated, "The last thing we would ever do is have a protocol in place that isolates or stigmatizes a student. That’s not what the Lincoln protocols are about, it’s not with similar protocols across the district.”

If that's the truth and not just a line of bullshit, then why humiliate the child in front of his schoolmates?

What Fitzsimmons did was no less humiliating than the Dunce Caps were back in the day. The conical cap was used as a punishment in school to separate and humiliate students thought to be slow learners.

NewsWatch 12 asked Higgins about the picture of 6-year-old Hunter, which created such controversy when it showed up on Facebook.

Superintendent Higgins answered, "What I see [in the original Facebook picture] is a reason for us to take a closer look and see if there’s a better way to structure this learning time, so that we can get kids caught up so that there’s no actual or perceived isolation or stigmatizing, I think the emotional reaction would've been like any parent whenever you see a child in a unique learning environment, and it’s your child, [it] can trigger some questions."

By the way, would someone inform the very ignorant Superintendent of District 7 Mr John Higgins that the picture was not taken during a "learning time" -- it was during lunch time!

The district says Lincoln’s protocol is meant to provide a supervised additional learning time in a non-distracting setting. Well, since the boy was punished by making him eat alone while at the same time humiliating him in front of his classmates, does anyone there think his being forced to eat lunch behind a barrier was not distracting?

As a former Instructor, I have to wonder if Higgins or Fitzsimmons even understand that the focus of those children shifted onto their classmate being punished as soon as it was done?

But seriously, he like Fitzsimmons probably does not understand that what takes place away from learning takes away from learning..

While Higgins says this is the first year lunch detention has happened in the lunch room, his statement shows that he still refused to admitt that this was no a learning period but lunch period..

Higgins explained to NewsWatch12, "With regards to the use of the cafeteria space and the confidential 'cubby', which is meant to provide the student with a non-distracting area where they could focus on the learning and not be distracted by the kids that are in the cafeteria that are having lunch and doing this doing other things. If changes need to be made then we will make them."

As it turns out, Hunter’s parents say the school district did make a change. They had a meeting with Principal Fitzsimmons. According to the district, both the school and the parents reached an agreement that satisfied both parties.

Hunter’s dad, Mark, says the school told them the current procedure of separating a child within the lunch room with a divider will no longer be used.

American parents hand over their most precious part of their souls to schools, their children. One would hope they would care more educating, and less about Liberal political indoctrination and punishment.

And for those parents in Oregon who came out in support of the school, Fitzsimmons, Higgins, or the way this little boy was treated -- I hope your family and neighbors and friends place a partition between you and them so that you can learn the humiliation that that young boy had to feel.

If you or anyone else think treating kids harshly, wrong, badly, while using some excuse that they get some sort of benefit from it, then shame on you.

For me, at 6 years of age in the First Grade at St. Patrick's School in Kaimuki, Hawaii, I was sent to the principal's office four times.

Once because I didn't put a book away fast enough, once because I didn't take my seat fast enough, once for talking, and once because another kid jammed a pencil in my arm. And yes, the small piece of lead is still in there.

Each time, the principal lifted my shirt, had me bend over a chair, and she struck me with a heavy yardstick across my back. The first time it was two lashes, the second four, the third six, the last time she hit me ten times across my back.

After each time, I was sent back to my class and made to sit alone in back of the class where I was told not to speak for the day. I didn't out of fear.

I remember the other kids looking at me as I walked into class. I remember how they stayed away from me during recess. I also remember being glad that I was taken out of that school.

While I don't think spanking a kid is out of line for a parent to do, and yes maybe I'm biased against allowing children to be harmed, humiliated, abused in any manner, but frankly reports of child abuse should be taken serious -- especially when at the hands of school officials. It should not be tolerated.

As with most of us, I had some wonderful teachers. None of those who I would consider wonderful isolated me from the other students. None of them beat me physically or mentally, or humiliated me.

I read principal Mrs Fitzsimmon's on-line resume on the Lincoln Elementary School website.

In her resume she states, "I believe early intervention helps equip our children with a solid foundation made up of: strong academic and study skills, pro-active family involvement, positive social skills, and a healthy self image. I LOVE growing happy, healthy, and smart Lincoln students!"

If she thinks isolating and demeaning and humiliating a 6 year old child is the correct way of "growing happy healthy" students, or building "positive social skills and a healthy self-image" in a student, than she is delusional and not fit to teach nevertheless be an administrator.

Fitzsimmons' actions are those of an adult bully!

And as for superintendent John Higgins of the Grants Pass School District 7, if he thinks that supporting his administrators and teachers by disregarding the care given to students in his district is the correct way of conducting himself? He should resign or be fired.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa




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