Gerald Vest: Mass Punishment Lives On in Public Schools    
 Mass Punishment Lives On in Public Schools4 comments
picture29 Mar 2009 @ 16:35, by Gerald Vest

Dr. Ashley Montagu, anthropologist and educator, focused on human bio-social evolution and maintained throughout his long career that cultural phenomena are not genetically predetermined. He committed himself to popularizing the findings of modern science in the hopes of improving civil society and the quality of life.

In his groundbreaking book, “Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin”, he brought awareness to the Western World of how the sense of touch was so neglected, and at the same time how critical the sense of touch is for human development. Additionally, he devotes special attention to the relation of the skin and touching to mental and physical health and the discovery of the immunological functions of the skin.
[link]


Do read this short article about a school principal in Connecticut banning touch in her Middle School. I suspect this is quite common in schools where they lack creativity, exploratory learning, motivational & skillful teaching, and encouragement for their students. [link]

I believe that this ban is a drastic measure and I wonder if these administrators know what the consequences are for depriving humans of physical contact--healthy nourishing touch? I suspect the student reactions will be explosive and include much more anger, bullying, restlessness, frustration and other negative emotions when basic human need requirements for touch are denied. If you doubt this truth, go visit a nursing home, prison, mental health inpatient unit, or home where parents don't use healthy touch and use physical punishment and restraints to get their "way."

Anyway, this is just a form of MASS Punishment when administrators don't have the knowledge, skill or wisdom to come up with a helpful and resourceful solution to a bad incident. Frankly, as a parent experiencing a similar incident in our children's school, we successfully organized and petitioned the school board to fire the principal.

One alternative is to include a class or assembly sessions in introducing and teaching healthy, respectful and responsible touch in all of the classes. Parents can also learn how to discipline and guide without using corporal and mass punishment for their children. I would also suggest that schools and other institutions use alternatives such as we use for our nourishing touch programs--"Guidelines for the Safe Use of Touch." [link]; [link];[link]

Any other Comments and Recommendations?

I work for the US Army and mass punishment is a common practice to make soldiers "tow their line!!!" Ask any soldier how effective this solution is and you will learn very quickly that it doesn't work for very long, if at all.

Do read this short article about a school principal banning touch in School.

****************************************************

A Connecticut middle school principal has laid down the law: You put your hands on someone -- anyone -- in any way, you're going to pay.

Connecticut School Bans Physical Contact

East Shore M.S. Outlaws "High-Fives," "Hugging" And Horseplay Of Any Kind; Violators May Face Expulsion MILFORD, Conn. (CBS) ―

A Connecticut middle school principal has laid down the law: You put your hands on someone -- anyone -- in any way, you're going to pay.

A violent incident that put one student in the hospital has officials at the Milford school implementing a "no touching" policy, according to a letter written by the school's principal.

East Shore Middle School parents said the change came after a student was sent to the hospital after being struck in the groin.

Principal Catherine Williams sent out a letter earlier in the week telling parents recent behavior has seriously impacted the safety and learning at the school.

"Observed behaviors of concern recently exhibited include kicking others in the groin area, grabbing and touching of others in personal areas, hugging and horseplay. Physical contact is prohibited to keep all students safe in the learning environment," Williams wrote.

Students and parents are outraged. They said the new policy means no high-fives and hugs, as well as horseplay of any kind. The consequences could be dire, Williams warned in the letter.

"Potential consequences and disciplinary action may include parent conferences, detention, suspension and/or a request for expulsion from school," Williams wrote.

Many think the school's no tolerance policy goes way too far. Others said it's utterly ridiculous.

"Now it's almost as if it's a sanitized school. Where you have to keep your distance from everybody? And that's not what school is about," one father said.

"What if they are out on the playground at recess, or in gym class?" parent Kathy Casey wondered. "You know, gym class is physical."

A violent incident that put one student in the hospital has officials at the Milford school implementing a "no touching" policy, according to a letter written by the school's principal.

East Shore Middle School parents said the change came after a student was sent to the hospital after being struck in the groin.

Principal Catherine Williams sent out a letter earlier in the week telling parents recent behavior has seriously impacted the safety and learning at the school.

"Observed behaviors of concern recently exhibited include kicking others in the groin area, grabbing and touching of others in personal areas, hugging and horseplay. Physical contact is prohibited to keep all students safe in the learning environment," Williams wrote.

Students and parents are outraged. They said the new policy means no high-fives and hugs, as well as horseplay of any kind. The consequences could be dire, Williams warned in the letter.

"Potential consequences and disciplinary action may include parent conferences, detention, suspension and/or a request for expulsion from school," Williams wrote.

Many think the school's no tolerance policy goes way too far. Others said it's utterly ridiculous.

"Now it's almost as if it's a sanitized school. Where you have to keep your distance from everybody? And that's not what school is about," one father said.

"What if they are out on the playground at recess, or in gym class?" parent Kathy Casey wondered. "You know, gym class is physical."








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4 comments

29 Mar 2009 @ 22:21 by a-d : Oooohhh this is
ridiculos ...and won't go on too long!...You watch!... there are "gazillion" of situations where you just touch people whether you think of it --or not!.... what about just greeting a person with a handshake???!!?!?!?..... or are the adults; like the Principal herself ABOVE the Law she is instituting on the rest?... IF NOT, which we HOPE!...imagine; how awquard a situation could become if/when (grownup) person from another area comes to the school for any reason, for instance to introduce new learning material for the School, meeting up with the Principal, stretching out his/her hand to say Hello to the Principal and she just ignores the outstretched hand!.... What if someone gets badly hurt in a fall/ or someone is choking and needs Heimlich ( with no time to wait for the Paramedics to arrive!.... ) No. This will NOT go very far at all!...or should NOT let go into effect. Parents and other more capable people (than this poor Principal, who got it all wrong in her efforts to put in some intelligent discipline in to effect in the school...) need to see the short sightedness of this... for a thousand good reasons... including High-fives, hugs and horsing around, like young people do... & have done as long as we've been Mammals... AND BEFORE! Look at two flies, bees and Butterflies (plus all the rest of Insects) grooming each other, playfully chasing each other... there's no stopping (of) LIFE-AFFIRMING, LIFE-CELEBRATING TOUCH!
This Principal is quite obviously in need of some serious LIFE-EDUCATION & Touch Therapy, methinks *!*...  



30 Mar 2009 @ 21:30 by jerryvest : So true, Astrid...short sighted and
basically ignorant about Life-Education--human development and human behavior. Makes us wonder what the teachers learn, even at the Ph.D. level? As you so aptly stated--'short sighted.' This is the only reason that I continue to write logs related to "Touch" because I want others to acknowledge the fact that giving and receiving touch (physical interaction) is a basic human need. Would be good for others to observe the interaction and relationship of our animal kingdom.

Most schools have a "0" tolerance for touch and this principal is just taking touch to a lower level on the continuum. I also am eager for teachers and health professionals to learn about the Myths of Touch so that our children, youth and families can improve the quality of their lives, health, and relationships. Fear-Ignorance as we've discussed before.

I recommend that all of our team members and students, visit Dr. Zur's website for the most thorough understanding of the myth of the use of touch by all professionals, health, education and human service programs.
{link:http://www.zurinstitute.com/touchintherapy.html}


Thanks Astrid for participating here and continuing to awaken others to greater opportunities for living.  



5 Apr 2009 @ 07:34 by azangel : Sincerity and Compassion
I believe in everything you stand for and I yearn for your enthusiasm and intention.., it is truly a beautiful concept and a gift!. I guess there must still be things for me to learn along the way. I find you to be a sincerely beautiful soul living out your purpose. I admire that more than you can know.  


5 Apr 2009 @ 22:06 by jerryvest : Oh, Laura(Arizona Angel)...
Thank you for those very generous, kind and thoughtful expressions of love and joy. What a wonderful gift you have in helping and supporting others. You are truly an Angel.

Jerry  



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