Improper reactions

Monday, March 8, 2004

Keeping control in a classroom isn't easy -- the odds aren't always in favor of the teacher when there are 25 or more students in a room. Rowdy, ill-behaved children can wreak havoc on a day's lessons in just a few minutes.

But seasoned teachers know how to curb these outrageous outbursts and keep their students focused on the work ahead of them.

Two teachers, based on available information, appear to have lost their professional composure when faced with incorrigible students. Area administrators acted quickly when they learned that teachers had taped students to their desks or taped their mouths shut with duct tape as punishment for misbehaving.

In Oran, Mo., a high school teacher resigned after allegations that she taped a seventh-grader to his desk during a detention.

A teacher in Du Quoin, Ill., also was reprimanded for her actions after she allegedly put duct tape on two students' mouths. The teacher will be forced to correct the deficiencies in her teaching and conduct before coming back to the classroom, the district's attorney said.

The father of the Oran student was outraged when he learned that two eighth-graders had been asked to help bind his son's feet and hands and tape his body to the desk. The child's mouth also was covered with duct tape.

Because the 14-year-old boy suffers from attention deficit disorder, he often misbehaves or causes disruptions while at school, the father said. The teacher should have known that and acted accordingly.

Parents in the Du Quoin district weren't terribly upset by the taping incident because they believe the teacher meant no harm.

But whatever the teacher's intentions, it seems unnecessary at least and cruel at best to tape a student to his desk or tape his mouth shut as punishment for excessive talking.

That's not how problems are resolved. Both teachers, if they did what the public has been told they did, failed to meet the standards parents have every right to believe they will follow.

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