Please Send Him To Time Out

I often hear horror stories in the news, from other teachers and all over the internet about parents being in some epic battle with their child’s school or day care because their child had to be restrained, separated from others or other cases like that.

Most of the time, everyone sides with the parent in a unanimous cry of outrage in the complete and total mistreatment of their child. Most of the time, that comes with very little information as the schools are often unable to comment on the situation, same with any enforcement personnel. This means that we only have the parent’s information to go on. 

I won’t argue however that most of the time, that’s all we really need. What’s wrong is wrong.

Still though, this creates a situation in society that basically ties the hands of those teachers and care givers should they truly have the right or need to handle a situation where those circumstances arise.

Dear care givers

What I’m trying to say is, if you care for my child and he is in danger of hurting himself or someone else, please do restrain him. Please do send him for a time out, even to some other room if need be.

I won’t sue. I won’t call the media.

If my son hurts himself… in a private area… please do check it out. He’s hurt, he needs attention, give it to him. I understand that it’s not sexual, I understand that you have his and my best interests at heart.

I won’t sue. I won’t call the media.

But be warned

If my trust is abused or my understanding is taken advantage of, I will hunt down the person and make sure that no one finds them until skyscrapers start going up in remote parts of northern Canada.

My children are that important to me… but they’re also that important to me that I don’t want to see his care givers afraid to touch them for fear of me being the type of parent to make it a national news story.

The reality

The reality is that when my son completely loses it and hurts himself or his little brother, or is breaking things, or is just generally out of control… I will put him in his room. I will drag him there if I have to.

And I fully understand… no, I expect… that anyone else that I have entrusted with the responsibility of watching him would do the same.

I won’t call it barbarism when someone does the exact same thing that I would have done in the same situation. I won’t give my story to the first reporter that will listen to me.

The reality is that I understand how it’s come to this but I also feel disappointed that it has.

Somewhere, lines have blurred… and it’s often due to those who take advantage of the situation or react too harshly to the situation. Those care givers who go overboard and actually hit a child, or do something else that is completely inappropriate.

There’s also the “not knowing” that we must face… since our children aren’t great at relaying the details, we have to just hope that the teacher’s telling the truth. And if they did do something wrong, what would be the likelihood of that?

In a perfect society, every person that comes into contact with a child would be certified do-gooders with halos and wings that could never do any harm… but there is no perfect society and that leaves us skeptical and scared.

But I refuse to hand cuff those who care for my children by never letting them do what I would do myself to ensure their safety.

If I wouldn’t do it, damn straight I won’t let them do it. But if I would take an action, such as dragging my kid, kicking and screaming to a time out… then I fully support his teachers/care givers doing the same.

I know a lot of parents won’t agree with me, or simply aren’t willing to let “strangers” do those sorts of things… I can understand that. But it is how I am and how I feel about it. If I don’t trust the person that my son is with, he won’t be with that person. It’s that simple.

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Stuart Duncan
I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.
Stuart Duncan

Stuart Duncan

I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.

0 thoughts on “Please Send Him To Time Out

  • February 25, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I’m studying Special Education, and we’re taught that time out is only effective if the child knows what they’ve done wrong and I have to agree. Restraint is another thing. If a child is throwing a fit, banging his/her head against the wall ect. then restraint for the child’s safety is acceptable. Restraining a child so that he/she will stay in time out, I would have to argue is ineffective. I know if I were a child, autistic or not, I would associate my time-out with being restrained and the act to deserve time out would be irrelevant and altogether forgotten.

  • February 24, 2012 at 9:28 am

    As a caregiver and a group home manager, I really appreciate that you take this stance. I am in full support of the gentle teaching strategies that are sweeping the nation, but the reality is that they don’t always work. I have a guy who will hurt himself when he is overwhelmed and the methods he uses can be life threatening. A simple “calm Down honey” doesn’t get through in those situations 1) because he’s deaf 2)because he’s so far into sensory overload that it makes communication almost non existing. When we are unable intervene,  it puts his life at risk. I wish that more guardians would believe that we generally do have their best interests at heart, and that the minority are the ones that wish to harm their child. those people make me sick. 

  • February 24, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I don’t know about all states but in KS schools are already allowed to use Seclusion and Restraint to prevent physical harm to self or others.  KS currently has non binding “guidelines” that stipulate when and how S&R can be used, parent notification and school reporting to the state.  There are schools that are following these guidelines and there are schools that are not. There are schools that only use S&R for emergency situations and schools that use it as a regular Behavior Intervention Plan strategy.  Behavior is communication and when schools use S&R as a BIP they are using a one size fits all form of behavior control and they are not trying to hear what our children are trying to tell them.  Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports can be used instead of S&R. Replacement behaviors can be taught, a student can be taught communications skills to use instead of behavior and staff can listen to and honor communication attempts instead of allowing behavior to escalate. The problem is it is much easier and cheaper to use S&R than get the training and time necessary to determine the PBIS that a student needs and implement those strategies. 

     Recently along with several advocating organizations and other parents, I testified before the KS House Children and Families Committee for a bill that would make these nonbinding guidelines law.  Without the force of law parents have little recourse when schools use inappropriately S&R. The good news is the bill made it out of committee and was approved by the KS House this week.  I help organize a local parent support group and help parents become educated and advocate for their children and I have heard several stories from parents about the use of S&R.  Yes, there are times S&R should be used, but there are too many times it is abused and our kids suffer untold consequences.  Our state and our country need laws to regulate it’s use.           

  • February 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    It’s so hard being a caregiver or even a parent with so many threats out there. And then, people wonder why sometimes kids go out of line. 

    I suppose it has to be done. Does your wife agree with you on this as well?


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