Saturday, April 23, 2005

Testing The Limits

Back in March, we profiled an instance where an extremely defiant and unruly 5-year-old female kindergarten student in St. Petersburg, Florida, was handcuffed and arrested after kicking a teacher and throwing a candy dish at an administrator.

What we didn't know at the time was that the
confrontation had been videotaped.

I saw the video on Fox News Channel last evening.

Both Fairmount Park Elementary School teacher Patti Tsaousis and administrator Nicole Dibenedetto, used remarkable patience and restraint in their dealings with the unruly student. They maintained a calm demeanor although, as shown by the video, the child struck the administrator several times and destroyed school property.

Generally, educators may only physically restrain students if they are attempting to cause physical harm to another student, staff member, or themselves. In some jurisdictions, (such as California) restraint is also permitted to prevent the destruction of property.

We feel that the educators acted admirably. They displayed the highest degree of professionalism and self-control at all times.

Through her attorney, the mother, who is contemplating a lawsuit, has accused the educators of "hovering."

Once the police arrived, the girl was soon restrained and led away. After spending some time in the police cruiser, she was released to the custody of her mother, Inda Akins.

View a television station's coverage of the story (with excerpts from the video)
here, and a slideshow over there.

Update:(PM) On CNN, Inda Akins's attorney, John Trevena, indicated that the mother is convinced that the school "set her daughter up" and intentionally provoked the confrontation in order to get it on video tape. When asked if the mother was suing for money, he gave the expected reply: "It's not about the money.... but in the legal system that we have... money is a factor."(heh.)

Additional Commentary: Joanne Jacobs
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