During the past couple of weeks there has been a lot of debate over the way that the Town of Middletown, CT was handling behavioral issues with elementary school students. Many reports have mentioned the use of “scream” rooms for children who needed to be removed from classroom situations. (Click here for the full story). As you can imagine there has been much debate over these practices. A full investigation is being conducted in the Town of Middletown and I’m sure the findings will be made public.
As I was riding in my car listening to talk radio on Tuesday, this topic came up on a popular AM station. A number of callers voiced their opinions. The host of the show made a clear statement, that no one would support the act of isolation for a child with disabilities, however, there are children with major behavioral challenges that do cause a threat to other children and teachers. These children who have social and emotional issues can be found in high school all the way down to our elementary schools. There are times when these children can become highly disruptive, physical and dangerous. The question raised, was how should these situations be handled?
There are so many layers to this story, so many factors and variables, but I have been thinking a lot about behavior in our early childhood settings. How can we as early education providers help to prevent these types of stories? Are we doing our job to …
1. Detect developmental delays early, delays that could cause frustrations resulting in inappropriate behavior
2. Are we doing our job as early educators to help children that we know have behavioral challenges or are we allowing inappropriate behavior to continue and build as the child ages?
Furthermore…what is our role as early educators to assist parents in providing their children with appropriate behavior teachings?
I’m sure that this topic will continue to be headlines in our state and national news, and although the current situation focuses specifically on elementary age students, I feel that it is worthwhile for early educators to look at our impact on improving these types of situations earlier rather than later.
What are your thoughts on the topic?