Yet another story of school/police overreaction is being reported on the autism hub.
I am talking about the 14 year old child tazed unconsicous at school.
I think this bears multi level analysis to determine just what is going wrong.
Firstly I think there is a kind of legal paranoia, passing the buck, where teachers are so scared of adverse litigation if they have any physical contact with a child at all, especially in a violent and heated situation, that whether or not they would be capable of handling the situation they would sooner call the cops and wash their hands.
Secondly there maybe increasing paranoia about becoming a victim of violence, and let us face it teachers do face that threat more than they used to. That paranoia has driven the zero tolerance policies, where anything becomes a call the cops situation.
However there is more to said as the failings are not in any one person or institution.
This is an endemic institutional fear to begin with, driven by sociological issues that can be addressed in much better ways.
Not only do schools need to have clear policies regarding what is acceptable and what is not, they need training to understand developmental psychology at it’s most basic level, never mind jurisprudential questions about responsibility and mens rea.
At the “chalkface” the teacher needs to be trained in non aggressive intervention, in de-escalation techniques, and above all to have a degree of experience, tolerance, and lets face it “theory of mind” and if the cops are going to be called, then they need an equal degree of training and awareness to handle such situations, they need to realise that in such cases it is a child protection issue, not a preserve oneself against bruises at all cost and help the school to save face issue. If the firefighters adopted such an attitude of fear and paranoia over their own safety they would never enter a burning building. Risk is part of the job, and minor injuries are no more than that.
Furthermore don’t anyone come over self righteous and try and tell me that I have no idea of what the cops might be thinking or what they are faced with in potentially violent and dangerous situations, many years ago I was beaten to the ground by a gang of bikers, who turned their pool cues onto me. My crime in their eyes was having a go at them for kicking a defenceless guy on the ground. I had no taser, but I just did what every citizen ought to and suffered the consequences.
And yes I have been the "berserker" on the other side of the equation too, but I have managed not to kill or injure anyone yet. I have merely lived in more fortunate and tolerant times.