AUTISTIC BOY HANDCUFFED: Police restrain 12-year-old after fight with own brother

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Lanark, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via STEPHEN JONES and Mirror

A police force in Scotland have been condemned for excessive force after officers handcuffed a schoolboy with autism after he got into a fight with his brother in class, The Mirror newspaper reports.

Twelve-year-old Colin Gow, who attends Lanark Grammar school in Lanark, got into a dispute with his older brother Keiran, aged 13 and also autistic. He allegedly hurled a plastic bottle at his brother which set off the fight, and was then subsequently handcuffed by police. Colin was said to have been left ‘distressed and sobbing’ after the incident, which took place at a special Additional Support Needs class.

 

 

Colin and Keiran’s father, Colin Gow Senior, told the Mirror: It broke my heart to see my son in handcuffs.

“It wasn’t the way to deal with this incident.”

“The first thing I did was ask the officer to take the handcuffs off – he was clearly very distressed – and I put my arms round him to comfort him,” he said.

Lanarkshire authorities said that Colin had to be handcuffed for his own and others’ safety, but the boy’s parents have demanded an urgent review of how the incident was handled by police and the school. The incident took place just before the end of the school day on February 2nd, and a pair of officers were called to Lanark Grammar, where they handcuffed Colin, who also has spina bifida and is only 5’1″ tall. As a result, Colin’s parents now say he has developed a phobia of the police. The child also had to be taken for treatment at Wishaw General Hospital in Wishaw, north Lanarkshire county, the Mirror states.

Police and education chiefs at South Lanarkshire Council insist Colin had to be restrained to keep everyone “safe from physical harm”. Police representatives also claimed that Colin’s special education needs and his conditions were not made apparent to them at the time.

According to the Daily Record newspaper, Colin started attending Lanark Grammar, which was founded in 1183 and is one of Scotland’s oldest secondary schools (for pupils aged 11-16), after he was expelled from his previous school for allegedly punching a teacher. Lanark Grammar has a specialist unit for children with ‘Additional Support Needs’, including those with autism and dyslexia. During the day, Colin attends the unit and mixes with the non-unit students during morning assemblies, break times and lunch hours.

Despite the school’s specialism, Colin’s parents expressed concerns about the way his condition is being handled. His mother, Sharon, said that she was informed that they as parents would not have to do anything as the school’s dedicated staff would handle any issues that arose. They were at first optimistic that Colin would thrive at Lanark Grammar, but Sharon told the Mirror that Colin was not getting the support he badly needed.

South Lanarkshire Council’s head of education Carole McKenzie confirmed the police were called into the school as a result of “concerns for the pupil’s safety”.

She said the boy was attempting to leave school grounds without permission, which his parents deny.

Superintendent Louise Skelton, of Police Scotland, said officers quickly established “no criminality”.

She said: “In order to protect the boy involved, staff and officers, handcuffs were deployed in an effort to keep all parties safe from harm.

“Officers remained with the boy until he was left in the care of a relative.

“Police Scotland has been engaging with the family. No complaint has been received at this time.”

SOURCES:
HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-news-agency
Daily Mirror, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/DailyMirror
“Police handcuff 12-year-old autistic boy after fight with brother at school” – Stephen Jones, Mirror – News – UK News – Schools/MGN Limited (12 February 2017) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/police-handcuff-12-year-old-9803082
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Handcuffed Girls Qiqi Lourdie December 05, 20104” – Steven Depolo, Flickr (5 December 2010) https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/5242520722

CHARLOTTE HIGH SCHOOL FIGHT: Clash between American schoolchildren; officer caught on camera as police intervene

 

Charlotte, UNITED STATES
VIJAY SHAH via News Locker, Mirror Online and WSOCTV

British newspaper The Daily Mirror reports today on a shocking video of students fighting at a high school in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

The ‘brutal’ and ‘savage’ brawl led to the arrest of a 15-year-old pupil as well as the discovery of a set of brass knuckles by the school’s policing team after the fight took place, putting the school on lockdown.

The video footage shows the fight being broken up by a school police officer at Harding University High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. The officer is seen struggling with the student before placing him in handcuffs. Students scream and curse as arms go flying. The officer is seen grappling with and restraining the pupil who is later seen lying on the floor, as another student off-camera shouts “Get off of him”, as a large crowd assembled. Local news station TWC News reported that brass knuckles were later found among the pupil’s possessions in the clearup after the fight, suggesting perhaps that the disorder was preplanned.

Stunned by the incident, and amid increasing violence involving weaponry in schools all over the developed world, parents of pupils at Harding University High had expressed their concerns over safety. One parent told WSOCTV news station that she wanted to see security at the school ‘beefed-up’.

“It’s difficult, because it seems like the same problem keeps happening over and over again,” said the parent.

The student has been charged with assault on a police officer, simple assault, resisting arrest, and weapons charges. For reasons of age, his name and other particulars had not been reported.

The school’s principal (headteacher) Eric Ward issued a statement regarding the fight. In it he said “Several students became engaged in a physical altercation during transition to third period.”

“The altercation was a serious one and one of our school resource officers and several staff members intervened to break up the situation and restore order.

“I take this incident and any issues involving student and staff safety at our school very seriously.

“School staff and CMPD (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department) are determining further details and disciplinary action will be taken as necessary.”

It is not known if any other students have been arrested or expelled from school over the incident. The officer is also under investigation, according to WSOCTV.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
newslocker_uknews, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/newslock_uknews
“Brutal high school brawl caught on camera as school cop breaks up scrapping teens” – Sam Webb, Mirror – News – World News  – Schools/Mirror Online (21 November 2015) via News Locker  – UK news http://www.newslocker.com/en-uk/news/uk_news/brutal-high-school-brawl-caught-on-camera-as-school-cop-breaks-up-scrapping-teens/view/
“VIDEO: Fight caught on camera inside Charlotte school” – Allison Latos, 9wsoctv.com – Home – News – Local/9WSOCTV/Cox Media Group Television/Cox Media Group (20 November 2015) http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/video-fight-caught-camera-inside-charlotte-school/npRSf/

OLYMPIC LEGACY: London 2012 ‘oak tree’ transformed into a primary school’s learning tool

In warmer climes, the tree makes a good spot for idle chit-chat and outdoor picnics, not forgetting to mention its natural beauty and life-giving properties, but a Surrey primary school has given a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘tree of learning’, while honouring the nation’s Olympic legacy at the same time.

Three years after London played host to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with its spectacular opening and closing ceremonies masterfully organised by 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle, Epsom Primary & Nursery School has transformed one of the artificial oak trees used at London 2012 into a learning suite for its 547 pupils.

As part of the redevelopment at the school, which caters for children aged 3-16, the oak was taken out of storage and donated by the company that made it specially for the elaborate opening ceremony three years ago in Stratford, east London. The school then undertook an educational project over fifteen months to incorporate the tree into a new ‘learning suite’ with modern interactive technology for pupils to enhance their learning. The new facility, dubbed the “Enchanted Learning & Technology Suite” drew inspiration from the Enid Blyton children’s classic stories compilation Magic Faraway Tree, a favourite of the school’s deputy head teacher, as well as Epsom School’s emblem, a green stylised tree.

On the new suite’s opening at the school in Pound Lane, Epsom on the 18th March, which was covered by the local newspaper, the Epsom Guardian , children sat on specially-designed tree stumps to read books under the Olympic learning tree. In its earlier role at the critically acclaimed Olympic Games ceremony, the tree was seen rising out of a mound of grassy earth representing Glastonbury Tor, as more than a billion people watched Danny Boyle’s ceremony to kick off the London games.Workers streamed out from beneath the roots as the tree was lifted into the air and ‘an industrial revolution transformed the rural scenery’. The oak traditionally has a long association with British culture and was revered as a sacred tree by the Celts.

The tree once again takes centre stage after it was converted into a nature-themed staircase by local architects. Pupils can ‘climb’ up the learning tree to reach a mezzanine floor where the suite is located. Once there, they can access technology such as e-readers and tablets to reinforce classroom learning or do homework. Other uses planned for the suite and its accompanying tree include as a base for after-school clubs, breakfast clubs and as a facility for drama classes and computer activities.

London 2012 banner at The Monument.
London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelle Pollard, the deputy head at Epsom Primary School said: 

Securing the Olympic tree was the icing on the cake for our new library project. We wanted the new room to ignite a love of reading in the school – we couldn’t have asked for a more magical design. The tree was given to the school by Souvenir Scenic Solutions, the specialist company who built it for the Olympics, we are so grateful for their support and generosity.

Simon Kenny, a specialist working with the scenery builders told how his team assembled the tree to accommodate the space within the new library as well as creating the stumps.

He said: “We were happy to donate the labour and time to the school because we want to support education in these hard times. We are very happy for the tree to have another life.

It was great to see everybody’s faces and how excited they were. The room they created is like a magic world.

The library has been created to ensure current and future generations of students at Epsom Primary School develop a love of reading and research. Additional funding for the construction of the learning and technology suite came from the School Commissioning and Early Years Education Departments at Surrey Borough Council, the local authority administering the school.

SOURCES:
“Olympic ‘Oak Tree’ becomes ‘Tree of Learning’ at Epsom Primary School” – Journalism.co.uk – Press Release/Mousetrap Media Ltd (31 March 2015) https://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/olympic-oak-tree-becomes-tree-of-learning-at-epsom-primary-school/s66/a564650/
“Recent News” – Epsom Primary School http://www.epsomprimaryschool.co.uk/news-recent
“Olympics opening ceremony tree placed at heart of library at Epsom Primary and Nursery School” – Alice Foster,  Your Local Guardian.co.uk – Epsom (24 March 2015) http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/epsomnews/11875295.Olympics_opening_ceremony_tree_placed_at_heart_of_school_library/
VIDEO CREDITS:
“Recent News” – Epsom Primary School http://www.epsomprimaryschool.co.uk/news-recent
“Enchanted Learning & Technology Suite” – EPS Calendar, Epsom Primary School, YouTube GB (20 March 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x6LTivjBkg&feature=youtu.be
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:15-11-05 101 Monument.jpg” – Michael Pead, Wikimedia Commons & michaelpead.co.uk (5 January 2006) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:15-11-05_101_Monument.jpg

 

 

LUNCHTIME PUNISHMENT: Oregon schoolchild forced to eat behind screen for lateness

The parents of a six-year old American schoolchild are up in arms against the child’s school after teachers punished the boy for being late to lessons, by making him eat his lunch behind a cardboard screen while forced to sit on a separate table from other children.

Hunter Cmelo’s parents, from Grant’s Pass in Oregon, were running late when they managed to take the first-grader to Lincoln Elementary School, the local primary school in the town. Teachers there punished Hunter by seating him on an unoccupied bench with a folded piece of cardboard shielding him from the eyes of his schoolmates. A set of polystyrene cups with the letter ‘D’ – standing for detention – scrawled on one of them was also placed near Hunter as he sat down to eat.

(c) Facebook via Metro

Pictures of the incident were put up on Facebook by Hunter’s grandmother Laura Hoover, who commented in the British newspaper site of Metro “This is my grandson, Hunter. He’s a little first grader“.

His momma’s car sometimes doesn’t like to start right up. Sometimes he’s a couple of minutes late to school.

‘Yesterday, he was 1 minute late and this is what his momma discovered they do to punish him! They have done this to him 6 times for something that is out of his control! They make a mockery of him in front of the other students.”

The harsh punishment of being segregated from friends at lunchtime has caused considerable distress to Hunter, who was on one occasion taken home in tears by his mother, Nicole Garloff. Hunter’s father, Mark Cmelo, said to local television station KOIN6: “They are shaming him for something that’s not in his control.” Hunter’s parents are reported to be devastated at the treatment of their son by the school.

His mother said the punishment has left her son anxious about attending school, and that a few days ago, he began ‘flipping out’ because they were running late for the school journey. She said that she has experienced car troubles and suffers from the brittle bone condition osteoporosis, which can set her back in the mornings. “It causes a lot of pain and in the mornings it’s especially hard for me to get going,” she said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Lincoln Elementary School have agreed to stop using the cardboard partition in light of the Cmelos’ complaint, but have not said if they will end the policy of separating late students at lunchtime and forcing them to eat alone. According to the Daily Mail, the school received hundreds of complaints and threats after the incident went viral on social media.

A spokesman for the school district said: “The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.

Meanwhile, the school’s superintendent John Higgins, who received a barrage of threatening phone calls, told Newswatch 12 that the “protocol was communicated to parents via newsletter and is intended to provide the students with an above average level of tardiness, supervised additional learning time in a non-distracting setting,

‘It was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.

Principal Missy Fitzsimmons reached out to Hunter’s parents and arranged a meeting this past Thursday to hear the parents’ concerns, including ceasing use of the cardboard partition. Fitzsimmons said: “We are pleased to report the meeting was productive,

‘The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.”

The school has a roll call of 444 pupils and forms part of the Grant’s Pass School District 7 administration in the Oregon town.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/01/boy-6-forced-to-eat-behind-a-screen-because-his-parents-dropped-him-off-late-5084049/?ito=facebook
“Outrage as six-year-old boy is forced to eat lunch alone behind a screen after his parents dropped him off late to school” –  Lydia Warren, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd (27 February 2015) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2972459/Outrage-six-year-old-boy-forced-eat-lunch-screen-parents-dropped-late-school.html
“About Lincoln Elementary – Mission Statement” – Lincoln Elementary School, Grant’s Pass School District No. 7 http://www.grantspass.k12.or.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=22344&
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/01/boy-6-forced-to-eat-behind-a-screen-because-his-parents-dropped-him-off-late-5084049/?ito=facebook

TECH SAVVY TEN-YEAR OLDS: A humorous Facebook picture

By Vijay Shah

I am a big Facebook addict, and while leisurely scrolling down my News Feed, often find posts from my friends or work colleagues that make me stop and think “hello, that looks interesting!”. It could be a beautiful picture or photo, or a well-thought out comment…or something hilarious. I usually subject my Facebook mates to a barrage of silly and humorous comment posts and statuses on a daily basis. Surprisingly they haven’t yet all unfriended me!.

(c) Favim.com

I saw this little beauty about a day ago, originally published by some funny jokes group I’m a member of, ” If I Got Paid or Every Hour I’ve Spent On Facebook, I’d be RICH” or something along those lines. Actually these groups are a little light and harmless cyber-entertainment, if nothing much else. They post some interesting stuff, although they have a freaking annoying habit of also flooding my news feed with stupid bullcrap, often written in very retarded English. But, anyways, back to our comment pic here.

It had me thinking. How today’s generation of children are THE digital generation. They practically grew up and cut their teeth with technology. They cheerfully evade Facebook’s 13-and-above age limit, are far more IT-literate than their parents ever will be, and love accumulating the latest gadgetry. This is partly because, as always, kids are vulnerable to peer pressure. When I was in primary school, what got you the ultimate school cred was having fashionable trainers (sneakers). God forbid if your mother sent you to school in a pair of cheap Gola kicks bought on discount from Shoefayre. It will be ordained under the Sacred Rules of Playground Fashion that you WILL be the laughing stock of Class 6B. Now we see people talking about who has the latest iPod/iPhone/iWhatever. Same cool rules apply though. It is that pressure to be up-to-point that makes kids badger their parents to buy all these very expensive pieces of kit. Maybe parents these days are just too soft and give in too easily to their progeny’s demands. Or especially if they are younger parents, they’re already comfortable enough with technology that they don’t fear it one bit, and are comfortable shopping around with their children.

But seriously, 10-year-olds with laptops, online social networks, and a litany of products by Apple Inc. I’m not that old and am a confident technology user, but I find that concept not only strange but a little unnerving too. I did not have my first laptop until after I left university. I had to rely on the computer rooms at my campus library. My first phone was this dumpy old Motorola which looked like a house phone, given to me by a family friend. I lugged this brick around thinking I was the coolest at my sixth-form college. This while everyone else was packing Nokias. I was 16-17 at the time. My family did not get their first desktop PC until a couple of years after I ditched said clunky digital paperweight. In any case, it would be unthinkable for my own future children to possess a mobile phone until they are at least 15, and that only to keep them safe.

In my childhood days, technology was a lot simpler, and less affordable.We settled for the simpler things in life.  I still remember those Pokemon cards with their cool illustrations and their sheer variety. My younger brother was the official collector in my house, and we would often go down to the local newsagents to pick up a shiny packet of 10 or so cards, which he would avidly swap with school friends to get rid of the duplicates or ‘doubles’ as we called them. Getting a shiny (a Pokemon card with a metallic or holographic foil printed with the character’s details and HP points) was the Holy Grail. These shinies were the coup-de-grace in the numerous card game duets that took place in playgrounds up and down the country. By the late 1990s, this was practically our youngsters’ national sport.When was the last time you heard a 14-year-old tell his mate that he will swap his Charmander for the other’s Hitmonlee ?

From Pogs and Pokemon/Yu-Gi-Oh cards, we moved onto yo-yos with flashing LED lights and Tamagotchis (electronic pets that came with a keyring). Kids today with their top-of-the range MP3 players and that, would probably laugh at what passed for entertainment in my generation, just like we used to laugh at the generations before us, with their spinning tops, conkers and Action Man figures.

Society worries about how children now are no longer socialising and playing outside because they are all cooped up in front of the TV/PC/Mac screen and spend more time chatting on BBM or eBuddy than face-to-face. Now they are allegedly becoming more anti-social and more obese and parents worry about their credit card statements at the end of the month. Then there’s the online risks from bullies and paedophiles etc.

We should all try to be comfortable with the technological revolution I think.  At least today’s youth can adapt easily, which will make them more competitive and on-point in our increasingly computer-dependent jobs market. Technology and digitalisation are vitally important to how we play, think, learn, communicate, and express ourselves. But that said, let’s hope though that our grandchildren still find whoopee cushions funny.

Gotta catch 'em all.... (c) iOffer
Gotta catch ’em all…. (c) iOffer