Tag Archives: child abuse

Ethics Quiz: Once Again, Bystander Ethics, The Duty To Rescue, And The Imperiled Child

clarkkentThe free-range kids debate already raised this issue, and now my colleague and friend Michael Messer, the talented and versatile musician/singer/ actor who teams with me in the ProEthics musical legal ethics programs Ethics Rock, Ethics Rock Extreme, and Ethics Jamboree, just posted about his traumatic experience on Facebook, writing,

“I’m standing in Central Park and witnessed a tourist father grab his (approx 5 year old) child by the arm and shake him… The. open palm smack his child in the head. Hard. Twice. I screamed to him, from about 50 feet, where I witnessed it: “HEY!!! YOU DON’T HIT HIM” he looked up, startled to be called out, and waved me off to mind my business. “YOU DO NOT HIT A CHILD IN THE HEAD”, I repeated, at the top of my lungs, hoping to attract attention. The kid cried and then got himself together and went off to play. No one else in Sheeps Meadow saw or took notice. For about 5 minutes after I kept my eyes on him so he knew he was now being watched. What is the role of a bystander in this situation?”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for the day is…

What is the role of a bystander in this situation?

The answer is simple, really—its that oft-repeated Ethics Alarms mantra, “FIX THE PROBLEM,” at least as much as you can. Do something. Mike did the right thing, from a distance: show the abuser he’s being observed, protest, shame him. If one can, if one has the ability, the skill and the timely reaction and the child looks to be in genuine danger, intervene physically.

The latter course, however, carries risks, and also may be precluded by the natural reflex most humans have when they observe something unexpected and shocking. I discussed this issue when Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary was being pilloried in some publications for not immediately charging into the Penn State showers and stopping sexual predator Jerry Sandusky from sexually abusing a boy: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Race, U.S. Society

Our Child-Abusing Schools: Prosecution For A Prank

"You changed your grade on the school computer, kid--that's the death penalty!"

“You changed your grade on the school computer, kid–that’s the death penalty!”

In Holiday, Florida, Paul R. Smith Middle School eighth-grader Domanik Green was suspended for breaking into the school computer system to  change the background on his teacher’s computer to feature a photo of two men kissing. Then school administrators decided that the punishment wasn’t enough. They had him charged with the felony of computer hacking, and the fourteen year old will be tried as an adult.

The only explanation I can come up with for stories like this is that the school administrators don’t like kids. This wasn’t some sophisticated hack, like the stuff Matthew Broderick did in “War Games.” He knew the teacher’s password (his last name), and just changed the background. Changing a teacher’s background on his computer is the 21st century equivalent of putting an uncomplimentary caricature of the teacher on the blackboard. Charging a teen with a felony for that is excessive and cruel.  Putting in his own claim to a share of the Fascist Disciplinarian of 2015 award was Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, who blathered, “Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done.”

Better shoot him, Chris, just to be safe. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Science & Technology

Q: Why Is CNBC Posting Anti-Vaccination Propaganda?

A: Because its staff is lazy, inattentive and irresponsible.

Weston Price (1870-1948), Quack. His work goes on...

Weston Price (1870-1948), Quack. His work goes on…

The cable business news network posted this press release from the natural foods and nutrition huckster group, The Weston A. Price Foundation.

It isn’t news. It is poison.  The press release makes the false claim that vaccinations spread measles, as well as other diseases. This is standard anti-vaxx hysteria, and it gets children killed.  It is false. “Measles live vaccine doesn’t transmit easily at all,” said Dr. Jane Seward of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases told NBC, which apparently doesn’t communicate with its subsidiaries. “I don’t think there has ever been a secondary transmission,” she added. “There is no evidence of any transmission of measles virus from a child to household contacts.” As for the Foundation itself:

“The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats….

Yes, it is strange, like Dr. Price’s theories, and not in a benign way. Among the foundation’s other objectives is to show that vaccinations are unnecessary if you eat right, or something: when a  home page prominently displays a link that reads, COD LIVER OIL: Our Most Important Superfood, my eyes tend to gloss over, I file the group under “Nut Balls” and move on.

CNBC posted this promotional piece uncritically and without context, leaving the impression that it was actual news, thus allowing fake news to go to the top of Google searches for gullible readers.  At the bottom of the screen it says “More from CNBC” and not “More from health food hyping anti-science fanatics.Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Science & Technology, Bioethics, Journalism & Media, Health and Medicine, Humor and Satire, Character, Marketing and Advertising, Ethics Train Wrecks, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Childhood and children

Finalizing The Sadly Useful School Anti-Violence No-Tolerance Insanity Scale

Alas, the deadly pizza gun is only a #5 now...

Alas, the deadly pizza gun is only a #5 now…

In January 2013, I realized I had used “Now this is the worst example of insane no-tolerance school conduct that there can ever be!” multiple times, and that it was time to make some close calls. I asked readers to rank the following real examples of child abuse by schools, in which children of various ages were punished cruelly and excessively for harmless conduct that violated a poorly envisioned no-tolerance rule. This was the list:

1. Biting pizza into the shape of a gun.

2. Pointing a finger in the shape of a gun and saying “Bang!”

3. Threatening to shoot a student with a bubble gun.

4. A deaf child who makes the obvious sign-language symbol for gun,  to “say” his own name, because his first name is “Hunter”

5. Expelling a student and bringing charges of criminal assault for shooting another student with a spitball through a straw

6. Accidentally bringing a paring knife to school in a lunch box

7. Drawing a picture of your father holding a gun

8. Playing with a LEGO figure carrying a LEGO automatic weapon

9. Drawing a picture of a gun

10. Writing a poem about the Newtown shooting.

I  received a lot of responses on the blog, more off-site. I never published the final results, however, which also takes into consideration my own positions. Here, from most defensible to most insane, is the current order, and why each entry landed where it did: Continue reading

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Filed under U.S. Society, Government & Politics, Education, Rights, Childhood and children

KABOOM! “Hey! Let’s Torture Our Son For His Own Good!”

This was a bad one...

This was a bad one.

I really need my brains right now. I have an intellectual property legal ethics seminar to write, and an aggravating commentary on the ridiculous stand-off over gay marriage in Alabama. And yet there are my brains, scattered all over the ceiling and walls after the first KABOOM! of 2015.

That’s one more reason to be furious at Elizabeth Hupp, Rose Brewer,  and Denise Kroutil, otherwise known (here) as the Cretin Family.  That, and the fact that they are brutal, child abusing idiots. You see, Auntie Denise was concerned that Hupp’s six-year-old son wasn’t sufficiently wary of strangers. Grandma Rose agreed, so with Mom’s approval, they arranged to have a stranger kidnap the child, imprison him, and terrorize him.

Followed by a stern lecture.

Let me know when your head blows up as I relate this ridiculous/horrible/unbelievable but true story. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement

The Demon Barber Of Snelville

shamecut

A barbershop in the Atlanta suburb of Snelville offers parents the opportunity to give their misbehaving little boys a punishment they’ll never forget.  A-1 Kutz will give the boys a “Benjamin Button Special,” free of charge, a haircut invented by Russell Fredrick and his team of barbers that makes tykes look like balding progeria victims.

Gee, what a good idea.

Fredrick  is a 34-year-old father of three, and first tried the disfiguring haircut on his 12-year-old son, Rushawn, last fall. He claims it was a great success, since Rushawn’s grades“dramatically skyrocketed” after he was humiliated. And we all know the ends justify the means. Now, he claims, there has been a surge of interest from other parents.He told the Washington Post that he thinks African-American parents are looking for alternative ways of discipline after the uproar over Adrian Peterson—yes, that other NFL role-model–leaving bruises and welts on his four-year-old with a tree branch. All right, I’ll concede that humiliating a child among his peers and using childhood cruelty as a tool of discipline might be preferable to putting your child in the hospital because you beat the crap out of him. I will not concede that those are the only options, or that African American parents are so devoid of imagination and compassion that the only forms of discipline they can envision are forms of cruelty.
Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Health and Medicine, Professions, Race

And Now A Brief Public School KABOOM! From Your Sponsor…

exploding-head

There were fewer Ethics Alarms posts last year about outrageous conduct by public school teachers and administrators. I think this was because my brain was trying to save itself from ending up on the ceiling, as it so frequently does in these KABOOM! inducing stories.

And here is the first one of 2015…

In Gustine, Texas, population 457, there is just one schoolhouse for the elementary school kids. Apparently some incontinent young prankster has repeatedly deposited #2 on the gym floor, and since they had no clues, teachers rounded up two dozen student suspects—some as old as 12–and ordered them  “to pull down their pants” so the teachers could “check them to see if they could find anything.”

I’ll tell you what teachers would find if they tried that on my kid: a criminal complaint and an arrest warrant. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Kaboom!