Tag Archives: child abuse

So It Has Come To This: Criminalizing Burps In Middle School

At  Cleveland Middle School in Albuquerque, a persistent class clown, age 13, kept burping in class, followed by the usual titters from his classmates.

I was in class with one of these characters in the 8th grade, and I must admit, his burp was something: loud, long, low, and seemingly inexhaustible. He was yanked out of class, he was sent to detention, his parents were called, he was suspended, and eventually, without too much conflict, he learned to cut it out. (They never caught the guy who shouted “HOG!” in a raucous voice during study hall.) Apparently this method was beyond the abilities of the  Cleveland Middle School staff to execute.

The teacher, Ms. Mines-Hornbeck, called the police, who arrested and eventually cuffed the boy. Principal Susan LaBarge and Assistant Principal Ann Holmes  not only suspended him for the rest of the school year, but allowed the criminal justice process to proceed, with the boy being processed for the charge of  violating a New Mexico statute, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-20-13(D), that reads…

No person shall willfully interfere with the educational process of any public or private school by committing, threatening to commit or inciting others to commit any act which would disrupt, impair, interfere with or obstruct the lawful mission, processes, procedures or functions of a public or private school.

That’s right: arrest and criminal prosecution for burping in class.

None of the staff at the school, apparently, had an ethics alarm go off that induced them to point out that the year long suspension was an unethically harsh punishment, and the criminal charge was tantamount to child abuse. I remember that in the fourth grade at Parmenter School in Arlington, Mass, my friend Timmy Russell was moved to leap to his feet during a math lesson and do a ten second imitation of Elvis singing “Hound Dog.” Everyone laughed, including the teacher. Then, that burst of childish energy over, she went on with the lesson, because she was a confident professional.

In New Mexico, 2016, Timmy would have broken the law. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: “Hot As Hell” Bikinis For Toddlers

We haven’t had a good “Icky or Unethical?”  issue for a while. Here is one to start off your week…strangely.

Last weekend, as I’m sure you all know, commenced Miami Swim Week 2016, which runs though July 19. During the  swimwear fashion and trade show (now in its 12th year!), designers, buyers and models from around the world come to Miami Beach to promote the latest in swim wear.

This year, the brand Hot As Hell featured adult-style bathing suits for little girls. Tiny models walked down the runway, strutting their stuff. Often they were accompanied by full grown models wearing similar out fits, like this…

Hot as Hell2

or this…

NINTCHDBPICT000252438834

Many observers were horrified, and  pronounced the bikinis, the line, and the runway display disturbing, child porn, titillation for pederasts, child abuse, and another dangerous step into the societal abyss of sexualizing childhood. Others have responded with “Aw, they’re so cute!”, “Oh, get over it” and “You’re the one with the dirty mind!”

Hmmmm.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz to begin this Republican National Convention Week of Shame is…

Are the kiddie bikinis unethical, or just icky?

Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Marketing and Advertising, U.S. Society

Make America’s Children Props And Billboards Again! Or Rather, Let’s Not…

trump rally Westfield

I hate this.

Using children as props for adults to make their own political or commercial statements is unfair, demeaning and an abuse of power. Oh, maybe putting kids in T-shirts with messages they neither understand nor have consented to convey is not as bad as this exploitation of children for publicity value, perhaps, or this exploitation of kids by their parents, a website and a shameless comedian.  And I know that politicians using his own children as their clueless and unconsenting mouthpieces has a long and shameful history, with such landmarks as President Jimmy Carter trying to use his young daughter Amy as the agent of his own position during a Presidential debate with Ronald Reagan, to Ted Cruz’s employment of his daughters in a campaign video that inspired Washington Post political cartoonist Ann Telnaes to portray the little Cruz girls as monkeys.

Nevertheless, I do hate this stuff, and I’m calling for a cultural consensus that using children as billboards, mouthpeices or props for advocacy purposes, no matter what the cause or context, is wrong. I would like to see politicians, advocates, organizations and movements that use children in this manner pay a steep price in lost contributions and support, until the message is learned that the tactic will not be tolerated. I would like to see any parents who volunteer their kids for this demeaning duty to be properly and decisively shamed.

The photo above is an easy place to start; after all, this was at a Donald Trump appearance in Westfield, Indiana,  and a substantial percentage of the public hates Trump already.

It’s not like the kids are wearing shirts spelling out “GIVE PEACE A CHANCE,” though that would be equally unethical.

_________________

Pointer: Prof. Mike McGregor

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Filed under Childhood and children, Government & Politics, Marketing and Advertising

KABOOM! The Tale Of The Third-Grader’s Racist Brownie Offense: No, I Don’t Understand This At All

brownies explosion

This story made my head explode, and thus it will be tagged “Kaboom!” Unlike most such Kaboom! posts, however, this one is likely to make my head explode every time I read it. Or think about it. Forever.

On June 16, a third grader made a comment about the brownies being served to his class during an end-of-the-year class party at the William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood, New Jersey.  After another student opined that the remark was “racist,” the school called the Collingswood Police Department.

Okay, stop. I’m puzzled already, and my head exploded again just writing that:

  • How could a comment about brownies be racist? Did the child say, ” As with human beings, the blonde brownies are innately superior to the dark ones”? Somehow, I doubt it.
  • Another third grader pronounced the statement as racist. Not a teacher, now. An eight-year old. How can that trigger anything, in a sane world, but a discussion led by the teacher about what is and isn’t racist, and how people shouldn’t leap to such  inflammatory observations, because it makes human interaction difficult if not impossible?
  • The school called the police department? For what? A threatened brownie massacre? How is this conceivably a police matter? Why did the police come?

“What is the nature of your emergency?” “A third-grader in my class made an inappropriate remark about brownies!” “Calling 911 with prank calls is a crime, ma’am. Don’t do this again.” 

It is per se unethical and irresponsible for any police department to treat such trivia seriously.

All right,slogging on… Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: The World’s Cutest Water-skier

waterskiing baby

Keith St. Onge and his wife are professional barefoot water skiers and co-owners of the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, Florida. Last week, they had their six-month old daughter Zyla strap on little tiny skis and finally attempt what her parents had spent weeks training her for–water-skiing. She did it, too, for 686 feet across Lake Silver.  The proud parents filmed her feat and posted the video on YouTube (of course).

The Washington Post notes that many are criticizing the St. Onges for the stunt, claiming child endangerment.  Papa St. Onge defended the unusual pre-toddler (the girl can’t walk yet) activity, saying, “People don’t realize that it was done properly. It was planned and she was ready for it.”

Hmmmm…

Your strange Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Is this ethical parenting?

Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Sports

Ethics Quiz: The Pregnant Bar Patron

"Boy, its a good thing nothing human is living in there!"

“Boy, its a good thing nothing human is living in there!”

This one is so rich with chewy ethical dilemma goodness that I had to interrupt writing another post to get it to you.

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has ruled that bars and restaurants that refuse to serve alcohol or raw fish to pregnant women are committing discrimination. Such a policy by bars and restaurants  violate protections for pregnant women in the city’s Human Rights Law, and constitute illegal bias.

“While covered entities may attempt to justify certain categorical exclusions based on maternal or fetal safety,” the commission said, “using safety as a pretext for discrimination or as a way to reinforce traditional gender norms or stereotypes is unlawful.”

Interestingly, eighteen other states have laws that declare that the use  of alcohol during pregnancy is child abuse.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:

Is it ethical to refuse to sell liquor to a pregnant woman, when the establishment is doing so to protect the fetus from the toxic effects of alcohol, or is it unethical discrimination?

Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Quizzes

DOUBLE KABOOM!! Ignorant, Abusive And Incompetent: How Much More Evidence Do We Need That Our Educators And Schools Are Untrustworthy?

double KABOOM

I’m sorry to endanger the integrity of your head—mine may never be reassembled, by the looks of things—but here are two recent high school horror stories, one in Texas and one in Arizona, and they do not even involve sexual predators or kids being suspended for pretending to shoot someone with a finger gun.

I. The Two Dollar Bill

Two dollar bill

I’m going to just summarize this stunningly stupid story, and you can read the details here. 13-year-old eighth grader Danesiah Neal, a student  at Fort Bend Independent School District’s Christa McAuliffe Middle School, attempted to pay for her lunch one day with a two-dollar bill given to her by her grandmother. The lunch lady had never seen a $2 bill, so she alerted the school administrators, who called the police. THEY had apparently never seen a $2 bill, and told the girl that she was being investigated for counterfeiting, a felony, as the school allowed this idiocy to unfold. They called the grandmother, and told her she was under investigation too.

A campus officer traced the bill to where granny got it, a 7-11, and then cleverly traced the bill to…THE BANK, which informed these officious, incompetent morons that the two is a genuine piece of currency, and has been in circulation since 1862. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society