Casablanca - Recently, a desperate mother resorted to social media to get help after her child was kicked out of school:
Casablanca – Recently, a desperate mother resorted to social media to get help after her child was kicked out of school:
My child is giving me a hard time and makes trouble at school, and I don’t know what to do about it!! The principal said he hits kids and they isolated him in class. He sits alone. Every time they tell me, “Take your child,” so I had to take him in the middle of the year. They always say, “Take him, take him”; I got tired and took him!…They said, “He’s a troublemaker. We can’t take care of him alone; we have other students to take care of.”
Many educators see suspension as necessary — a strong message about conduct that crosses the line especially when a child or teacher has been physically hurt. Parents, too, whose kids might have been subject to peers’ offenses suggest that students who cause a disruption in class, no matter what age, need to be removed.
The first question one might ask is how a first grader can be kicked out of school. Should children in the early grades ever be suspended?
It is painful to see how kids nowadays are unfairly expected to behave like elderly people everywhere. Life has become so tense and adults so extremely nervous that they can no longer cope with children, regardless of the love, hugs, and kisses they show or give them when in a good mood. Parents expect kids to sit quietly, speak wisely and behave properly at home, at least till they leave for school. At school, teachers are so overwhelmed that they expect kids to be quiet, silent unless asked a question, and very respectful. After school or on weekends, if they can ever go out, most kids find themselves cramped by buildings and surrounded by cars coming from all directions. Jumping and kicking balls around and in between the cars, they hear more praise and prayers from drivers and adult passengers.
Everyone expects children to disconnect from their bodies. I call it Age Expectations Bullying. The case of the child mentioned above is a rather immediate consequence of the absence of special education in Moroccan schools or at least of appropriate layouts in schools and classrooms. If there is no physical education, movement, or art in the curriculum and no equipment or safe playgrounds to play in, I wonder where these kids can use their energy or play. I am an adult and I can’t sit quietly in one place for a long time. Some can work at desks, but some feel better when they sprawl on the floor or on a couch. Otherwise, they feel bored or their minds drift, especially kids in large public school classes with no fun or games. And in the absence of a neighborhood gardens or parks plan, where can these kids, who might already be living in small flats, play after school?
Even in the studio where he is being interviewed, Adam cannot sit quietly. In his little hoarse voice, which one can hardly hear clearly, he makes an innocent “admission:”
I make trouble. I throw stones and pieces of pencil erasers at my classmates. They kicked me out of school because I don’t let them study. I make noise and my teacher suspends me. The principal, too, removes my shoes and hits me (an old Moroccan punishment technique in which the child is made to lie on the ground while two students hold his feet straight using two pieces of wood or an old classroom table and the principal hits the disobedient student right on the feet).
This kid has been kicked out for being a kid. At this early age, I wonder what efforts were made to help him adjust to class. Isn’t suspension at odds with teaching the social and behavioral skills many young students lack? The goal should be teaching appropriate behavior, not sending children home. And what alternative does he have if there is no home schooling in Morocco? I do not think learning math or science is more important than trying to understand a child and get him to adjust first.
Adults sometimes forget that if a kid thinks s/he is naughty and devilish, s/he will act accordingly. The mother said he was isolated at school and was made to sit alone. Careful! Isolating him in this case does not mean separating him from other kids or referring him to a special class. Such kids are usually made to sit at a table alone in a corner or at the back of the classroom after they have been severely reproached and hit. Worse, when asked if she saw a doctor, Adam’s mother disclosed, “I went to see a doctor. I did many things. I took him to all the saints. They all said he is normal and he is just energetic. It will get better with time.” Saints? Why should a child be subjected to all this at an early age? And what effect could such mysterious visits and negative comments have on him?
This kid is simply gifted. He has a lot of energy others might lack. Even as he spoke to the camera, he explained his case as he knows it. He is certainly not shy with strangers!
At the end, the mother revealed that she hopes her child can get help. “I hope associations would help me educate my kid. I don’t have the resources to do that in any other place, and schools are too expensive.”
Sadly, this child is not giving everyone a hard time; he is having a hard time. It is not that kids are no longer fearful nowadays but that they are kids. They do not mind risking their life and future to feel free and do what they like most.
It takes a lot of patience and energy to educate kids and not just lash out at them or suspend them for their spontaneous behavior and resistance to requests. We are all stressed, but no one said this parenting thing or teaching would always be easy!
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