Puh-leeeeese. PTSD? I DON'T think so!

There is a ‘news’ story that has broken here in Melbourne this morning about a case where a primary (grade) school teacher, in order to teach her pupils a lesson in manners, put some sticky tape over the mouths of a couple of the kids. Apparently it was done in a humorous way, and at least it got the rotters to shut-up for a while.

OK, probably not the smartest thing for the teacher to do. But I think I can understand her frustration. And it was not done with ‘malicious’ intent, nor was it in any way meant to harm the kids. I’m sure most of us have endured far, FAR worse punishments for our misbehaviours over the years, especially while at school. The strap, isolation, slamming desk-lids on heads and fingertips…we all seemed to survive somehow.

Anyway, now the parents are jumping up and down, claiming that their little darlings are suffering from post-traumatic stress-disorder. EXCUSE ME? PTSD for getting some sticky-tape over your mouth for a few minutes? I don’t think so! Kids themselves do ‘restraining’ things to each other all the time. It doesn’t seem to harm them too much.

Interestingly, this event happened 16 months ago, and it is only NOW that the parents are complaining. Do I detect a whiff of a law-suit in the air? Give us a fucking break will you. Your kids were being little arseholes. The teacher thought she’d try a different approach. And now you’re screaming ABUSE??

I shake my head and wonder what the hell the world is coming to.

Hmmm. I can see her point. Kids are…well icky. It would be nice to shut them up whenever you can.

But she probably should have used better judgement. Putting tape over their mouths isn’t acceptable, and even though kids can get to you, I think that if you’re around small children, you have to be prepared for them to act horribly.

Incidentally, kambuckta, you’re approaching your Mark of the Beast in terms of post count. Psyched? :wink:

Tape over the mouth is not acceptable. What if they were allergic to the adhesive (like I am). May only cause redness, itchiness and a few pustules, but may also cause anaphylactic shock.

OK, this is not going to be a common condition and in all liklihood, nothing at all was going to go bad … but, tape ove the mouth is not an acceptable way to deal with children, regardless of the age.

I think it may be extreme to call it abuse and I agree that PTSD is probably way off the target, but the teacher should not have done this. There are acceptable methods of dealing with kid who are giving your grief, but taping their mouth shut is not one of them.

The teacher should have been reprimanded / suspended ** when it happened **, but to bring suit after this amount of time has passed smells fishy.

I agree with Caught@Work about the sheer irresponsibility of the teacher’s action here (mum of an asthmatic child who has seen severe asthma attacks triggered by odd environmental things, never mind the fact that fear of not being able to breathe properly with her mouth taped would probably induce an asthma attack in my child).

I would have been outraged had this been done to my child and they would have heard me yelling and screaming about it all the way up to the Minister for Education.

That said, I think that suing for compensation is pure opportunism on the part of the parents.

The teacher deserved to face strong disciplinary action, and I probably would have demanded that she be required to undertake some kind of training in age-appropriate, safe, disciplinary measures before being allowed back in the classroom - but the lawsuit deserves to be dismissed with costs against the parents.

And yes, the delay suggests that compensation was NOT the parents’ initial thought but a course which might have occured to them following recent large awards against schools.

Again, if a school had done something so outrageous to my child that I felt litigation was warranted I would have initiated it within DAYS of the school failing to immediately and adequately address the incident.

I agree with reprise and Caught@work.

I do feel sorry for teachers, though. They are expected to do miracles, without being allowed much in the way of authority. Putting tape over a child’s mouth is not appropriate at all, for many reasons however and the teacher should’ve been disciplined at the time.

That said, claiming PTSD 16 months later is a joke. Can someone put tape over the parents mouths ?

Well given that it takes time to establish whether or not PTSD is present and it takes time to find a lawyer to represent I’m not all that surprised by the time lag.

I can honestly say that if a teacher taped my child’s mouth up, I would do everything in my power to have that teacher experience some consequences. And given my son’s history of anxiety disorder and school phobia, I’d be looking for someone to pay for the homeschooling and the psychologists we’d be needing.

Goo, I don’t agree that teachers don’t have authority. I’ve got a kid who was diabolical in the classroom and the teacher had the ultimate authority of suspension as an option. I don’t know what it’s like in other states but schools here certainly can suspend kids quite lightly. Whether or not that suspension accomplishes anything is another matter entirely.

That brings the question: Is suspension actually a punishment for kids who don’t want to be there? does it help kids learn better how to behave within a school environment?

(not that tape and humiliation will do any of that either, but still.)

PTSD I think is triggered by, um, you know…stress and trauma? Repeatedly almost dying and watching those around you die is stress and trauma. Keeping your trap shut a moment and being laughed at is annoying and humiliating but a reasonably healthy soul should be able to get over it and move on with life. No damage done, except to the teacher who gets shipped back to teacher school and handed a clue.

Which they can then beat the parents with.

Suspension was absolutely no freaking punishment! It was a terrific way to go and hang out in the principal’s office having a really cool time reading what he wanted to read and talking about interesting stuff. P the Elder adored suspensions. Hated being in the classroom which was busy, noisy and where he was expected to do work.

I flatly refused to allow them to impose an in-home suspension. The only person who gets punished by those is the parents ;). I still maintain there were ways of getting through to the boy without using suspension but WTF did I know? I’m just the parent. Homeschooling has been the right answer for us.

Yep, I SO agree with you Prim!! My youngest kid has been ‘suspended’ (at home) a couple of times this year, and as far as he was concerned, it was a legit few days off school!
IMHO, it would have been far more effective to make him sit outside the principals office for the days involved. It would have bored him stupid, and would have been more of a punishment than sitting at home watching “Jerry” or “Rikki” for the duration. I was not able to take the time off from MY school/work to make sure that he was FEELING the effects of being suspended, so suspensions are absolutely pointless as far as I am concerned.

Bung the sticky-tape on…with superglue as well!!

Getting your position mortared in the jungle can cause PTSD.

Being gassed in the trenches can cause PTSD.

Running into the Twin Towers right after they fell can cause PTSD.

Being raped can cause PTSD.

Watching Snow Dogs can cause PTSD.

But somehow, tape over the mouth doesn’t seem like it would be likely to do it. How many of you have taped your friend’s mouths shut before? If, as it was stated in the OP, done in jest, I somehow doubt that they will be having flashbacks and shakes for the next 30 years. Maybe it is over-litigatious. Should parents be sueing of a teacher tells a student to shut up and fly straight?

However, I could have just had my keyboard hijacked by stupidity.

Claiming PTSD in such situations has become commonplace in Australia, particularly where litigation is in the wind. I realise that to the psychiatric community, PTSD is the name for a specific condition that occurs only in extreme circumstances.

But to the personal injury claimant community (which comprises plaintiff’s lawyers, and their pet medicos) PTSD just means “the victim was saddened/upset/annoyed/grumpy as a result of the incident”.

The reason they do this is that being saddened/upset/annoyed/grumpy as a result of an incident is not enough to claim damages, particularly where there was no physical injury. But if you claim to suffer An Actual Medical Disorder With An Important-Sounding Name, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, then suddenly you have an injury (albeit psychological) and manna from heaven starts to flow.

I could go along to a shrink tomorrow and say the right things and he would do me up a nice little report saying I suffered from PTSD. There’s no physical way of checking, and it’s not hard to find out what to say.

Not too hard for the parents involved to talk their children’s upset up into the symptoms of PTSD, damn quick.

I basically agree that taping up the kids lips was out of order (though it depends on the spirit in which it was done) but Kambuckta’s OP was actually directed more at the claim for PTSD than the teacher’s actions in the first place.

Just thought I’d chime in here.

When I was in first grade a teacher taped my mouth shut.

Let me explain a little further. This bastard didn’t tell me to be quiet, the tape was a first resort, not a last one. He came up from behind and whipped it across my face, scaring the hell out of me. He then loudly made fun of me and encouraged the other kids to laugh at me.

Being only 7 years old I started to cry. What happens when you cry? Your nose gets all snotty and you need to breathe through your mouth. So I pulled the tape off. He then got real angry at me and not only put the tape back on, but added more. I pulled it off again. He put it on again and threatened to slap me if I touched it again. But I was having trouble breathing, so I reached for it. And he grabbed my hands hard enough to leave bruises and was yelling at me, making fun of me, calling me a crybaby and telling me I deserved worse. I was starting to panic, because I couldn’t breathe properly through my nose and not at all through my mouth. I kept trying to move my jaw to loosen the tape, and I was struggling in my panic, which just made him more angry. He was yelling at me to stop squirming, to sit down and shut up and behave and I was just looking for attention and it wasn’t that bad.

Finally, he ripped the tape off and shoved me into the hallway. He told me if I told anyone I’d suffer a lot worse than “just a little tape”.

I didn’t tell anyone for six months, I was so scared. I thought maybe next time he’d tape up my whole face and I’d die, right there in class in front of everybody.

When the story did get out, the teacher claimed it “I was just kidding around” (could have fooled me!) and “it was just a little piece of scotch tape” (it was 4 or 5 pieces of inch-wide masking tape) and “you know how little girls are…the get hysterical over nothing.” (I couldn’t breathe you motherfucking diseased scrotum). Gee, I guess things look completely different when you’re an adult, 6 feet tall, and making fun of a crying little girl who isn’t capable of fighting you.

So… that’s my “just a little tape” story, which I vividly remember 30 years later. I’m not claiming PTSD, but the notion this is somehow harmless is bullshit

Fact is, none of us know all the details of what went on, do we? So how in the hell can anyone of you decide whether this was OK or not?

laughing out loud

You guys are whackos. When I was in school between the age of 7 and 11. Professors has the right to hit us with wood and aluminium rulers on the palms of our hands when we didn’t do our homework. It hurts like hell but it DOESN’T induce post traumatic stress disorder or whatever you want to call that bullshit. What it actually induces is a greater motivation to actually do the damn homework.

And now you come whining about a tape on the mouth saying it can cause…what was it again? Anaphylactic shock! Wow! Man! That sure is a great risk. Almost as great as being hit by lightening or stung by a mutant spider…

Give it a fucking rest. This world is not a fluffy pink one and it isn’t going to become one because of something as innocent as taping a kid’s mouth.

I’m not condoning painful physical punishment in schools (mainly because you get used to the pain and stop caring as much after a while) but you guys are crossing the line.

Oooooh Gozu stop it with that tough talk, you’re turning all the women on and making me feel like a pussy, you big tough real man, you.

I agree with the OP that calling this “PTSD” is silly, especially sixteen months after the fact…however, taping a child’s mouth shut can be extremely dangerous.

I cannot use masking tape without subsequently needing my albuterol inhaler. I also need my inhaler if we drive past the 3M plant in Springfield, MO. My athsma is much less severe now than it was in my childhood.

I have never had tape right up on my face (for obvious reasons), but I imagine that, in a child with chronic athsma, anaphylactic shock would not be out of the question.

In my case, the results of putting tape on my mouth would have been immediately apparent; I would have
A.) left school via ambulance, or
B.) Been brought to the ER directly after school by my angry parents.

I think the teacher should be disciplined in some way, but I doubt that these particular kids were seriously harmed. If they were harmed, would the parents have waited so long to complain?


Huh? What’s different? Aren’t you, the parent, “punished” in the homeschooling scenario as well?

Well, as Broomstick said we don’t know the exact events that occured… but as to the anaphylactic shock issue: If I had a kid to was allergic to tape, I’d make DAMN sure the school and teachers knew about it! After all, we all know how unlikely it is that a school child would run across TAPE!

**I do feel sorry for teachers, though. They are expected to do miracles, without being allowed much in the way of authority. **

Boy ain’t that the truth. They can’t so much as kick a kid out of their classroom anymore without getting sued.

Remember the days when parents and teachers worked TOGETHER?

This brings back memories…

I can’t recall the number of times Miss Davis (my fourth grade teacher) told me “If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to tape your mouth shut!”.

Well whaddya know? One day, she finally did. Then the next time I talked too much, she did it again. I think at some point, I finally got the message: “Talk out of turn, mouth gets taped.”

Does this mean I can sue the schools now? Woo Hoo!!! Payday for Spit, and the drinks are on me!!!

Though in fairness, I thought (at the time) taping was funny…Not nearly like when Mrs. Garrett gave me a “B” in reading because I talked too much. That “B” has stuck with me through the years. Would I have a case there? It was sorta PTSD.

I mean look, it turned me into the type of person that thinks a parent that would sue over that sort of thing is a moron. Obviously there is something wrong here. I want reparations dammit! I demand my day in court!

I had one teacher yank my hair because he evidently thought I was trying to arm-wrestle a classmate.