Watching This School Principal Drag Kindergarten Students May Make You Consider Homeschooling

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 6.14.33 AMI’m sure being a principal is an amazingly stressful job but that doesn’t excuse dragging five-year-olds from classrooms by their limbs. That’s what caused the suspension of school principal Carmen Perez-Dickson in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Chief administrative officer for the school district said that her recommendation was that the school board fire Perez-Dickson, but instead the school board decided to suspend her for six months. She will return to her role as an administrator in March. From NBC Connecticut.com:
“The board did not exactly agree with us, so the action that was taken was not what we recommended. If I saw the same evidence and saw the same video today, we’d support the same recommendation we made at the time,” Kase said.

The video went public on Friday and the incidents took place in 2012. The parents of the children involved released the following:

Board members were divided on the punishment for Dickson. Leticia Colon voted to have her fired.

“Children go to school to learn and to be respected and we are an example. And if we start to bully, then we can’t expect much from these children. They will learn to bully others,” Colon said.

This is just my opinion, but I don’t think this woman should be anywhere near children. I can’t even imagine how dangerous this is, considering a kid could easily have an arm pop out of its socket, and there has to be another way of handling kids who are acting disruptive in classrooms. I’m not sure exactly what the principal’s new role will be, but as a parent I would have a hard time with my kid attending a school she was still connected with. I know kids can be unruly and difficult to deal with, but it’s hard for me to imagine anything a kindergarten student could do which would result in them being dragged around like a sack of potatoes like this.

(Image: Live Leak)

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    • jackiett

      Suspended? And coming back to abuse other children? Fired? And going
      someplace else to abuse other children? This woman is assaulting a child under her care. Isn’t that criminal?

    • Natasha B

      Suspended? Are you serious? The hell is wrong with people….that one kid was just messing around on the seat! And they’re kindergartners! I can understand if something is happening in a classroom and you have to forcibly remove a child, but it should be done properly, I would think. Not just dragging the kid around.
      She could have injured these children-our son had really bad ‘nursemaid’s elbow’ for a period-he fell off the couch, dislocated his elbow. Tripped and fell down two stairs, dislocated his elbow. If he had been picked up by his forearm and leg like the first child, it would have without a doubt dislocated his elbow. Thankfully he has outgrown it, but it was a harrowing period where every time he fell I would panic.

    • Katie

      I am so sick of blogs and websites acting like this is the only kind if thing that goes on in schools. Yes, this principal made a bad choice, I’m not denying that. Plus I wish I could say I don’t know either what a kindergarten student could do to justify this, but even in the affluent school I taught at I’ve seen kids that young throw chairs and throw tantrums so violent, the class had to be evacuated.

      All of that is a side note to my main point. When is the last time you featured an article celebrating something a school had done? I looked through everything you have tagged with “school” and there wasn’t a single positive article about a school in the past two years. So either you are writing these articles and your tagging system is crap or you are feeding into this frenzy of how evil schools are that the media LOVES to talk about.

      The thing that really pisses me off is that when asked individually almost every single one of you would probably say how much you respect teachers and they deserve raises and yet all you publish about schools is this crap. No wonder the vast majority of us who do our job well (99.999%) aren’t treated as professionals.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter
      • Katie

        Perhaps you should go on because the only point you’ve made is that the only time we should write about teachers is when they’re literally saving lives during crises which affect a minute fraction of students. Oh and a list of common sense tips for dealing with a teacher that if tweaked could be applied to almost any relationship.

        But you’re actually proving my point for me. I even said that when asked you would say you support teachers individually. However by posting these inflammatory pieces you are contributing to the erosion of respect for the teaching profession (which is only the beginning of the spiral down to ineffective education).

        What good does it do to post that article? It’s not like this is some prevalent, wide spread issue that we need to spread awareness about. Some principal did something stupid (that chances are will never happen at the schools the children of your readers will/do attend) and the only reason to post it is to whip up the mob into a frenzy.

        How about you start featuring weekly articles about the specific and positive things schools are doing and encourage your readers to take these practices back to their own schools. Maybe that’s a real way to show you are pro educator.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        are you a teacher?

      • Crusty Socks

        “No wonder the vast majority of us who do our job well (99.999%) aren’t treated as professionals.”

        sounds like it.

      • TngldBlue

        Bad news makes news, this is not revolutionary nor a phenomenon exclusive to mommyish. This is a parenting blog, therefore they write about news stories that are interesting to parents. I, personally, have had many in depth discussions with commenters who are educators, administrators, daycare workers, and coaches on mommyish all sparked by various articles here-good and bad. And that is the point of this site, to initiate a conversation. We’re all adults here capable of understanding this is a singular incident not reflective of the entire educational system. I would have loved to hear your insight on the incident, since I am not a teacher nor do I work in a school you could have provided us readers with a different perspective. The only person contributing to the erosion of respect for the teaching profession, as far as I can see, is this principle.

      • Katherine Handcock

        I think what Katie’s getting at here isn’t that you don’t
        also publish things about good teachers, it’s the implications behind the articles. Using the links above as examples, only one referred to teachers as a whole profession; the rest were about a specific teacher, or a small group of teachers at one institution. But when you published this article, the implication of the title was that this one bad principal should make parents want to give up on the public school system altogether – that this one act by one person is enough to ruin the reputation many good teachers and administrators have built.

        I don’t by any means think that this is your (or Mommyish’s) actual opinion, and I do think you guys are very pro educator. But I can understand how frustrated and sensitive the teachers and principals who work hard to do their job well can get, because often the general attitude of people at large seems to be that many/most teachers aren’t working hard, don’t deserve respect, etc.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Ok, Eve, you know I love you but there were 2 anti-educator articles in just this 1 day and 1 only a few days ago. (And one of those positive articles is pretty old). Try doing this same search with anti-educator articles and see how you feel about it afterwards. I agree the comments usually end up pro educator, but the headlines aren’t always that way, and we need some encouragement, not to feel like everyone just sees the shitty examples and hates us. The second one from today really depressed me and now I wish my degree was good for something else. But it’s not…. :(

      • Kay_Sue

        I think that the lack of respect for educators has less to do with the focus on people doing extreme things, read on a blog by folks that (as you point out) do have respect for teachers, and more to do with the lack of respect our legislators have for the field, to be honest. When they are sending the message that anyone could do your job, and none of you are doing it right, it’s easier for the masses to begin to confuse the professional status of educators.

        I read this and I don’t think, “God, all teachers and administrators are awful. I should totally stop respecting them.” I think, “Damn, I’ve never really stopped to appreciate my son’s principal’s good natured and easy way of handling children. I owe that woman some cookies.”

      • JLH1986

        My good friend is a kindergarten teacher. Parents think she has far more power than she does. The understanding of what a teacher and principal are supposed to do, what states are requiring them to do, plus managing children gets all muddled up. I agree. After reading this I didn’t think “Principals SUCK!” What I thought was “man that principal sucks”.

      • Kay_Sue

        Yup. They are all caught in a vortex of outside forces that they can’t control and that limit what they can do in any given situation. It would take a couple of nifty little flowcharts, I think, for people to really understand what goes into it.

      • Alicia Kiner

        This. I’ve had experience the past couple of years being the “room mom.” Basically, whenever the teacher is doing something that requires some assistance with the 20+ kids, I come in and lend a hand. With this, I’ve realized I couldn’t teach. I don’t have the patience for it. I have the heart. I want to help people, but I would go crazy with the amount of kids and all their individual needs.
        I do think some school admins and especially some superintendents aren’t doing a great job, that they’re in it for the paycheck. But there are far more teachers that are doing a fantastic job, day in, day out, with our kids. Limited by rules and regulations set by people who don’t understand, belittled by people who think they should get a “real job,” and constantly told that they get paid too much when they don’t work summers.

      • Kay_Sue

        And that’s over and above a consistent lack of funding for what we ask of them. I couldn’t do it either.

      • Crusty Socks

        I agree with Katie, we should be talking about the POSITIVE things this principal did.

        OK, go!

      • Alex Lee

        She defused a potentially disruptive classroom situation while simultaneously sweeping the floor?

      • Crusty Socks

        Yea, but did you watch the vid? She clearly missed some spots. Now you have unevenly cleaned floors, which is even worse.

      • Valerie

        Surely these could be made in “big kid” sizes:

      • Katie L.

        I completely agree. You know what my principal did today? He covered my class for a few minutes so I could use the restroom. Of course what this woman did was unacceptable but most principals don’t fall into this category.

        I think Mommyish is pro-teacher but I’d still love to see a “Teacher/Principal goes to work, does their job, kids learn” type article. But those aren’t as exciting as bad educator/hero educator articles.

      • Angela

        Actually I think that would be a great idea to have parents submit stories about teachers who went above and beyond for their child. Also it could be fun for teachers to anonymously submit stories about nightmare parents just to even things out.

      • Kay_Sue

        I would read the shit out of some nightmare parent stories.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        I have some too but by the time you change all the details to make it untraceable so I don’t end up in the news for being “the teacher who gossiped on a parenting website” it takes all the fun out. But I think my favorite might have been the parent who all cap email screamed at me for asking her pwecious snowflake to turn his inappropriate shirt inside out. Then when she didn’t get an apologetic response from me (because I followed the policy) she called my assistant principal. When she agreed with me, she called the principal. When he agreed with me, thank God she just screamed at him a little while and gave up.

      • Kay_Sue

        God forbid you correct a precious little snowflake. What do you think that is, your job? Trying to maintain an appropriate classroom environment? /sarcasm *shakes head*

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Dear God that email was epic. I saved it for a long time in case I decided to frame it or something. After the panic of feeling attacked left, it was pretty funny.

      • Katie L.

        Oh parent stories…I have them. I’ve been lucky to have some great parents overall, but hoo boy have there been some crazy ones.

    • JaneDoe27

      I have a daughter in grade 8. On a regular basis, the principal will ask her to come to the kindergarden classroom to “calm down” two different kids who are throwing tantrums. She seems to have a good way with these little boys and I am proud of her. But I always ask myself – why the hell can’t the (fully trained and paid) teacher do this !!?? Why are they counting on a sensible 13 year old girl? When I ask my daughter how she is able to work with these two difficult children she says “I just treat them with respect and don’t yell at them. Nobody likes being yelled at, it just makes them worse”. From the mouths of babes….

      • Alex Lee

        The kids, in this case, might see the adult as more-intimidating than your teenage daughter. It could be inferred that the kindergarteners are already not listening to the adult teacher, so the principal is trying a more kid-friendly approach. It seems to be working so far.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        Yeah I basically think Janedoe’s kid should get a raise for this haha

      • Alex Lee

        Some jobs you just have to outsource…

      • Angela

        When I was a tween I loved kids and babysat them a lot. A lot of them were so excited to be friends with one of the big kids that it made for a very different dynamic. It was almost like hero worship. It’s definitely not the same with my own kids no matter how respectful I am. That said, I don’t agree with the teachers relying on your daughter to maintain control of their classroom. She needs to be able stay in her own class to learn, not acting as an unpaid teacher. The teacher really needs to work with the kids parents and figure out how to handle the tantrums on her own or with other school employees.

      • Muggle

        I think it’s also that kids are more likely to listen to other kids, than they are to adults. Especially if those other kids are the “cool big kids.”

      • Rachel Sea

        One of my elementary schools did this. It was K to 8, and the younger kids modeled their behavior to their older grade buddy. Sometimes if a younger student was having an issue, they’d call in the older student to diffuse it. The dynamic between little kids and Big Kids is such that little kids get a grip in a hurry so as not to disappoint their older peer.

    • Jessifer

      I guess times have changed since since I was a kid. If my parents had found out that a principal had to drag me all the way to her office because I refused to get up and follow her, I’d be the one in big trouble, not the principal.

      • Alexandra

        THIS! My mother would have killed me if I’d been behaving like this. 6 is not 2 or 3. 6 is old enough to know better or there’s a behavioral problem that maybe needs to be addressed at home.

    • Alicia Kiner

      You’d be surprised what a kindergartner is capable of. In my daughter’s grade, there was a kid who would push, kick, punch, bite, etc the other students and the pregnant teacher. He even put his hands around another kid’s throat. The teacher decided to quit because she feared for her unborn baby because of the strength of the kid. This is the same kid who told my daughter in first grade that he would “squeeze her neck until she stopped breathing.” Kids can be dangerous to themselves and each other. Forcibly removing them sometimes IS the best option, though I think there are better ways than dragging the kid down the hall. At least have another adult help carry the kid out.

      • Angela

        Plus, these kids did not seem to be truly out of control. In the second example the child was definitely not hurting anyone or throwing a fit but the lady just walks up and grabbed her. We do not see her even trying to talk to the child first or try any other way to get her to come with her.

    • tk88

      They’re 5…why didn’t she just pick them up and carry them instead of dragging them? It’s wrong the way she did it, however while watching I can’t help but think about how a young boy I watch frequently asks me to drag him across the floor by his arms because he thinks it’s great fun.

      • Guest

        I remember some uber-violent kids in my elementary school and they would just get the very large principal to come bear hug him and take him to the office. Meanwhile the kid was spitting, biting, throwing chairs, and one time ran out of the school into traffic.

      • Valerie

        My daughter is only 6 years old but 54 pounds and 52 inches tall. I can barely pick her up when she’s in a happy mood but if she were throwing a fit? No chance. Not saying I support what this principal did, just that kindergarteners are not the size of toddlers. “Just” picking them up is not always as easy as it sounds.

    • Angela

      Alright, so I understand why 5 year olds aren’t always cooperative and that sometimes you may need to physically help them get to where they need to go but:

      1) We don’t see the preceding events in the first segment but the second kid she walks up and immediately starts dragging across the room. She may have been barking out commands on her way over but she certainly did not get down on the kid’s level, establish eye contact, and then gently phrase her request. She did not try taking her gently by the hand and leading her to where they needed to go. It appears that she didn’t even try any other tactics.
      2) You should NEVER drag a child by the wrists or ankles. If she had exhausted all other efforts I wouldn’t oppose holding on under the armpits to drag them or physically carrying them. If the kid is violent or struggling (which these children did not appear to be) then you enlist another adult to help or you wait it out with them until they have calmed down.

      • G.E. Phillips

        AT one point she drags the child by the back of the shirt, too. There’s no reason for that.

      • Lu

        Teachers (school personnel, etc) really should not carry children over the age of three, unless it is a legitimate medical emergency. I am a preschool teacher and I have been in situations where 3-5 year olds have started to throw a fit for whatever reason and would not allow me to take them to a safe area. If the child is 3, I will carry them briefly in this situation. If they are 4/5, allowing them to sit in the hallway (or on those seats!) until they were ready to walk. If they’re not cooperating enough to walk, there’s no use in taking them to the office anyway. They’re not ready. At least in the hall you’re not alone with them.

      • Angela

        Yes, that too. I can understand needing to get them out of the classroom if they are disrupting the other students but once you get to the hallway there’s no reason to let them calm down there until they’re ready to walk. To tell the truth though neither of those students looked wildly out of control to me. I strongly suspect that had this principal put forth even minimal effort she could have managed the situation without force.

    • Reba

      You know, I’d totally be pissed if this was my kid, but on the other hand if my kid was being a brat and refusing to go with the principal I’d be like ”dude just drag her butt to your office” ha ha. Certain school officials are allowed to handle kids that are being defiant and are trained in child restraint and whatnot, so honestly she should have called one of them and not touched the kid. but still, this isn’t that bad.

    • AP

      I’m torn on this issue. On the one hand, I know how disruptive some of these kids are. I’ve worked with kids like that and they absolutely need to be removed for the protection of the other children and the staff. I support a principal being allowed to physically remove a child from class if their behavior is excessively disruptive or harmful to others.

      However, when I was in school, teachers did this fairly often to kids. The kids who usually got grabbed by teachers, principals, etc., were rarely the ones who were excessively disruptive or harmful to class. They were often the kids who’d been the victim of some other child, who were being punished for speaking up and causing the teacher extra work (write ups, parent meetings, detention.) The kid who choked Timmy until he turned blue gets a slap on the wrist because he’s troubled and there’s nothing the school can do about that; Timmy gets a reputation for being a wuss who made the teacher miss her hair appointment, and is treated as a nuisance.

    • G.E. Phillips

      First, I am going to say that as a resident of Connecticut, I am well aware that the Bridgeport school system is one of the poorest and lowest-acheiving in the state. It’s an at-risk area, and considering how wealthy the state–the county, actually–is, I wish there was a way to allocate more funds towards the district to improve the quality of the experience for students and faculty alike. Bridgeport teachers are probably underpaid, overworked, under trained, and certainly under appreciated (even more so than the average teacher.)

      That being said, there is no excuse for what this principal did. If the child’s behavior warranted being physically removed from the situation, and she was unable to lift the child herself, she should have called in another staff person to help her. Actually, isn’t that like a law or something? Teachers are supposed to have an adult witness present when a student is being disciplined?

    • Muggle

      Yeah, I’d be homeschooling if my only option was sending my kid to a school where this shit happened more than once. It’s one thing to carry a child to the office, it’s another to grab them by the wrists or ankles or shirt and DRAG them. wtf?! You can hurt a kid pretty badly doing that.

    • Rachel Sea

      I don’t think the actual dragging is the worst thing ever, on a linoleum floor it takes very little to slide a kid around (we used to do this to each other on the multi-purpose room floor for fun when I was a kid). I do find it very concerning that this is her go-to. If this is what she thinks she has to resort to, then she doesn’t have the skills or personal resources necessary to be an effective administrator, and she should either be in a different position, or not work with children at all.

    • Savannah61

      I teach special ed & I have had to remove students in kindergarten from a class because they became disruptive & unsafe. But I used the restraint & transport methods laid out by my district that I was trained to use. My principals are trained as well. How this principal removed the students would definitely not fall under my district’s guidelines & was inappropriate, in my opinion. Removing them might have been necessary, but she should have done something different.

      I also agree with the commenter who wished for stories about teachers teaching, principals doing their job, & kids learning. Because there is some seriously awesome stuff happening in our schools that most people don’t ever hear about. We hear stories about teachers protecting their students in horrible situations and we hear about cases like this. But we don’t hear enough about the great day-to-day things teachers & principals do to help kids learn.