BATs Leadership Team Releases Statement Against Sit and Stare Policies
The Leadership Team of the Badass Teachers Association would like to make a statement against Sit and Stare policies that some districts may impose on children whose parents refuse them from state testing. Testing season will be upon us this spring. We anticipate large numbers of parents refusing their children from testing this spring. We would like to state that making a child, who refuses to take a state test, sit and stare for hours is abusive. To make an innocent child sit and stare for long periods of time over the course of several days is abusive and a form of harassment. We would encourage any parent to file a formal complaint with their state education department for bullying and harassment against any district that did that to a child.
The New York Allies for Public Education, in which BATs is a member, put it strongly in their released statement about sit and stare policies in New York State (http://www.nysape.org/school-policies-regarding-test-refusa…)
In child care settings for school-age children this type of punishment could be considered corporal punishment by forcing “prolonged lack of movement or motion” and could be a violation of regulations under NYS Social Services Law section 309, part 414.9(e). These child care regulations also state, under part 414.9(b), that “Any discipline used must relate to the child’s action.” Punishing a child for following the direction of parents does not relate to the action of the child in any way. The regulations can be found here http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/childcare/regs/414_SACC_regs.asp#s9
Under the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), Article 2, Section 11, Part 7(a), harassment and bullying are defined as the creation of a hostile environment that would interfere with a student’s mental or emotional well-being. Confining a student to a chair for an hour with nothing to do for six days would certainly create a hostile environment which would interfere with a child’s mental or emotional well-being. The child has done nothing wrong and is being served with a corporal punishment. Parents will file formal DASA reports against districts that intend to enforce these policies. It is clearly harassment and bullying on the part of the school administration and school board to try to persuade parents to allow children to participate in NYS testing. The regulations can be found herehttp://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi… - See more at:http://www.nysape.org/school-policies-regarding-test-refusa…
In most states it is considered child abuse to force a child to sit or stand with no movement for a prolonged period of time. We equate forcing a child to sit and stare at a desk a form of child abuse. It becomes even more horrific and abusive when the child must sit and stare day after day for several weeks during test season. Again we will encourage all parents to please contact their state department of education if this should happen. We also consider it a violation of a child’s right to due process. According to a sampling of school discipline policies nationwide we see that most schools allow their students a “due process” hearing before they are punished. In this case we see that forcing a child to sit and stare for hours is a form of punishment. Students have a right to due process. Before the punishment, students must be told why they are being disciplined and be given the chance to address the situation. The Parents or guardians should be given specific written notice and the student may present evidence in his/her behalf. According to most policies we surveyed the student and parents or guardians have a right to an impartial hearing before the principal or superintendent.
Any district that forces a child to sit and stare for hours on end, day after day, for several weeks is committing state sanctioned child abuse. We will encourage all parents, teachers, and district administrators to please contact your state board of education and state ACLU chapter to report this matter. We would also like to ask you to contact National BATs or your state BATs chapter so that we can make this matter public. Forcing a child to sit for hours at a time is CHILD ABUSE!