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Does John Kline think it’s okay to torture and even kill children in school?

by The Big E on March 9, 2010 · 1 comment

Rep. John Kline (R-MN) was elevated to the top minority spot on the House Education and Labor Committee not because he has any expertise in education or much knowledge about economics and labor.  No, he was the highest ranking available Republican not tainted by scandals involving prostitutes, diapers, corruption or some combination thereof.

So consider this little snippet of Kline displaying his ignorance in a New Hampshire newspaper:

Voting yes: Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes, both Democrats.

Abusive student discipline: Voting 262 for and 153 against, the House on Wednesday passed a bill (HR 4247) setting federal standards and authorizing grants to states to curb the abusive discipline of K-12 students in public and private schools. Now before the Senate, the bill addresses practices such as duct-taping and other forcible restraints that inflict harm, seclusion in locked rooms and the application of drugs not prescribed by the student’s doctor. The bill would extend to schools the same federal protection against physical abuse that applies to hospitals and other community institutions receiving federal funds.

Rep. George Miller, a Democrat from California, said: “When these abuses occur, it isn’t just the individual victim who suffers. It hurts their classmates who witness these traumatizing events. It undermines the vast majority of teachers and staff who are trying to give students a quality education. It’s a nightmare for everyone involved.”

Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, said the bill infringes on state authority and is “an invitation to trial lawyers who will eagerly take every opportunity to sue school districts. . . . In fact, there’s a very real danger that schools will stop addressing safety issues entirely out of fear they could be sued.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

This bill is to prevent restraining kids with duct tape, locking in closets or restraining kids in ways that torture or even lead to killing children.

Kline is more concerned about trial attorneys than he is with the safety of our nation’s children.

So Rep. Kline, do you think that the parents of the child who was killed in a classroom by a teacher who sat on the child to restrain him won’t be suing the school district and the teacher right now without this bill being yet enacted?

Rep. Kline, are you really this dumb?  Or are you a Pavlovian Republican who opposes anything the Democrats propose?

Actually, it could be worse …
Here’s the snippet from the article about the child dying at the hand of his teacher (highlighting Kline’s quote):

The question of whether children in school deserve the same constitutional rights that adults demand for themselves has been an open debate for a long time. While freedom of speech issues and freedom from random locker searches and drug tests are less than clear cut, the question of whether 9th Amendment bans on cruel and unusual punishment should apply to school children seems like it should be hard to argue with.

Which is probably why the House of Representatives easily passed a bill on March 3rd to restrict the use of forcible restraint and seclusion on children in schools that receive federal funding.  A companion bill will be debated on the floor of the Senate soon.

According to the New York Times, the bill was in part inspired by a government report last year that found that hundreds of kids of all ages were being emotionally traumatized and physically harmed by being restrained or locked up.  Sometimes even tied to chairs.  Even worse, often the children who were treated this way were kids with developmental disabilities or who were in special education.

In one particularly horrifying incident a special ed 8th grader, Cedric Napoleon, was killed by his 8th grade teacher. “Cedric struggled as he was being held in his chair, so the teacher put him in a face down or in a prone restraint and sat on him,” Cedric’s foster mother, Toni Price, testified before the House Education and Labor Committee in May.

“He struggled and said repeatedly: ‘I can’t breathe.’ ‘If you can speak, you can breathe,’ she snapped at him,” Price relayed. “Shortly after that, he stopped speaking and he stopped struggling.  He stopped moving at all.  The teacher continued to restrain him.  Finally the teacher and aide put Cedric back in his chair. The aide wiped drool off his mouth and they sat him up.  But he slumped over and slipped out of his chair.”

Not all of the Representatives in the debate thought that not allowing schools to use restraints that restrict kid’s breathing or mechanical restraints (except in cases of extreme and imminent danger) or behavior controlling drugs (unless prescribed by a doctor) was a good idea. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., argued that Congress should not tie schools hands when it came to discipline and that “the states and not the federal government should take the lead on developing and implementing these policies.”

No, while Kline isn’t particularly intelligent, he’s more cold to the suffering of children than anything else.  Scrooge step aside, Col. Kline is taking over.

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