General Question

Bri_L's avatar

Does anyone know what the criteria are for emotional abuse?

Asked by Bri_L (12191points) May 28th, 2008

I have just read this article http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerderby/archive/2008/05/27/autistic-boy-voted-out-of-kindergarten-by-classmates.aspx and it said that “the state attorney’s office concluded the matter did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse, so no criminal charges will be filed.” I do not see how this is possible. As some of you may know this is a hot button issue for me. How can this be. What constitutes emotional abuse if this does not? How have we gotten to a place in our society where this is acceptable?

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16 Answers

ebenezer's avatar

not too far off from how society seems to work in general. Pretty shitty.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

W
T
F
wow, that is just wrong. I’d like to see another article on it, because that is very hard to believe.

sndfreQ's avatar

http://www.ndvh.org has some descriptions for emotional abuse for spouses, but they may be generally applicable as well.

spendy's avatar

That’s disgusting. I bet that teacher has serious emotional issues…people like that are often messed up themselves from emotional abuse. You learn what you live!

marinelife's avatar

Well, I wish I could say that this horrifying story is a surprise, but I was so not surprised when I saw that it occurred in Floriduh, my home sweet home.

I can see why it might not meet the standards for emotional abuse depending on how those are written, but it clearly meets the standard of teacher misconduct. Here is an excerpt from the Florida code of ethics for teachers:

“The safety of Florida’s public school students is of the utmost importance. The Department of Education is committed to working closely with local school districts to ensure that Florida public schools and classrooms are safe and healthy environments for our children. Students are not only protected by their teachers, school staff, principals, and resource officers, but also by district personnel, state officials and law enforcement officers.

While teachers are highly valued professionals and members of our communities, we must all work together to hold Florida teachers to a high standard of ethics and principles. Unfortunately, teacher misconduct occurs and is a serious concern for communities, schools, school districts and states across the country. If you suspect that a child has been harmed or is threatened with harm by a licensed teacher, contact the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) toll-free at 1–800-96-ABUSE. Further information about reporting abuse may be found on the DCF Web site at http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse. You may also contact your local school district because each district has its own process for handling allegations of teacher misconduct.”

Clearly, this teacher violated that code. She not only did not keep the child safe, the teacher created an unhealthy environment and actively participated in the child being harmed. The parents should call DCF if they did not, and they should file complaints with the local school board. The conduct was so outrageous I think they should try to force the board to fire the teacher and strengthen its policies. I also think they should sue the teacher and the school board to recover costs for professional care to help ameliorate the emotional damage to the child.

Since Florida also leads the nation in the number of trial lawyers, I am sure one or more have already contacted them.

What a place. Sometimes th alligators don’t stay in the lakes! They teach school.

Bri_L's avatar

@ Marina – could you please explain to me why it wouldn’t meet the standards for emotional abuse. I have no understanding for what they might be. I understand that level of autism. I understand how that activity would imprint on the boy. But I don’t have an understanding of that final piece of the puzzle. As always, thank you for your clear and cited contributions!

marinelife's avatar

It was as I suspected Bri_L. Emotional abuse is considered to require an ongoing situation: “Emotional abuse is the systematic, patterned and chronic abuse that is used by a perpetrator to lower a victim’s sense of self, self-worth and power (Mezey, Post & Maxwell, 2002).”

And, guess what? It’s not illegal in Florida yet I think (I am not sure if this bill passed.). Here is a fact sheet about legislation that was proposed in 2007:

Proposed Legislation: Why is new FL legislation needed?

* The current child abuse statute in the State of Florida does not provide protection for victims of emotional/psychological abuse despite it being of greater prevalence than physical and sexual abuse and having the more grave long-term consequences for life adjustment and mental health.

(Florida Statute ch. 827 § 03, 2007).

* HB 1169/SB 2736 will enhance the capacity of the State of Florida to protect children of abuse by

expanding the existing child abuse statute to include the definition of “mental injury” as provided in F.S. 39.01 (Florida Statute ch. 39 § 01(41), 2007) and provide compensation for victims of emotional abuse (House Bill 1169, 2007)

* Speech and acts protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or s. 4, Art. I of the FL State Constitution are exempted from prosecution under the proposed legislation (House Bill 1169, 2007).

Bri_L's avatar

So I would suspect that the D.A. would claim he wouldn’t be able to prove there was and “ongoing situation”. That it wasn’t “systematic”. I wonder if it more directly effected his or her election it would change his/her tune. It just may do that now.

Thanks again for the work!!

Adina1968's avatar

The should sue the pants off of that school district & if that doesn’t work they should allow Alex & his Mom to stand outside of the school with a megaphone and say degrading things about the teacher and the kids in his former class. After all it is not emotional abuse. Let them see how it feels. Maybe they should also have people sign a petition “voting” that teacher out of her job.

Bri_L's avatar

One of the links in the article pointed out that two of the kids voted not to remove him.

Those kids rock!

Trance24's avatar

I have got to say I read three articles on this story now. This is absolutely horrible. My grandpa who had saw it on the news how ever said the teacher is not teaching at the moment, she is being suspended. Its a start but I think we all know more should be done. This is horrible, when I read this I thought of my little cousin, and how she would react if someone told her she was “disgusting” or “annoying”. It would break her little heart, especially if the teacher is the one provoking the students to do it. The teacher is supposed to be there for the student, and to be at their defense. This teacher let him down in every way, and should be pressed with charges.

Bri_L's avatar

@trance24 – could you give us the link to those articles please?

Trance24's avatar

One
Two
The other one I read is the one posted in the question.

Bri_L's avatar

thank you !

scamp's avatar

This story outrages me! For once I am speechless.

edmartin101's avatar

Our society is so full of crap like this…..........man! where are we heading? Can anybody have common sense here? where do we draw the line? Those of you who are well informed with legislation, please keep me informed about it so I can vote accordingly and write letters if possible. If we don’t do anything about these cases, we are just as guilty.

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