Everyone is talking about it- staff and kids. Yesterday at school Aaron punched Charles, and Charles has a black eye. The kids are agitated, worried, and making fun of Charles. Aaron is bragging: "yeah I really showed him". The staff are furious. Charles is feeling helpless and humiliated.
It was during math class, and Aaron was being his usual loud, obstructive, insulting self. The teacher tried many times to redirect him. Finally, she called the crisis staff and asked that Aaron be removed from her classroom. Charles came and talked with Aaron, and he seemed to calm down a bit. He walked out with Charles- did not require any physical intervention. But ten minutes later in the intervention room Aaron became agitated again, and hit Charles in the eye.
The worst part is, the staff is saying, that Aaron did the same thing two weeks ago- he hit another staff, a friend of Charles’.
Some of the talk is:
Did Aaron get off too lightly the first time? If he had been punished more severely, would he have been less likely to hit again?
He seemed calm and he walked out of the classroom on his own. Doesn’t that mean that this attack was planned and thought out, not an emotional reaction?
What is Charles supposed to do when the other kids make fun of him? He is feeling low and stupid, like he has been made a fool of or like Aaron has gotten the better of him. If only the administration hadn’t been on this trauma-informed-treatment kick Aaron would have been punished more the first time and so would have known not to do this again. Doesn’t the administration even care what staff goes through?
What should happen to Aaron now?
So- what do we think about this?
If Aaron had been more severely punished the first time, would that have resulted in his not hitting Charles this time? It is possible that if Aaron had a threat of jail, or parole, or had been some how more severely consequenced, he would have been able to keep that in his mind during this incident and use that to help himself control his impulses. It is also possible that severe punishment would have left him more angry, more shameful, less connected, more hopeless and less able to feel any reason not to hit. What do you think?
What about the fact that he seemed to calm down for ten minutes or so after his agitated behavior prior to this hitting incident? Does that mean this was not an emotional reaction and trauma-related? Does that distinction even make any difference? Should the fact that he appeared calm lead to him being held responsible for this incident in some way? If the incident was emotion and trauma based does it mean he should not be held accountable?
What about Charles? He is feeling pretty lousy now. Is he right to blame the administration for not punishing Aaron more the first time? How should he handle the kids’ teasing? How can he use what he is going through to understand Aaron better?
What about Aaron? If we had control of what happens next, what should it be? Should he leave the program? What interventions would actually contribute to his being less likely to hit again?
Please contribute your thoughts on these questions by clicking on "comments" and leaving a comment. We will thus continue this discussion.
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