School punished student with disorder: parents

The China Post news staff

A first-year junior-high student was repeatedly punished by his school for disobedient behavior even though his defiance was the symptom of a medical condition, his parents complained to the media Wednesday. The student, a 13-year-old boy studying in Tucheng, New Taipei City, was booked for over 80 demerits in the last seminar alone for breaking school regulations such as clashing with classmates and teachers. He was also sent to a juvenile detention center for a week for biting a classmate, he was released on Wednesday.

The school, however, did not take into consideration whether the boy was possibly suffering from an oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and did not provide guidance accordingly but instead tried to “get things over with” through punishment alone, the parent accused.

According to the website of the American Academy of Child And Adolescent Psychiatry, symptoms of ODD include “frequent temper tantrums, excessive arguing with adults, often questioning rules, active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules, deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people, often being touchy or easily annoyed by others, frequent anger and resentment, mean and hateful talking when upset, and a spiteful attitude and revenge seeking.” These symptoms are also more noticeable at home or at school, the academy pointed out on its website. In response, the school said that teachers had individual consultations with the boy, who obviously has difficulty controlling his temper and is easily provoked by classmates’ taunts, at least five times in the past semester and had several teacher meetings discussing his case. He was sent to a juvenile detention center because of the parent of the bitten student’s insistence that the school take legal action at the juvenile court, the school pointed out. Now that the boy has returned to class, the school will enhance their guidance measures and allow him more chances to build his confidence by lowering their academic performance expectations. The New Taipei City’s Education Department also vowed to devote special education resources to help the student correct his behavior.