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Sunday, September 16, 2012

'NYT' Admits Some Problems With Op-Ed

The NYT tonight appended a "editor's note" to an opinion piece, "A Terrifying Way to Discipline Children," that drew wide national attenton after it was published one week ago, revealing several disputed facts in it that it seems to feel deserved criticism. The note by Sewell Chan can be found at the bottom of the original article. Read the whole piece and the note, which ends with:  "The girl’s parents divorced in 2007. If The Times had known before the article was published that the writer’s ex-wife was now the girl’s custodial parent, it would have contacted her."

And now this site challenges some of the editor's note--for example, claiming that the "seclusion room" is indeed in a basement stairwell, not the "mezzanine."  The author of the op-ed, Bill Lichtenstein, says, the note does not "change any of the facts nor the point of the story." Plus: Here are some letters to the editor of the Times today.

1 comment:

Bill Lichtenstein said...


See "Still a Terrifying Way to Discipline Children," including response to Sewell Chan's editor's note at: http://bit.ly/WJYAae or below.


"Still a Terrifying Way to Discipline Children:
The Sunday New York Times Expose One Month Later"
by Bill Lichtenstein

Boston, MA, October 7, 2012 - On Sept. 9, 2012, my article, “A Terrifying Way to Discipline Children” was published in the New York Times Sunday Review/Opinion section (see article and related media at: www.TerrifyingDiscipline.com).

The article detailed the use by schools nationally of restraints and isolation rooms with students, including my then-5 year-old daughter, Rose. Over a three month period, while she was in kindergarten in Lexington, Mass., she was placed almost daily in what is today a mop closet, and what had previously served as a teachers’ phone booth. When Rose was there, it was outfitted as a seclusion room.

Her treatment led to a legal action against the town, resulting in a settlement of nearly $400,000, largely for her care and treatment to recover from the trauma and her resulting post-traumatic stress disorder. (Remember this fact because, later on, you will read that Lexington Public Schools now says I fabricated the story of my daughter’s abuse.)

No one disputes that my New York Times article shocked parents, educators and the public about schools' use of restraints and isolation rooms to manage kids. Since the article’s publication, other families have come forward to report similar abuse of their children. Other national news outlets, from Time magazine to the ABA Journal, picked up the story.

Lexington Public Schools, through its superintendent Paul Ash, who oversees its more than $73 million annual budget, initially responded to my article with four days of virtual silence, and then with flat denials. When I refuted their denials, they attacked me personally and publicly disputed minor, semantic details of my article.

By Sept 13, four days after my article ran, other parents had come forward to report that their children too had undergone such harsh treatment. One family, the Ernst's, had 19 reports of the alleged abuse endured by their son when he was in first and third grades in Lexington (see: www.bit.ly/MoreLexingtonAbuse ) And it didn’t stop there.

Mother of six, Lynne Harris, reported at a public meeting that she witnessed a child, whom she identified as my daughter Rose, being dragged kicking and screaming into the closet/isolation room in a basement stairwell at the Lexington school. Harris says she went directly to the school’s then-principal, Nancy Peterson, to report the incident, but was told by Peterson that it “was difficult to see, but a necessary thing.”

“[Peterson] said there's one [an isolation room] in every school. I remember being traumatized by seeing this little girl's screaming ‘no, no . . .’ You could tell this child knew where she was going, and she was yelling, ‘no, no.’"

Meanwhile, Peterson's deposition, taken in my daughter’s case, details the use of isolation rooms in three schools in Lexington, as well as similar rooms in the towns of Gloucester and Stoneham, Mass., during times she worked there. (Her deposition is on-line at:www.TerrifyingDiscipline.com )

SEE ENTIRE STORY AT: http://bit.ly/WJYAae