School Gives Kid a Timeout, Parents Give School a Lawsuit

Child psychology experts tell parents not to spank their children, but to use timeouts instead.

Helicopter parents who over-pamper their children tell schools not to give their kids timeouts, or they'll sue them instead.

Parents of a Greenfield (Wisconsin) Middle School girl filed a legal claim against the school for $50,000 because they put their precious daughter in a timeout room. They say the timeout caused her to "hyperventilate and feel nauseous."

Because, as we all know, hyperventilation and feeling nauseated (not nauseous. Get with the program, Journal-Sentinel.") is worth 50 grand.

Since when is a stress-related stomachache the problem of the school? If the girl has stress-related issues with being disciplined for acting out, then the parents should look at 1) themselves and the environment they've created, and 2) that's it. The problem starts and ends at home.

The suit also says a teacher allowed students to "commit a battery" against the girl.

Without knowing what the particular battery is, I would hazard a guess that most teachers won't let students abuse another student. But given that the girl's parents think a stomachache and heavy breathing is worth $50,000, the battery is probably name calling or funny looks.

However, if it's anything worse than that, like bullying or hitting, then I'm with the parents on this one.

"I'm confident that the district has acted in an appropriate manner and will continue to do so," Conrad Farner, Greenfield schools superintendent, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The suit was filed by attorney William Rettko, who seems to be hoping for a settlement.

"The ball, frankly, is in the school district's court," he told the Journal-Sentinel.

If the district rejects the family's greedy scrabbling -- which I hope they do -- the family could file a full-fledged lawsuit.

I'd hate to see what happens if the family loses.

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  1. Erik,
    Sorry there Grammar Dictator, but nauseous is acceptable according to Merriam Webster:
    1 : causing nausea or disgust : nauseating
    2 : affected with nausea or disgust
    — nau·seous·ly adverb
    — nau·seous·ness noun
    usage Those who insist that nauseous can properly be used only in sense 1 and that in sense 2 it is an error for nauseated are mistaken. Current evidence shows these facts: nauseous is most frequently used to mean physically affected with nausea, usually after a linking verb such as feel or become; figurative use is quite a bit less frequent. Use of nauseous in sense 1 is much more often figurative than literal, and this use appears to be losing ground to nauseating. Nauseated is used more widely than nauseous in sense 2.

  2. Merriam Webster? I call them Meh-riam Webster (actually I don't. I just made that up.)

    I like the Oxford English Dictionary, because it's bigger and it's what the snootier language geeks refer to as the ultimate standard for all language.

    (I don't know what the OED says about nauseous, but I figure if I cast aspersions on your dictionary, my argument wins.)

  3. I've always had a problem with people who use nauseous in place of nauseated. My son's girlfriend (whom I really despised) once said she felt nauseous. I thought to myself, 'yeah, you do make me feel a little sick to my stomach.'

    There was a country song that was popular in the late 1980's called ""Dumas Walker's". There was a line in the song (speaking about the waitress at Dumas Walker's) that went something like: "She doesn't need to write down the order, she has a "photogenic" mind."
    I hyperventilated every time I heard that song. (I don't know if this was actually true or not--I never saw a photo of her mind.)

    Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.


  4. Thanks, Leeuna. I'm glad you liked the piece. I've never heard that song, but I'm with you on the photogenic mind part.


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