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I normally fill my morning drive with the local news, events around are fair city.   They are filled with stories about local fires, police reports and happy stories of people having success.   I can feel for people who are having it rough and root for stories of kids succeeding at school.   This morning, a story on our local news hit me like a ton of bricks.

http://www.kansascity.com/...

.

One neighbor told The Star that her husband found the teen sleeping in a patch of grass near a tree in front of his home at midnight one night. It was cold, so her husband gave the teen a blanket. The neighbor said when she left for work at 6 a.m., the teen still was outside sleeping.

Another neighbor said she saw the teen pounding on his family’s door one frigid day last year, crying and begging to be let inside.

The neighbor recalled hearing him yell: “I won’t mess up anymore!”

This mentally challenged teen was eventually let back inside his home.  His family had found a solution.  That solution?  To handcuff him in a basement, leaving him to become emaciated and sick, finally rescued by outsiders.

It's easy to vilify the family.  And there are a lot of things about this story that make you feel as though a raw anger rises up in you.

The officers switched on the lights and saw the frail teenager wearing dirty clothes and curled around the pole. The teen lifted himself to his knees. Officers noted that he was “very thin,” with sunken cheeks and a look of desperation in his eyes.

The officers consoled the teen and removed the cuffs.

The shivering teen rubbed his wrists, told officers his name and asked for his jacket and shoes. He had just a few thin blankets to lie on and use for covers, according to the police reports.

He said he had been locked in the basement since Sept. 27, when his father removed him from his high school, where he was a sophomore, reportedly to home-school him. At first, the teen could roam freely in the basement, he told police. But because he was hungry, he found a way out to get food, angering his father.“let him upstairs” in December and he ate nearly an entire bowl of fruit in one sitting.

Don't get me wrong.  The parents who left this poor child stay outside without shelter, who handcuffed him to a bed, who fed him only ramen and water deserve all the anger that comes their way.  They are an easy target.   What they have done is brutal, unthinkable.

Sadly, it's also the way our society views mental health care.  

Matthew 7:9


"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
I wish I could say all of us hand out bread, that we work to help those who need it.  But we don't.   The family in this case argues that they were first in trouble because of the violent tendencies of their child.   They contend that he beat up the step mother, and that he would be out of control with destruction.

In radio talks, other neighbors say that they knew the child was "troubled", but it wasn't their issue.

He always seemed hungry, neighbors said. A young neighbor once shared his sandwich with him. Other neighbors saw the teen digging through a trash bin for food.
We stay out of other people's problems.  It's other people's trouble.  We don't need to get involved with that.   Maybe hand him food now and again, I suppose.. but it's not our problem.  NIMBY, even when it is.. our back yard.

This event happened in Missouri.  A state where the governor, Jay Nixon (D), has proposed that now is the time to get more serious about mental health.

http://www.kansascity.com/...

“We must do everything in our power to get folks the treatment they need, before it's too late,” Nixon said during his State of the State speech Jan. 28.
On the other end of the state line, here in Kansas, Brownback has continued the other way:
JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - Some Johnson County mental health and public safety officials are concerned about possible cuts to the Kansas Mental Health Department.

Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing closing a 36-bed mental health facility in Osawatomie and reducing a planned expansion of a Kansas City facility from 50 beds to 36 beds.

A House committee is endorsing the governor’s plan. But Michael Brouwer, a mental health liaison with the Adult Detention Center in Johnson County, said that budget cuts at the state level will only trickle down and hit taxpayers on the county level.

“The local public safety is picking up those costs and the local mental health facilities are picking up those costs with less funding from the state,” said Brouwer.

Tom Erickson, public information officer for Johnson County, also explained that housing a mentally ill patient experiencing a crisis costs about $100 a day which is almost three times more than inmates in the general population.

Read more: http://www.kshb.com/...

Crisis care has a cost of $100 a day.   Regular care through out patient options a cost of roughly $48 a day.   But $100 is just too much.

When those who need it most ask for bread, we give them stones.

The family in this case did something horrible.   Truly horrific.   It could have been stopped.   There could have been more options.  

It's OK though.  Society has decided those options just aren't worth it.   We've already set the value of the life of a mentally disabled person.  And it's not worth the $44k a year.

We'll just give them stones.

“If you don’t reach out for help, it’s very easy to start making bad decisions,” said Lisa Mizell, CEO of the Child Protection Center in Kansas City. “It’s very easy to fall back on methods that are not appropriate.”

When bad decisions are made in baby steps, parents can often “normalize” what they are doing, in their own minds, she said.

Parents longing for control of a situation also can turn to controlling food, Mizell said.

Often, Mizell said, relatives and neighbors may see signs of neglect or abuse but don’t want to get involved or offend the parents, so they don’t report what they see.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/...

If we don't start caring about the least of our people, those in the most need, what does it say about the kind of people we are?

I don't know.   I do know it's time to get off the fast track to finding out.

Update:   Interviews and stories.

http://fox4kc.com/...

The next door neighbor turned them in by calling the police after it was revealed he was locked up.   He was held in a home that was a townhome style (with row houses all next door).

The neighbors in an interview say that the parents told them that the boy had went "out of town" so they didn't suspect he was being held in the basement.

The boy was removed from the home on a stretcher and is receiving immediate care for malnutrition and dehydration.   NO decision has been made on IF charges will be filed.

The boy told investigators he had been down there since September 27 when he says his father took him out of school and locked him in the basement.

“He was very, very thin, very dehydrated. he looked very pale. Very grey when they brought him out… on a stretcher. It was bad. Very heartbreaking,” said Ashley Reppy, friend of the victim.

The boy, who Reppy said is developmentally delayed, told police he became hungry one time in October and left the basement to find some food, which made his father mad. The boy said his father then handcuffed him to a bed rail.

4:46 PM PT: The School District in NKC has released a statement:

:(

The school has issued this statement:

   North Kansas City School District officials, citing privacy issues, said they could not discuss the case in great detail. The boy had been a sophomore at a high school.

    District officials said if a parent decides to home-school a child that the district cannot stop that or follow up on the student's progress.

Per state of Missouri guidelines, if you home school, a school cannot follow up or contact you regarding the progress of your student.

Originally posted to tmservo433 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:49 AM PST.

Also republished by Parenting on the Autism Spectrum.

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  •  Tip Jar (227+ / 0-)
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    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:49:53 AM PST

  •  One thing that often happens in (68+ / 0-)

    dysfunctional families--according to people who study this kind of thing--is that children get scapegoated. You know, the real problem isn't dad's drinking or mom's out-of-control temper; it's actually Johnny's "willfulness." Yeah, right.

    It's in perfect keeping with authoritarian worldviews, particularly with those promoted by nutty religions.

    Sad story. All best wishes for this teenager.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:13:43 AM PST

  •  The progressive/liberal fallacy is to confuse... (26+ / 0-)

    ...meta explanation and micro responsibility.  Yes, this is likely a story of how society fails the mentally ill and their families.  But if we step too far away from the idea that treating a child this way is always criminal and always deserving of punishment, we do something seriously rotten.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:19:43 AM PST

  •  I work with children with severe behavioral (27+ / 0-)

    challenges.

    I love working with this population.

    But, I get to go home to a house with no children at the end of the day.

    By no means am I defending the parents' actions in this case.

    For 10-20 years, the push has been for families to keep their children 'at home' with them. These families have very few supports to help them when they are in crisis - say when a non-verbal child with autism aggresses toward them or someone in the community. Private speech-language therapy clinics and other community providers exercise their option to no longer serve a child who is 'out of control.' Often, the school systems are ill-equipped to work with these children. Schools also take long (well-deserved) breaks. After the age of 21 (22), schools are no longer responsible for providing services to this population. Group homes are few and far between.

    The same issues are very real concerns for families of children with mental health issues.

    Exactly what are these families to do?

  •  The cruelty seen these days amazes me (10+ / 0-)

    hate is everywhere

    There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown

    by VA Breeze on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:23:18 AM PST

  •  Yes this is criminal behavior but.... (12+ / 0-)

    This is an outgrowth of our societal rugged-individualism, mind-your-own-business way we deal with family problems.  The compassionate way to respond is to offer support and help to the entire family for the child who has a REAL ILLNESS.  But instead we stigmatize and criminalize the parents, remove funding for supportive services and continue to tsk-tsk from our easy chairs.  

    Societal attitudes produce parents who hide their sick children in attics and basements.  Or, worse, kick them out on a cold night with no fear of being asked about it.  Not much has changed in 200 years.  Is it any wonder we have a legion of homeless, mentally ill citizens roaming our streets?

    •  I just don't buy that (14+ / 0-)

      This society does not drive people to starve and beat their children. Keep in mind, there are parents who do this to children who are not mentally challenged. I firmly believe there are just people who are bad people. They deal with their own stress by taking it out on others who are too vulnerable to fight back, making this a crime of opportunism more than anything.

      I have also noticed when reading stories like this, a stepparent is frequently in the picture. I have not researched it, but I think that interplay between stepparent and stepchild can sometimes result in a more disproportionate response to the behavior. My father was mildly abusive before my stepmother lived with us, after which it began to increase and she contributed. A misbehavior any child might have done was misinterpreted as a personal slight against her.

      Speaking with my father years after their divorce, when I was an adult, he apologized to me and said he felt so guilty for everything. It wasn't that she always told him to punish me (though sometimes she did) for imagined or slight infractions, but rather that he felt like if he did not show her how much he valued her by punishing me for what she considered disrespect, that she would leave him or be angry at him. And then anger would take over -- why did I keep doing these things, etc.

      I firmly believe some stepparents are simply more forgiving toward their own children and sometimes resent or are jealous of a spouse's other children. Perhaps this is instinctual -- it makes sense from a survival of the species perspective. And the parent of that prior offspring is more susceptible to neglecting it because that ingratiates him to the new partner, offering more opportunities to reproduce.

      Whatever it is, I really do not think it boils down to society being bad. I think it boils down to these people being bad.

      We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

      by CatM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:25:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except in the cases where they're not. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        My other half has raised my son like he's his own since Draco was 2 years old. His biological father was the abusive one. His biological father is the one who couldn't deal with the disability and we had to leave. His step father treats him the same as our daughter, with added concessions towards his disability.

        So while perhaps some step parents react like that, by no means all do. And it's quite possible they would have acted like that anyway, even with a child of their own who was disabled or 'not their favorite'. Favoritism happens in full biological families as well, trust me.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:47:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I was pretty careful (0+ / 0-)

          to say "some" stepparents" and can "sometimes result."

          I realize not all stepparents are like that. Neither are foster parents.

          But of similar cases I have read with this kind of abuse, there often is a non-biological "parent" (stepparent, boyfriend, girlfriend) in the picture. What is interesting is that in this case and in mine, the primary abuser is the child's biological parent and not the stepparent.

          We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

          by CatM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:18:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you that the family deserves (0+ / 0-)

        zero slack.

        But there are societal forces that play a part in this.

        Perhaps parents are predisposed to abuse and are finally pushed over the edge by frustration and lack of any support whatsoever.  

        I don't know the answer, but I do believe that the parents are fully responsible for their actions.  

        Still, I wonder if there is something we can do as a society - support systems, treatment, housing, etc - which could make this a less frequent occurrence?

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:34:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the first thing we should do as a society (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          is to stop ignoring possible abuse. Whenever there is a story like this, people come out of the wordwork saying "I thought about reporting it, but..." or "Yeah, I saw the kid eating out of garbage cans. He/she looked really skinny."

          But no one does anything. Or, conversely, we hear "I called several times..." but the police or social services did not do anything.

          I strongly feel that as a society we need to be far less afraid of getting involved and more willing to listen to people and kids reporting abusive behavior.

          We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

          by CatM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:21:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I apologize for misreading things (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          Obviously my suggestion would not make this a "less frequent occurrence."

          I don't have an answer for that. Maybe financial incentives could be offered (like discounts on maternal care/delivery) for parents who complete parenting classes.

          Maybe if schools have special needs children, they should implement a program for making sure those kids get some sort of counseling at least once a month so they have someone they feel they can talk to if they are having a serious problem at home.

          We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

          by CatM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:24:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's deliberate criminal behavior (0+ / 0-)
      our societal rugged-individualism, mind-your-own-business way we deal with family problems.
      I agree that this attitude is a problem and accounts for a lot of this sort of thing.  But this is also a voluntary belief system -- I don't buy the whole libertarian-nutcase mindset and neither do most other people.  I do blame the parents.  They followed whatever voices in their head told them to do this to their kids.

      The fact that there is a subset of society that believes in this warped moral inversion doesn't make it acceptable: it is criminal behavior.  Most mafioso also believe in a moral inversion; that doesn't make racketeering legal.  The parents are a threat to you and me, too.

  •  Heartbreaking (13+ / 0-)

    I wonder, too, if to some degree his being mentally challenged is a result of abuse and malnourishment from his earliest years?

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:50:59 AM PST

  •  I cut the family zero slack here (24+ / 0-)

    Any adult would recognize this is beyond the bounds of human decency. There were three adults in that family. Did any of them go to social services? Did they ask a school counselor to try to help the child? They certainly did not reach out to neighbors for help, but given their neighbors' eagerness to ignore the abuse when it was in their face, perhaps that would have been fruitless.

    I grew up with undiagnosed asperger's and ADHD. Although not the same as being mentally handicapped, my young father and stepmother could not understand or deal with me (not that I was difficult -- they just did not understand some of my seeming disobedience was an inability to understand social cues and an apparent lack of common sense was an asperger's driven lack of common sense). We were also poor. I did experience some physical and mental abuse, but when it got to the point where my father felt he wanted to kill me, he called a social worker and told her and I went into foster care.

    There are avenues to find help for anyone the least bit interested in seeking it. They may not be ideal, but they are typically better than being chained to a pole, deprived of education, food, and sometimes shelter, and -- based on the boy's reaction to the basement door opening -- being beaten.

    Neither my father nor stepmother graduated high school. My father collected social security disability so neither worked outside the home, and we lived in a very small town with no close neighbors. In other words, my parents were uneducated, socially isolated people with few resource and a tendency to mistreat me (not my stepmother's children, however). Yet even they knew there was a line you do not cross as a human being.

    That family knew they were doing something very wrong. They did not tell the school they would be removing their son from school so they could chain him in the basement. The stepmother didn't want the police to see the boy chained up. They get no benefit of the doubt or sympathy from me. This boy was mentally challenged according to reports, which is not the same as mental illness. There are a lot of resources through the school for these children and often through state and federal agencies. It may not be adequate (and once this boy is 18, that is another sad story), but it can alleviate the burdens.

    If there fear was simply that he was a danger, then why starve him to where he became emaciated? Why not just keep him down there without starving him? They clearly went the extra mile to make his life as miserable as possible. I hope they have a long time locked in a small space of their own to contemplate that.

    We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

    by CatM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:08:17 AM PST

    •  This story is so apalling that I can't help but (16+ / 0-)

      wonder if the parents have some mental challenges as well.  The 24 year old brother aparently thought it was OK for his younger brother to be starved and then chained to a pole for eating a whole bowl of fruit.  Cruel, weird behavior.

      I feel very sorry for how you were treated as a child also, CatM.  I hope you had caring foster parents.  It is so obvious that America needs to do a better job of caring for children and supporting families, no matter what the unmet need might be.

      This is one more example of important work that is not being done in this country while millions of able, intelligent Americans are out of work.  

      So ridiculous.

      •  You are probably right (7+ / 0-)

        that the family has some mental challenges, although it does not sound like they were mentally handicapped like the boy was.

        In the brother's case, that can be trickier to understand. It would be interesting to know whether he is the stepmother's son or the father's son from a previous marriage. If he's the father's son and the father is abusive, perhaps he was more fearful than anything.

        In my experience, however, sometimes siblings in a household where only one is being abused also see the abused child as a victim or are brainwashed into believing that child is "bad." When I was 15, my 15-year-old stepsister and my 9-year-old half-sister saw my father drag me downstairs by my hair and punch me several times on the night I went into Foster Care for the third and final time. Their mother did nothing to intervene, of course.

        When we were all adults, I later learned that they had convinced my younger siblings that I had been a "bad kid" and that's why I had to leave. I then asked my half-sister (in her 20s then) in what way a kid who never drank, smoked, did drugs, or swore; earned straight A's; read a dozen books a week; did any chores requested for fear of being punished and even volunteered to rinse out the soiled cloth baby diapers; and was never violent or destructive was a "bad kid" who deserved to be punched in the head.

        My same-aged stepsister said I should stop "pretending" that I had been abused--that my dad was hard on all of us (not really true) and that I had deserved it, but she could never explain for what.  She also will not acknowledge that her mother was also abusive to me and hasn't talked to me in years because of it.

        When we were both girls, she used to enjoy telling me that our parents hated me, that I was ugly and so bad that even my own father didn't love me, etc. I think something happens to the mindset of siblings who witness abuse--they feel required to rationalize it because it is hard to reconcile the natural love you feel for your parents with them doing things you know are terribly wrong. And maybe they have a little PTSD themselves -- surely witnessing abuse of another person is a type of abuse in and of itself.

        I also think when someone in a group (whether a family or some other type) ends up being perceived as a victim, people develop a pecking order themselves and get in line to victimize the victim.

        I'm sure if we ever figure out at the macro level why seemingly good people join in with others to commit unspeakable acts that seem out of character (Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Serbia, etc.), we can apply that on a micro level.

        You don't need to feel sorry for how I was treated. I know that it sounds absolutely bizarre, but I am extremely good at "integrating" in social situations as an Aspie, and I actually think the abuse I experienced contributed to that. I certainly would not recommend it because there are much, much better ways of teaching people, but I will begrudgingly admit that it forced me to learn to fake being "normal" much better.

        I simply cannot blame society for it, however. The only thing I blame society (or at least social programs) for is (1) thinking the best place for every kid is with his or her biological parents; (2) delusionally believing that 3 to 6 months of family counseling fixes whatever it is that causes people to be abusive; and (3) not listening to kids enough or caring enough to do something when kids reach out to them for help.

        In a most non-liberal fashion, I believe very few people who are inclined to be abusive ever change and we need to dispel this ill-conceived belief we have as a society that people can often be rehabilitated and that with enough support we can fix and reunite broken families.

        My foster home (which I went to repeatedly) was a good foster home, and I would have been better off if I had just been left there instead of well-meaning social workers trying to "reunite" the family.

        Yes, some people change, but too often, we use the small handful of success stories to justify applying that approach to everyone, when more often than not, it doesn't work.

        In this case above, those parents should never be allowed to raise children. In my view, they have forfeited that right and no amount of counseling is going to rehabilitate someone who can starve and beat their own child. You have to have something really wrong with you to allow anger and hate to overcome the natural biological impulse to love your offspring to such an extent.

        We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

        by CatM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:24:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You must be an incredibly strong person, CatM, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Minnesota Deb, Cassandra Waites

          and I can see that your upbringing probably contributed to that.  I always admire the ability to turn adversity into strength.  

          I can see that siblings who witness such abuse react in complicated ways--- and I think growing up a witness to this sort of abuse could be another kind of abuse in itself.  Your stepsister for some reason learned to pile on with some verbal abuse of her own rather than to allow herself to feel sympathy for you.  She was, in a way, a participant, and can't admit that now--- I'm thinking that she didn't gain strength from her upbringing the way you did.

          I agree that we should find ways to get kids out of abusive homes, and we should listen to kids when they ask for help.  In the case featured in this diary--- the parents are unfit, for sure.  I wonder why neighbors who found this boy sleeping outside in the cold, locked out of the house, etc... did not report it to authorities sooner.  

          I hope someone will care for him now.

  •  Not all of us ignore someone in need (16+ / 0-)
    We stay out of other people's problems.  It's other people's trouble.  We don't need to get involved with that.
    I don't turn away when there is legitimate need.   I was faced with a very tough decision last year.   And, after careful consideration, even though I was fond of the mother, and truly believed that she loved her children and did her best to care for them, I felt she was overwhelmed and that a crisis point had been reached, and I called CPS.   This happened when the mother got angry at the school and removed her thirteen year old child from school, and did not school her at home, and several weeks went by with a bright young 8th grader receiving no education at all.    

    CPS did not remove the kids, but their influence had a very beneficial effect on the family.  It helped them to refocus on some things that needed attention.  It helped to improve the lives of their kids.   And, it won this one child the opportunity to return to receive the education that she was entitled to.

    It was a very hard decision to make, and I believe that, as bad as a child's life is, that the intervention of CPS can sometimes make it even worse.   So, it was a tough call.  But, it worked out well.   The child was able to attend "Saturday School", get caught back up, and is doing well again in school.   And, there was a general improvement in the situation of the children in the home.  

    Please understand.  This is not a homeschool issue.  I support the right to homeschool.   But, she wasn't being homeschooled.   This was just the tip of the iceberg in a very troubled family.   Beside the teen girl, there were two children under the age of three in a very troubled situation.    There had been a growing conviction that we would need to take some action, and their taking the child out of school was our Sign, that now was the time to act.  

    I was able to get some help for this family, because they connected with their community.   Through their child, I met them, and learned about their situation, and was able to recognize when a crisis had occurred.   I believe that some families become so isolated that people cannot gain enough information to know for certain whether and when action is required.  

    My observations of the family that I have described, and the family that is described in this diary, is that these situations are resulting from a lack of social services.  In the situation that I intervened in, the problem was that a disabled mother, living in dire poverty, was alone during the day, caring for two children under age 3, while suffering fibromyalgia, cancer and epilepsy, with no means of transportation.  Clearly, she simply wasn't well enough, and didn't have the resources, to do that.  While, in this diary, a family where the parents seem to be suffering some mental illness themselves, have been overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for a disabled child.

    The recurring theme is people with disabilities becoming overwhelmed and falling into crisis.

    I read another story some time back, where a woman was stuck on a toilet for two years.   It was yet another situation in which an ordinary person suddenly finds themselves in a situation where they are responsible for the care of someone else, where they do not have the resources or training to provide that care.    

    It is heartbreaking.  If we want to stop these tragedies we need to two things.  We need services and facilities to care for persons with special needs.  And, we need outreach, so that we can find families who need these services, before they get overwhelmed and a tragedy occurs.

    And, once again, as in the Sandy Hook and Batman shootings, we find ourselves about mental health care and outreach.   It is becoming painfully obvious that the cost of NOT providing these services is way too high.

    •  You do know that sometimes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynnS

      it's necessary and even beneficial to give a kid a couple of weeks or a month or two off of normal curriculum/unschooling for a bit to de-stress when you have to remove them from public school right? This is actually recommended in a lot of cases, because the child has too much negative connotation associated with learning. It's called "de-schooling" by most of the home schoolers I know. That may not have been going on here, but just because she wasn't working with her for a couple of weeks doesn't mean she was neglecting her education. She also may have been considering curriculum, doing research, getting supplies together, ect, especially if the decision to remove the child from school was sudden.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:53:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, that's not what was happening (4+ / 0-)

        I do understand that, and  I would not have acted in that situation.  My own child is virtual schooled.  

        She was too mentally ill and physically ill to homeschool or even virtual school.    It was not just me that was worried.  The grandmother was frantic, because they had registered her at the grandmother's address, and the mother did not properly withdraw the child (she was so ill she had lost all executive ability), so the grandmother was afraid the cops were going to come arrest her for truancy.  But, the grandmother did not have the authority to put the kid back in school, or to withdraw the kid from school.

        The mother's actual excuse was that she was going to move her to a different school.  However, she was clearly psychotic.   She had a habit of claiming she was going to move somewhere different every two weeks.  She claimed she was going to leave her husband, move to Tyler and buy a horse (with what money?).  A couple weeks later she claimed she was going to move to Houston.  Then, she told her teen daughter that she was going to a women's shelter and that the child was not going to be allowed to talk to any of her family or friends for over a year, scaring the poor kid out of her wits, because the kid KNEW what bad shape her mother was in.  

        The mother did none of those things.  It was clear to everyone that she would never do any of those things.  She had no money.  She couldn't drive a car.  She couldn't even bend down to lift a suitcase.   She couldn't  manage to withdraw the child from the school she was in, or schedule or get herself to a doctor's appointment.   She was either in a stupor from pain, or in a stupor from pain medications to manage the pain.  

        She was not going to homeschool.  But, I understand your point.

        •  Ok, good :) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tmservo433, LynnS

          well not good for the child but you know what I mean. There are a lot of people out there who are so against home school, or so misunderstanding of it that they assume it's always abuse, or that a kid outside playing is educational neglect.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:19:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The mentally ill (9+ / 0-)

    need many, many better resources.  Hotlines for their caregivers.  Hospitals.  Group homes.  Support groups.  Fundraising initiatives.

    A national campaign de-stigmatizing mental health issues would also be enormously beneficial.  Fifty years ago, people whispered about cancer.  Now, it's no longer a stigma - scary, yes, but it's not a shameful hidden secret.  Mental health could be the same way.  

    I wish I were independently wealthy - I'd start a foundation or something.

  •  Here are some statistics (3+ / 0-)

    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/...

    Mental disorders are common in the United States, and in a given year approximately one quarter of adults are diagnosable for one or more disorders. While mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated among a much smaller proportion (about 6 percent, or 1 in 17) who suffer from a seriously debilitating mental illness.
    (My emphasis)
  •  The diary mentions Nixon (6+ / 0-)

    The diary mentions Nixon.  Here's how things have changed since Nixon:  During Nixon's administration, American society did not use the term "homelessness".  The idea of walking over people lying in the streets was unthinkable in the society.  

    By the end of Ronald Reagan's administration, the term "homelessness" was common place and an accepted station in life.  Coincidence that the acceptance of "homelessness"  came about the same time as the moronic belief that the rich need more to do more and will do more?  Look where that got us.  

    But that is an argument for another day.  

    My point here is our society has sunk into an abyss.  It was inevitable that a society that somehow accepts "homelessness" as a viable term, turns its back on the mentally ill.  

    Having said that, how the fuck did those neighbors live with themselves?  What the fuck is wrong with these people?

    Those neighbors "aided and abetted" the abuse.  You hope there is a God in Heaven they will have to answer to.  

  •  Large State run institutions fell out of favor (6+ / 0-)

    They were originally started because of situations like this. Now in the big push to "save" ( divert to special interests ) money these large institutions have all been closed. The Community based care system works for some patients and not for others. New York State is in the process of closing many of it's facilities for Developmentally Disabled patients right now. A lot of them will wind up in jail or a bad home care situation like the story above. There is plenty of money for "business development" in NY. Not so much for weak poor helpless people.

  •  You are sadly so right here: (4+ / 0-)
    Sadly, it's also the way our society views mental health care.  
    Every day the mentally ill are treated worse than animals and we do nothing.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:25:34 AM PST

  •  Money is meant to be used as a measure of (4+ / 0-)

    RELATIVE value. It is not supposed to be used to decide what is to be done or not. Congress, by restricting the flow of enough money to facilitate what needs doing is rationing care while seeming not to.
    That the states are resistant to the strings that Congress often attaches to monetary distributions, mostly in the interest of attaining some privilege, is understandable. Congress is tasked with managing our currency. That does not mean they get to decide how every dollar is used.
    We have a decentralized system for the simple reason that it isn't possible for a few rulers to decide what is appropriate to be done.

    Congress is fearful that its authority will be eroded. It should be. Because, the Constitution did not give them authority; it gave them obligations. In failing to carry out those obligations, they are being insubordinate and deserve to be removed.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:25:55 AM PST

  •  this is sad beyond words... and I'm ashamed (6+ / 0-)

    that it happened in the town I live in.

    thank god they found him in time to save him...

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:12:45 AM PST

  •  That story made me cry. My God, what a horror. (3+ / 0-)

    I cannot believe the depravity, the malice, the cruelty they displayed toward that young man.

    I do not believe that their ignorance excuses them.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:26:18 AM PST

  •  Tragedy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, jan4insight

    I was immediately reminded of Sylvia Likens,  who was tortured and slain in Indianapolis when I lived in Indiana in 1965. Sylvia had had polio, and like people with other disabilities, was a target for cruel humans.
    If you need a general emetic, or just a good weep, just google Sylvia Likens.

    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:41:50 AM PST

  •  My son was very aggressive when he was younger. (7+ / 0-)

    To the point that I would say that when he was young, we were battered parents. We've had bones broken, stitches, concussions, hair pulled out, glasses broken, bites, bruises, you name it from my son when he was younger.
    Never was he denied food. Never was he handcuffed to anything. I did sometimes use passive restraint methods I'd been taught but those were personal holds and didn't even leave bruises. They were more applying weight which calmed him down. And those were only applied when he was hurting himself or one of us.

    Now he's settled quite a bit over the past five years. We haven't had a physical outburst like that for about 3 years and that was minor and already rare.

    I do sympathize with the difficulties of getting help when you need it. Draco was involuntarily admitted twice when he was younger because he was so out of control even we couldn't handle him. It was a very difficult time, I went into a depression, and everything was MUCH HARDER.

    We've had DCF in and out of our lives over the years because of it. Because there were times when I couldn't keep up with everything and handle him so far as house care goes. Because he would be screaming like someone was killing him when he was the one hurting us. Because he was disabled in a way that wasn't apparent and was developmental and so many people thought we were abusing him or neglecting him. Through all that, there was very little anyone did to help. And every time someone tried to get us help, like home health or house keeping help, DCF wanted to open a case and 'investigate' instead. I was there when my son was 5 and the behavioral program called to find out about getting us help with house work because I was sick and on bed rest for two weeks, and instead of help, they showed up to try and take my child. We fought them tooth and nail and won, but, that was NOT helpful. Nor did I get the prescribed bed rest, and only got sicker.

    But this does not excuse these parents. NEVER was my son or my daughter abused like this. They've always had a roof over their head, even if it was a shelter roof. They've always had food, even if the adults didn't. We didn't use restraints even though our son was abusive and it would have made our lives 'easier'. If we could do it, this family could have done it. But something has to be done concerning how the authorities respond when someone reaches out for help. Instead of help they accuse you of wrong doing, neglect, and abuse. Until you finally stop asking, because you're too afraid of what will happen if you do.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:05:50 AM PST

  •  I have a point to make (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    If one of the problems they were trying to "prevent" was violent, aggressive behavior and bad behavior from the abused son, would pull him out of school? Shouldn't they have been grateful for the several hours a day he spent at school and away from the home?

    Oh, wait. They couldn't send him to school and reserve the horrible mistreatment for the rest of the day and weekends because he might tell someone or it might be evident that he was abused.

    This just further supports that the parents were fully they were doing something illegal.

    Kind of ironic isn't it, when parents justify breaking the law in a horrific way just so they can punish a child for doing far less than that? What they did was worse than what the boy did, so applying their logic suggests they should be subject to far more severe punishment than they subjected him to. It's the only way they're going to learn....

    We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

    by CatM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:36:21 AM PST

  •  This is the saddest thing I've read all day. (0+ / 0-)

    Just a bad deal, all the way around. I feel sorry for everyone involved. I hope the kid gets the help he needs, I hope the parents get the help they need.

    "What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce." -Mark Twain

    by jared the bassplayer on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:02:36 PM PST

  •  This is why I oppose home-schooling (4+ / 0-)

    Most parent are pretty good at being parents, but a few are too mentally ill themselves to be trusted with a dependent. Often a schoolteacher is the only person who can detect child abuse.

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:20:33 PM PST

    •  So, because of a few cases of abuse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee

      when someone pulls out a child to home school, none of us should be able to do it? Isn't that like saying because a few people break the law and drive too fast no one should have cars? Or because some people abuse alcohol we should re-instate prohibition? Or how about because some people use abortion as birth control no one should be able to get one?

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:22:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would venture to say that people who homeschool (0+ / 0-)

        have, at best, family social issues at worst sociopathic beliefs and tendencies.

        Uh ... unless you live in Kansas where all that is in the school system and home schooling is the only sane alternative.

        My over-the-top assertion was hyperbole, I will admit.  But I have seen very few children who have not been damaged in a social maturity sense, at the very least, from home schooling.  It may have been terrific for our agrarian ancestors who wouldn't have to meet a lot of people in their sheltered lives.

        It is just destructive and stupid in the modern world, IMHO.

        I wouldn't ban it ... but I might want to rethink giving such a family access to guns.  

        "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

        by Glinda on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:00:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or maybe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee

          they have a school system that is failing their special needs child. Or maybe they are in the military and changing schools every few months or years is disruptive to their child's education and the stability of home school is much more beneficial. Maybe the child is ill and out of school more than in and this is a good way for continuity and prevention of truancy charges or kids being held back for days missed (there are districts who will hold kids back after so many days  missed even with doctor's notes). There are as many reasons to home school as there are home schooled families, though there are some groupings of them possible.

          There's nothing sociopathic about home schooling a child who's being bullied endlessly because of a disability while the school district does whatever it can to limit accessibility and an appropriate education. I would say, that if you have the ability to home school your child in that situation and you leave him in public school, that's closer to sociopathy than home schooling.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:06:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Speaking as a parent of a child with special needs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Horace Boothroyd III

            I find this even more appalling! Unless you have a teacher's certification in special education, you will do no good educationallyto a child with special needs. None. Period. Zippo.

            Don't.even.get.me.started!!!

            That you live in a school system that is failing its special needs children makes it even more imperative that you find other parents of special needs children, if necessary in other school districts and throughout your state, to ban together and fix the problem.  Likely there are groups in your state that have been around for decades that could use your help.

            This site is about gaining political clout for the needs of the common people.  If you hibernate in a home school environment you might as well join the Ayn Rand society.

            No special needs child has not been set back by being kept ut of the mainstream of society.  None.

            "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

            by Glinda on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:17:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Who said we were keeping them out of the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aitchdee

              main stream of society? We're just keeping them out of the bullying, pigeon holing, standardized mandated test taking public schools that aren't built to work with our kids.  Sorry but I disagree with your assessment of my teaching skills. My son, for example has gone from only being able to add, subtract, multiply and divide with no experience with fractions, decimals, measurement, or algebra to completing grade appropriate high school math. He's also gone from hating reading and being told he has no reading comprehension to reading novels both for education and enjoyment. He's learned history, current events, diverse cultures, chemistry, college level biology, social skills and has more friends now than he ever did in public school. He even has a girl friend.

              So we are going to have to agree to disagree on this. I don't have a degree in special education. I have however been teaching my son how to work around his autistic symptoms since before he was diagnosed. I taught him how to read, how to write, how to add before he even started kindergarten.  I think I know well how to teach my son. And he does a LOT better with one on one with minimal distractions than he ever did in a class of other kids.

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:30:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Come back to me when he's 18, 19, 20 and tell me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Horace Boothroyd III

                how he's "well adjusted".

                You went for the easy route. You helped your son and only your son ... for the short term with blinders on for what it would mean for his young-adult and adult life.  

                It takes far more courage to fight for all kids like him and effect change.

                BTW: What you have described has been accomplished in some NYC school districts with strong parental involvement and all over the country in public school settings because parents had the commitment to facilitate great education for all students not just their own.

                "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

                by Glinda on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:39:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  He'll be 18 in June. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Glinda, aitchdee, Cassandra Waites

                  And he's a LOT more well adjusted than he would have been without it. Fighting the school would have cost me my job and my degree because his last year I was in that school 3 or 4 days a week, WITHOUT a car, using public buses that only went out by his school every hour and a half. And I still could not get him what he needed for middle school.

                  I'm not done fighting for all kids, though I'm moving out of this district now. I fought for all kids before he was in elementary school, I will do so again after. He doesn't have to be in school for me to advocate for disabled children. But he has only so many school years for me to make sure he has the best education possible. I only have so much energy and there's only so many hours in a day.

                  "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:52:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Time Out (3+ / 0-)

                  Ok before this gets overheated lets discuss this.

                  in the end, it is up to all of us to work to have more inclusive schools that help all. Its better for the school and child.

                  however, many schools struggle with resources, budgets, bad parents etc. In our metro many aren't even accredited.  

                  home schooling for some parents is a last resort to help give their child a chance.  Is it as good as a full education with teachers and social structure?  No.  But it may be better then being routinely picked on or dismissed

                  rather then dropping out of the system, some can work cooperatively with the school to receive lessons at home. Others go on their own.

                  But they still need yo be advocates for better schools and fight for improvements so their need can go away for such methods

                  Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

                  by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:53:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Pretty sure that this isn't getting overheated. (3+ / 0-)

                    FloridaSNMOM and I have been very firm in our opinions but we didn't take anything personally and remained civil ... more to FloridaSNMOM's credit since my initial hyperbole invited a less cool head than hers to respond.

                    Thanks for summarizing our two positions.

                    "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

                    by Glinda on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:17:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  For some of us it isn't a last resort, though (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    FloridaSNMOM

                    I support public school--I vote for every single levy that comes down the pike. But homeschool was always our first choice. My girls have been homeschooled since birth and are universally described as bright, friendly, charming young women. Homeschoolers often band together in co-ops so that we can expand our children's opportunities both educationally and socially; most of us aren't actually home all that much. :)

        •  I'm a sociopath? (0+ / 0-)

          Good to know. Thanks for the constructive conversation.

          (Every. Single. Goddamned. Time the word comes up even tangentially we get called names around here...)

          •  Get a grip (0+ / 0-)

            Reread my comment - I did not call you a sociopath. I simply pointed out two FACTS:
             - SOME parents have mental issues
             - Schoolteachers are often the only people a child comes in contact with who are trained to detect abuse and who are required to report it.

            Note that my comment was in response to a diaried situation where the parents actually did claim to be home-schooling a child, in order to hide that they were horribly abusing that child.

            As for the commenters who seemed to think I want to outlaw home-schooling -- no, I don't. I want to reform it. I think that home-schooled children should be able to pass all the same exams that public schoolchildren are required to pass in their state. This is to protect them from situations like being "schooled" by an unqualified person with a 4th-grade education, or a religious nut teaching them that all they need to know is the Bible. Also, home-schooled children should get a yearly meeting with a qualified pediatric mental health specialist, to weed out the cases where parents keep their kids from school to hide abuse.

            From the OTT reactions above, I guess I need to clarify that I am not talking about any specific Kossack when I speak of uneducated or nutso home-schooling parents. I would hope that home-schooling Kossacks are smart enough to realize that not every home-schooling parent is as perfect as they are, and compassionate enough to give a rat's patootie about the children of these less-than-perfect non-Kossack parents.

            Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

            by vulcangrrl on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:14:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't want my son to pass (0+ / 0-)

              "every single test public school kids are required to pass". I don't want to have to teach to their tests. I want him to learn how to write correctly and not just give the correct answer without real grammar and thought (see some of the diaries of late by teachers on the quality of standardized testing). Also, not all kids test well. Our kids aren't "standard". They don't have "standard" educational needs. It took me three years to catch him up to where he should have been in several subjects when I decided to home school him. He had passed the FCAT EVERY year. I don't know how, unless the school was cheating. He couldn't add and subtract fractions at the end of fifth grade (I pulled him out before sixth), and yet he could pass the FCAT?? He couldn't write a coherent paragraph, and yet he passed the FCAT's writing portion? At every IEP meeting they told me he was "below grade level" and yet every year he was successful on the FCAT. Why should I hold him to those standards?
              I'd rather he was doing what he's doing now, in 11th grade and studying Biology out of my college Biology book, with added information from Khan Academy and college lectures and webpages online. He may not know the rote answers they learn to take that test, but he knows how to think and articulate his ideas correctly.

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:29:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Forgive me (0+ / 0-)

              I mis-represented your statement. I apologize. You said, "I would venture to say that people who homeschool have at best family social issues and at worst sociopathic beliefs and tendencies."

              So AT WORST I'm a sociopath. AT BEST we have family social issues. Totally different. I imagine I'm somewhere in between in your estimation, so maybe I'm only a little sociopathic. I'll call my therapist.

              (My point being that I doubt you know more than a handful of homeschoolers. I know hundreds.

              Homeschoolers get this every single time the term comes up here, in any context, and it hurts; words harm. I invite you--in all sincerity and friendship--to message me if you're ever in Portland to come meet my daughters. My family is on the goofy side, but we're neither sociopathic nor have any more "social issues"--though I'm unclear on exactly what you mean by that term--than any other family. My girls are universally described as warm, funny, articulate and charming, not because I'm a super-parent but because that's who they are.)

              •  LynnS: You must be replying to someone else (0+ / 0-)

                I never said "I would venture to say that people who homeschool have at best family social issues and at worst sociopathic beliefs and tendencies." That was another commenter. But I'm sure your inability to read does not affect your ability to homeschool.

                FloridaSNMOM: If your kid is so darned well-educated, why are you opposed to him taking the standard tests? After all, if he could pass them when in public school, he should be able to pass them with your so-excellent home-schooling.

                When people have reactions like this to the simple fact (as illustrated by the article that prompted these comments) that not all parents who home-school are doing so in the child's best interest - I feel like I'm on Red State, not Dkos.

                Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

                by vulcangrrl on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:06:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see mental health services as the issue (0+ / 0-)

    The parents appear to have been abusing the kid all along and are now hiding behind the laws regarding the legal status of mentally disturbed adolescents.  That may slow up a formal indictment, but this should be treated as a serious crime.  Has anyone talked to the school?  Was the house searched?

    The "home schooling" crap is very suspicious to me.  (As are statements such as "he went up and ate a whole bowl of fruit so we punished him" -- well, what the fuck do these rednecks expect if he's starving?)  I have never trusted home-schooling and while that's not directly germane either, it's a warning flag to me.  We don't know from the story what the motivation was to remove him from high school or whether the parents were involved with fundamentalism.

    Mental health funding in Missouri is a legitimate issue and its insufficiency in Kansas City probably made this worse, but it is not the root cause here.  The root cause is parents who are criminals.  This should be pursued as a criminal case, and if the parents did what the evidence strongly indicates, they should be dealt with severely.  Otherwise, these fucks are going to start doing "stand your ground" challenges and shooting people.

    •  It's sometimes too easy (4+ / 0-)

      To just say "this happens because the parents are monsters".

      It's easy to say that because it's obviously true.   I don't want to deny that in the least, what they did was monstrous.

      But the way that we treat mental health issues enabled them all the way.   We have spent time portraying the mentally ill in ways that makes it easy for society to dismiss them.   It's become a catch all excuse that people accept.  In the story when neighbors asked about the child eating trash and being locked outside, they were told "well, he's mentally ill."  And they accepted it, they just went on.

      The fact that we continually cut mental health initiatives and remove means of treatment means more people just assume the worst about those who are battling mental illness and mental disabilities.  

      If this was a normal 16 year old boy (at the time) who was locked outside a neighbor wouldn't just go over and take a blanket, you'd take time to figure this out.. "this could be a good kid!".  But we've made mental illness into a stigma that means people expect them to be treated and handled as a lower class of citizenry.

      As we repeat that message over and over we allow people with children who are mentally ill to treat them as second class citizens and feel justified in it.  It doesn't make them any less evil.  It just means that they have an easier time feeling OK with it.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:38:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are in every society mentally ill people. (0+ / 0-)

    They usually need special care.  What the parents did here is criminal, but the wider issue here is services for this child and his parents to help the whole family.  Also there is so much stigma with mental illness issues that it is still difficult to reach out when there are services available.  This is a complex situation and requires alot of intervention on many levels of social life.  Any time you feel yourself entranced with a quick fix like let's just punish the parents, etc.  think again.  We need more development of overall services for this child and his family and community than the punitive intervention by itself offers.  

  •  What's the Matter with Kansas? (0+ / 0-)

    The neighbors weren't much better. They gave the kid a blanket? Really, that was their solution to seeing him locked out of his house? I would have called the appropriate authorities to get that kid some help.

  •  Thank you for this diary. (3+ / 0-)
    When those who need it most ask for bread, we give them stones.
    This quote will be with me forever.  I refuse to give stones when I can offer bread.  
  •  Northland? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433

    NKC? Park Hill?  Liberty? North Platte? What the hell was the school doing while the boy was still attending and this abuse was going on?

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:53:09 PM PST

    •  Clay County nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      houyhnhnm, Cassandra Waites

      :(

      The school has issued this statement:

      North Kansas City School District officials, citing privacy issues, said they could not discuss the case in great detail. The boy had been a sophomore at a high school.

      District officials said if a parent decides to home-school a child that the district cannot stop that or follow up on the student's progress.

      Per state of Missouri guidelines, if you home school, a school cannot follow up or contact you regarding the progress of your student.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:45:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But BEFORE the boy was withdrawn (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmservo433, Catkin, Cassandra Waites

        School personnel are mandated reporters. There are signs of neglect that mandated reporters are trained to recognize such as coming to school in dirty, inadequate or inappropriate clothing, always seeming to be hungry, hoarding food, physical symptoms of malnutrition such as emaciation or distended stomach.  

        Surely these signs would have been evident before the boy was withdrawn from school, especially if he was special needs and had an IEP.  Where was his caseworker?  What the hell was going on here?

        Light is seen through a small hole.

        by houyhnhnm on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:33:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          Reports are that he would walk out to where the bus would meet him an hour before the bus would get there and sit out in the cold, rain, sun, whatever.   Early in the morning, he was out of his house a morning in advance and everyone knew it.

          I'm also not a fan of this "we can't follow up".

          If someone elects to homeschool, you have to let them.   But I don't think that means that the school should be barred from going by and making sure the kid is OK..

          Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

          by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:37:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  What kind of a sick, twisted mind would lock any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, Cassandra Waites

    living creature away? How can you do that to your own flesh and blood and not have it haunt you constantly?

    A child, alone in a basement.

    There are clearly mental health issues involved in this tragedy, but I don't think they rest with the child.

    Only in the darkness can you see the stars - Martin Luther King, Jr

    by Susan Grigsby on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:53:31 PM PST

  •  This story makes me so furious. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, Catkin, Cassandra Waites

    I don't care WHAT the parents' so-called "excuse" was. This is child abuse, plain and simple, and they need to be charged with everything they can possibly be charged with. I have raised a child with an autistic spectrum disorder, and no matter what kind of "mental disability" (and do we even know that's not just something the parents cooked up?) a kid has, you do NOT starve them, lock them out of the house, or deny them education. You just DON'T DO IT!

    Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

    by Jilly W on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:16:57 PM PST

    •  The Radio (6+ / 0-)

      Had clips (and you can find it on KCTV etc.) where neighbors were talking about him "always being hungry" "outside sleeping"..

      But it was the moment where someone told about him on the doorstop, crying furiously and yelling "I won't mess up again!" and begging to come inside..

      They knew he was mentally disabled.   Our son has went through that before.   He's broken household items (on accident) and it sends him into a panic.. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry".. they really don't mean it.. and I could just picture him on the door, crying begging for someone to let him in.

      It's like a gutshot.  One of the few times I've been in a car, listening to the radio where I felt I wanted to throw up.   Our local radio station has talk in the afternoon and they played some of it, and the host asked this question:  If you knew he was hungry, you knew he was being kicked out of his house, and as one neighbor said the "last time" they saw him he looked sick and frail four months ago.. how do you not call someone?

      I just can't get over it.   He's been assigned to Clay County Health Services for foster care for a year, but his denial of education for a mentally disabled child puts him farther and farther behind of having a chance at a decent life.

      It's just monstrous.  It's heartbreaking.    Everyone turned their backs because it wasn't their business :(

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:40:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is exactly like another true story made (4+ / 0-)

    into the movie "An American Crime".

    "...an appalling true story follows the grim fate of Sylvia Likens, a teenager who is left to live with Gertrude Baniszewski, a mentally unbalanced Indiana housewife who imprisons and tortures the girl in the basement."

    I am a retired teacher/counselor and one never gets over these terrible stories....they happen more often than we ever imagine.  Sometimes the children get lucky and someone takes action earlier than they did for this poor child.  However, I used to find many people avert their eyes to abuse and do not want to see it, even when it is pointed out.  I was always appalled at the willful avoidance by school personnel.

    Our greatest responsibility is to be a good ancestor. Jonas Salk

    by Catkin on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:38:51 PM PST

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