Testimony in favor of Amendment 2012-1595h to SB 328, relative to the procedure for filling a vacancy on a cooperative school board, and relative to the use of separation, or time out, as a technique for behavior guidance and treatment of children.
Rep. Andrew J. Manuse, R-Rockingham 5 (Derry)
April 17, 2012 | House Education Committee
I chose Sonshine Preschool and Daycare for my child last year because, among other reasons, the director informed me that she uses “time-outs” as a method to correct the poor behavior of children, as this is the type of discipline I believe a non-family member caregiver should be using to correct my child’s poor behavior.
I was shocked to learn this year with the House deadline for filing bills through the Rules Committee behind me, that this very director was later visited by a member of the Health and Human Services Department, who informed her that she can no longer could use time-outs at her facility—period. Sonshine Director Carol Earle (see her letter linked here), knowing I’m one of her state representatives, asked me to do something about this—to at least provide for a religious exemption so parents could choose to send their children to a religious daycare where their poor behavior could be properly corrected. I didn’t see the reason for a religious exemption, as I believe any child care facility should be allowed to use time-outs as a disciplinary technique. I used my first opportunity, and this bill before you today is as good a vehicle as any to make this necessary change to our law.
As you might know, the Bible in Proverbs 13:24 makes it clear that “He who spares his rod hates his child, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Now, I’m not here to advocate for corporal punishment in the schoolyard, but I do think that some disciplinary measure must be available to teachers and day care operators that makes it clear to children when they cross the line and that they shouldn’t cross the line again. Time-outs were supposed to be the compromise so that no parent felt their child was being unduly abused by the teacher, but also so that no parent felt that the children were ruling the schoolyard, if you will, and teachers had no control over the situation.
If you read He-C 4002.25, the rules enabled by RSA 170-E:11(i), which gives a blanket authority for HHS to write rules regarding the “discipline of children,” the rules say that child care personal must “provide positive guidance” and “positively worded directions” and cannot use “separation, or time out” as “a punitive disciplinary technique.” I understand that children can be redirected once or twice, but what happens when that doesn’t work? In my opinion, and in the opinion of most parents, I believe, the child needs punitive discipline to correct his or her behavior. To not discipline a misbehaving child in my opinion is pure lunacy. No wonder children are so misbehaved these days, and it only gets worse with age.
As a parent, my deep thought and sincere and honest, good judgment went into picking a school where I thought my child could learn in a safe environment and be corrected when she intentionally misbehaves. I think all parents should have the freedom to choose a day care facility or school for their child where their reasonable educational and disciplinary belief systems are honored and practiced. I also think that most parents would agree with me that discipline of some kind is a necessary tool for child care providers to use.
Other parents might not agree with time outs as a form of discipline, but it is every parent’s duty to research the facility where he or she plans to send his or her children and make sure that the techniques used at that facility meet his or her standards of judgment. If a parent doesn’t want their child going to a school that uses time-outs, he or she can send that child somewhere else that doesn’t use such a technique. But that parent does not have the right to tell me or others that there is no place for my child to go where she can be properly disciplined and corrected when she misbehaves, and certainly that parent has no right to use the power of government to prevent me from picking the child care provider and reasonable child care disciplinary methods of my choice.
When I first heard about these rules, I knew that something had to be done immediately, to prevent undue harm to the state. That is why you have a non-germane amendment before you today. If HHS agents are invading my child’s religious preschool and daycare, telling them they can’t use a disciplinary technique as reasonable as a time-out to correct a child’s poor behavior, what other schools are they visiting where directors will just nod, smile and comply and forever teach a whole group of children that they can do no wrong? At least there is one preschool and daycare in this state willing to speak up when the government goes too far. I am grateful to have selected the right school for my child, where I am now more confident than ever that my child is learning from the right people with the right mindset, and that she will have the better moral character for it. I am hoping that you agree with me that this overreaching rule must be shot down immediately, so common sense can prevail.
Thank you for your time.