Sunday, October 11, 2009

Class Room Pressure

Z at her blog talks about a student flipping out in class and physically assaulting another, whose life was saved only by quick thinking by fellow students. Some would suggest that classroom pressure caused this. Possibly it is part of the problem but not the whole problem.

Even in mental collapse one needs to remain responsible.

I did see a student go crazy once.

I was in the Navy at the Nuclear Power School in Orlando. Nuclear Power School was not easy, but it was harder for some than others. (I was far from top of the class but I did well enough to earn a meritorious release from Friday field day - - that's cleaning the classroom - - almost every week.) In another classroom a student suddenly threw everything down and ran screaming out of the room and building. A half-hearted (and futile) attempt was made to find him. I did not hear about it until the events that took place that night were happening.

I was sound asleep after midnight when I awoke to the sound of someone screaming outside. I went to the window and looked outside. There was a man about my age (I was 19 at the time) walking down the sidewalk in his skivvies (undershorts) screaming that he could feel fingers going through his brain and they were going to take it and attach it to a reactor. Then he started picking up rocks and throwing them through windows. Another student went outside and approached him and got a knocked to the ground with a bloody lip for his trouble.

The Barracks Officer of the Deck (A Chief Petty Officer) could be seen making a phone call and then approach the man. This Chief was experienced enough to handle it differently than the sailor who was decked. He let the man lunge at him but would step aside and let him pass him, and usually stumble to the ground. This kept him busy until several Shore Patrol units showed up and subdued him.

He had obviously flipped out but he was still held responsible. He was medically discharged after he had paid for the windows he had broken.

I agree that temporary or long-term insanity should always be considered, but a person must still be held responsible. If sanity is an issue in a crime than ease up a little on the punishment, but don't let the person completely off the hook.

UPDATE 11:28 PM Z is need of prayers as she just lost her husband.


Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Actually, I was interested to see if this was at all ideology-related. Maybe the guy was a leftist, seriously, and had a problem with scientific experients ... etc. I'm still waiting to hear more on the suspect's motives.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

All I want to know is:

Did you get to the point where you rubbed H Rickovers' statue's nose?

THAT speaks VOLUMES to me.


9:49 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

In all my 35+ years of teaching, I've seen only one student go over the edge in my classroom. He was a 6th grader; the diagnosis was mental illness, sociopathy to be precise. He did have a history of head injuries and the hallmarks of sociopathy (bedwetting, cruelty to animals, etc.). He may later have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

I saw the young man a few months ago. Clearly, he is still deeply disturbed. He was, of course, unable to complete his education and remains too volatile for regular employment. He has been institutionalized several times. Thankfully, his family is well to do and takes care of him. I shudder to think what will happen to this man when his parents die.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Forgot to say....Watching someone have a break with reality is something else! And the day that the boy broke down in my classroom (locked himself in the in-classroom bathroom, started screaming, broke the mirror, tried to kill himself), the psychiatric ambulance came to the school and put him in a straight jacket so as to transport him to the mental hospital.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I've seen several people lose it...some in classrooms, but never to the extent of nearly killing someone.

Our prayers are with Z and family.

8:26 PM  

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