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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Can a haircut be an assault? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Magnus Eisengrim
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From the CBC

Thunder Bay mom wants answers after teacher's aide chops off son's hair

A Thunder Bay woman is demanding an explanation after a teacher's aide at her son's school cut his long hair — an action her lawyer says is clearly assault while the Crown insists there are no grounds for charges.

CBC News is not naming the family to protect the child's identity.

The seven-year-old boy had chin-length hair before the incident last month. His mother said staff at McKellar Park Central Public School were aware her son was letting his hair grow so that he could take part in traditional First Nations dancing.

The mother told CBC News she was stunned when her son told her it was a teacher's assistant who lopped off 10 centimetres of his hair.

"I said, 'Why did she do this? Did she say anything?'" said the mother. "And he said, 'No, and after she cut my hair, she took me by the shoulders and forced me to stand in front of the mirror. She made me stand there and said look at you now.'"

Lawyer Julian Falconer is representing the family.

"We have a classic example of the vulnerabilities of a seven-year-old being taken advantage [of] by someone with a pair of scissors who lifted that child on a stool and preceded to violate the child," Falconer said. "The question becomes how could the police and the Crown attorney's office turn a blind eye to this?"

Thunder Bay police took head shots of the child as part of their investigation of the incident and also interviewed the school principal, the teacher's assistant involved and the mother and boy, said police spokesman Chris Adams.

"The Crown got back to us and indicated that there were no grounds for criminal charges, and it wasn't in the public interest according to the Crown," he said.

A spokesperson for Lakehead Public School Board confirmed the "unfortunate incident" took place but declined to comment further.

The teaching assistant has been suspended, but the mother said that does not go far enough.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
MagicSanta
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That is a tough one because of the cultural impact.

I'll tell you this, I also think it is cruel when parents want their boys to have long hair when it really isn't up to the kid (kids will do what pleases the parents). When my wife was teaching she had a little kid with shoulder length hair and kids, of course, teased him. I finally asked him if he liked his hair and he told me he hated it and wanted it cut like other boys. I asked the mother about the hair and she said he loved it, I told her he didn't and she finally asked the little guy and he told her he hated it. She finally got it cut, kids stopped teasing him, he was much happier. He went through lots of crap because his mother thought he was cute with long hair.
JoeJoe
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Asault is threatening physical contact with another person without their consent. Battery is physical contact with another person without their consent. This is clearly battery.

And as someone with long hair, the teacher should be arrested on criminal charges - no doubt about it what-so-ever! I hope they sue the teacher and the principle and the school into the ground over this, you just don't mess with someone's hair like that!

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EsnRedshirt
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Don't know about the U.K., but in the US, this would clearly be assault.
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critter
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That is so frickin' annoying. Authorities can be pretty useless. Maybe they should cut off all of the TA's hair. Or tar and feather it.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
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Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2009-05-21 18:05, JoeJoe wrote:
Asault is threatening physical contact with another person without their consent. Battery is physical contact with another person without their consent. This is clearly battery.

And as someone with long hair, the teacher should be arrested on criminal charges - no doubt about it what-so-ever! I hope they sue the teacher and the principle and the school into the ground over this, you just don't mess with someone's hair like that!

-JoeJoe


Two points:
1. It was the TA not the teacher who cut the hair. So far it is not disclosed whether the teacher was a party to this.

2. AFIK "Battery" is not a meaningful legal term in Canada. The relevant offenses include "Assault" and "Assault causing bodily harm".

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
RS1963
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I don't think it is abusive at all. If the school has a code against male student's having long hear she was certainly in the right. I applaud the Teacher's aid for doing this.
hou_dini
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Sorry----Are you out of your mind? How can you condone abuse and humiliation of a seven yr old child? If the school code says he can't have long hair--suspend him or kick him out. Abuse--to treat in a harmful/offensive way. "Forced" to stand in front of a mirror. A sick person who should not be allowed around young kids. Your support of this TA is unconscionable.
critter
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With this mentality you should certainly applaud the South for defending slavery so fiercly and Hitler for his death camps. After all, they were just enforcing policy.

Quote:
On 2009-05-22 01:51, RS1963 wrote:
I don't think it is abusive at all. If the school has a code against male student's having long hear she was certainly in the right. I applaud the Teacher's aid for doing this.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
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Skip Way
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Here, in the U.S., as already mentioned, an assault is merely a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. No actual contact is required.

Battery is the physical application of such a threat. Battery can be pursued as a civil or criminal matter, depending on the intent of the offender. A complainant must prove that the defendant acted with the intent to cause harmful or offensive contact to the victim.

The battery must result in one of two forms of contact. Causing any physical harm or injury to the victim such as a cut, a burn, or a bullet wound constitutes a battery, but actual injury is not required. Even though there is no apparent bruise following harmful contact, the defendant can still be guilty of battery. For example, being subjected to a physical illness by someone who intended to transmit or knowingly transmitted the illness to you through such contact may be actionable.

The second type battery causes no actual physical harm but is, instead, offensive or insulting to the victim. An example would be offensively touching someone against his or her will. It seems, at least under U.S. law, that someone not in a custodial position, such as this TA, cutting a child's hair against the wishes of the custodial parent constitutes a civil rather than a criminal battery against the child.

The problem with the civil suit is that you have to prove a monetary loss. Emotional attachments to pets, heirlooms and, in this case, hair length are generally unrecoverable. Civil recovery for the negligent death of a beloved pet, for example, is limited to the actual cash value of the pet as property; not as a perceived member of your family. (Thank you, Judge Judy.)

From another perspective, I suspect that if the family can prove that the cutting of the son's hair causes genuine distress from a cultural perspective, as seen with some Middle East, Asian and Native American sects, a civil liberties suit may be applicable.

If it had been my kid, I'd be raising the roof and demanding the TA's certification, if any, be withdrawn.
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MagicSanta
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The South fought for state rights not slavery. Slavery didn't become the key reason until the war was almost over and if slavery was the reason they wouldn't have released the slaves once the bill was signed. The poor South, subjected to attacks by the evil yankee hordes.
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2009-05-22 11:35, Skip Way wrote:
Here, in the U.S., as already mentioned, an assault is merely a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. No actual contact is required.

Battery is the physical application of such a threat. Battery can be pursued as a civil or criminal matter, depending on the intent of the offender. A complainant must prove that the defendant acted with the intent to cause harmful or offensive contact to the victim.

The battery must result in one of two forms of contact. Causing any physical harm or injury to the victim such as a cut, a burn, or a bullet wound constitutes a battery, but actual injury is not required. Even though there is no apparent bruise following harmful contact, the defendant can still be guilty of battery. For example, being subjected to a physical illness by someone who intended to transmit or knowingly transmitted the illness to you through such contact may be actionable.

The second type battery causes no actual physical harm but is, instead, offensive or insulting to the victim. An example would be offensively touching someone against his or her will. It seems, at least under U.S. law, that someone not in a custodial position, such as this TA, cutting a child's hair against the wishes of the custodial parent constitutes a civil rather than a criminal battery against the child.

The problem with the civil suit is that you have to prove a monetary loss. Emotional attachments to pets, heirlooms and, in this case, hair length are generally unrecoverable. Civil recovery for the negligent death of a beloved pet, for example, is limited to the actual cash value of the pet as property; not as a perceived member of your family. (Thank you, Judge Judy.)

From another perspective, I suspect that if the family can prove that the cutting of the son's hair causes genuine distress from a cultural perspective, as seen with some Middle East, Asian and Native American sects, a civil liberties suit may be applicable.

If it had been my kid, I'd be raising the roof and demanding the TA's certification, if any, be withdrawn.



Good summary. One (minor) point, though - Damages is not an element of the case in battery, i.e. you don't have to prove damages, and can recover at least nominal damages (in most jurisdictions, punitive damages as well, if malice is demonstrated).

This is related to battery being an intentional tort. It's different than negligence; as a legal matter, if there aren't actual damages, there is no negligence case.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2009-05-22 01:51, RS1963 wrote:
I don't think it is abusive at all. If the school has a code against male student's having long hear she was certainly in the right. I applaud the Teacher's aid for doing this.


This is one of those posts that is so antithetical to my belief system that I wonder if it's even serious. Aside from the fact that nothing was mentioned in the article about a code against male students having long hair, even if there were such a code, that wouldn't put her in the right. The student should have been sent to the principal or sent home, if in violation of such a code. Should a teacher undress a female student in violation of a dress code?
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
MagicSanta
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My concern is he is a tribal person (that is an assumption, there are plenty of people who 'think' they are native) and cutting his hair could have an actual impact on him. If he was just some honkified kid who's mother loved Motley Crue that is another story, wait, it is Canada, a mother who loved Triumph.
Magnus Eisengrim
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LOL. Santa.

He is apparently bona fide First Nations. I heard an interview with his mother who compared the hair cutting to the appearance of her parents in photos in residential schools.

In this country there aren't many more pitiful images than children forced from their families and forced to "live white" as happened for the better part of the 20th century.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
MagicSanta
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That also happened at the 'indian school' here years ago. Short hair, couldn't speak their tribal language, all that. It is the cultural aspect that makes this so wrong in my opinion.
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"Honkified" or not it's still child abuse. Just because someone is part of another culture should not set aside the fact that a crime against a person has been perpetrated.
MagicSanta
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It isn't child abuse I mean it would actually have some importance if it was cultural, if not then no harm no foul.
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I don't think it's child abuse, but it's not "no foul," either. For the "What's the big deal?" crowd, here's a hypothetical for you...your wife is out shopping, and while she's standing in line at the cashier, some guy lops off her hair and takes off. Is your reaction REALLY "No big deal...it's hair, it'll grow back"?

The mother's right -- suspending the T.A. doesn't go far enough.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
RS1963
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My comment was not well liked as I figured it would not be but It is still My opinion. It did not hurt the child and so what if the parents are ****ed off? If the long hair was offensive to everyone else something needed to be done and it was since the parents didn't give a you know what. I'm on the T.A's side and will remain that way. like it or not.

Yes I know this post is going to raise more ire That is not My intent to do but it will I'm sure. It is what I believe and I am going to stand by it. I'm not going to say that all those that think this was wrong, are wrong themselves or flame them because they do not agree with me.

Were all right in our thinking maybe not 100 percent right of course but in ways everyone that has posted on this thread is right. Doesn't matter if we like what others said or not.

Randy
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