What is Going On in Our Schools? 4 Year Old Boy Put in ‘Body Sock’ as Punishment


The title should really be … “WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION”

I guess academia even as young as kindergarten thinks they can raise your children better than you.

So now schools are putting children in “Body Socks” as forms of punishment. What’s next, LegIronsleg irons? If teachers and schools are entrusted with our children for a greater part of a day, one would think that maybe they would have the social skills to deal with children. What right do they have to use methods of punishment on children that parents are not even aware of? What else are you doing that parents are unaware of?

We realize that children can get out of control sometimes; however, can we use some common sense? You have no right to punish a child in a manner in which parents have no knowledge. I sense a lawsuit coming soon to a Pinellas County court near you.


A Pinellas County School put a 4 year old boy in a “Body Sock” as a form of punishment. The problem is twofold:

  • The Body Sock is not really intended to be used on children as a form. It is designed for occupational therapy for autistic children.
  • The parents were never sold by the school that any such thing would be used as Body sockpunishment.

Recently, some school pre-kindergarten teachers came under fire when parent Patrick Holt complained that a “body sock” was used on his 4-year-old son without his permission.

“I don’t like it at all,” Holt said. “I don’t think it should be used on anybody.”

The manufacturers said the “body sock” is designed to help children explore three-dimensional space. And, an occupational therapist said the “body sock” is primarily meant for autistic children. (Local 6)

However, Holt’s son is not disabled.

In typical school board manner (CYA), the Pinellas County School Board ruled that what the teachers did was perfectly fine to do even though “they admitted the parents were not aware of the body sock and its use on their child.” I hardly doubt you will have the same feeling once the parents of this child sues the School Board.

Interesting, the school sent letters to parents after the incident occurs stating the following. Can the school explain how a 4 year old is supposed to differentiate between being placed in this sock is not a punishment? Read the full story of the incident that the mother witnesses.

The letters describe how the district uses the Body Sox, a stretchy bag made of thin, colorful fabric. It is sometimes used to help calm children, boost their creativity and improve “awareness of their body in space,” the district says.

It is not used to discipline or restrain children, said Carol Thomas, an assistant superintendent.

The main point here is information, communication and choices. A school and a teacher has no right to do to children what they see fit. Especially when the parents are unaware that such circumstances exist. There is something fundamentally wrong that the school only sent letters out after the fact. Since the incident the family has transferred their 4 year old son out of the school to one that uses “time outs”. Choices come from provided information.

Posted January 24, 2007 by
Bizarre, Child Welfare, Education | 15 comments

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  • Comments

    15 Responses to “What is Going On in Our Schools? 4 Year Old Boy Put in ‘Body Sock’ as Punishment”

    1. Miss-Underestimated on January 24th, 2007 1:13 pm

      What do you expect anymore, professionalism, compassion, or common sense? I thought teachers had to take child developement classes prior to becoming a teacher?

      Well I guess , they did not recommend ritalin.

    2. Miss-Underestimated on January 24th, 2007 1:14 pm

      PS: maybe Airtrans might be interested in these socks. LOL

    3. Scared Monkeys on January 24th, 2007 1:21 pm

      Yes, I heard Airtran put in an order the other day … :)

    4. Patti on January 24th, 2007 1:35 pm

      What the ?!?!?!?

      I just don’t understand how we have gotten to the point where the people who genuinely care for our children have to use a body sock to comfort a child. Autistic, or not a real hug is most comforting… Body Sock? Next best thing!

      The body sock is nothing like a straight-jacket, it’s more like an over-sized sweat shirt. Obviously, it’s not restrictive; besides, if it works for autistic children, why not the rest?

      Obviously, this little boy’s mom wasn’t concerned about her son being in the body sock until she found out that it was being used in response to her son’s overactive behavior. Some parents don’t want anyone to do anything to discipline their children… they call it unreasonable. I think it’s unreasonable to expect someone to care for your children, without disciplining them. If all it takes is to slip a shirt over their clothes, all the better. In my opinion, that’s alot less stressful on a child than time-out.

      Unfortunately, I won’t be surprised to hear that this mom will soon be saying that the horrible incident caused her son irreversible emotional damage… rediculous.

    5. dennisintn on January 24th, 2007 2:02 pm

      can we say “colorful strait jacket”? if time-outs had been in vogue when i was in school, i’d still be serving time in the corner. “in my day” it was a quick smack on the hand or wherever else was handy and then back to the real business at hand.

    6. momee617 on January 24th, 2007 3:25 pm

      Children need to have limits set for them and appropriate consequences for them if they exceed the limits. This needs to come from both parents and teachers (or caregivers) to be consistent so the children know what is acceptable. I would not stick my child in a body sock or handcuffs or anything like that in order to get my point across. It kind of defeats the purpose of learning self control. There isn’t anything at all wrong with time outs (with age appropriate time limits). It would bother me if my child was misbehaving in class, but that doesn’t mean that I would not want any discipline used. This sounds like it really pushed the line and I would transfer my child out of that (or any)school that used physical means as discipline. The definition of discipline is learning. We need to teach our kids right and wrong.

      A body sock also gives the other kids an opportunity to make fun of someone – the whole thing is ridiculous. Teachers are supposed to know how to deal with their students and if they can’t figure out how to keep their class under control they need a different job. If the child was a problem, why wasn’t the mom notified? It should be a team approach with the major responsibility on the parents. I just don’t get it and I’m glad I don’t have a child in the school system anymore.

    7. Jon on January 24th, 2007 4:45 pm

      It’s time to try “Body Sox” on some teachers and see their reactions….in fact, why not try them on the entire School Board?

    8. Bodo on January 24th, 2007 5:27 pm

      It doesn’t sound like that sack-like sock thing was used as a form of punishment and I don’t believe it’s harmful unless the child is forced to go in it or forced to remain in it if the child wants out. The school superintendent said “it feels like a big hug.” I can believe that. If children want to be in it, it’s because they feel cozy in a private little space where they can escape to their own little world. Whether a kids playhouse or just a big cardboard box, children sometimes like a private little space of their own where they can escape to the security of their own little world. Ever have a child or know of a child who would crawl under a blanket or under the bed to cry when they are punished and then soon be sound asleep? It’s that cozy little space they escaped to that calms them, as calming as a cocoon-like swaddling wrap or bunting bag moms put baby in.

      I doubt if that body sock thing is any more harmful to a child than a big cardboard box is if the child is not forced to go in it or forced to remain in it as a punishment. The boy didn’t cry to get out until he heard his mother in the room and I expect that might have been the same reaction even if he was playing inside a toy playhouse when mom arrived. I think the kid was just anxious to latch on to mom. A pretty normal reaction I think.

      But I do think parents should be well informed and completely aware and consenting to all that goes on in the teaching and training of their children, whether preschool, kindergarten or higher. Parents should be informed and that is why schools have an open door policy to visiting parents. And as for the other parents who may not visit the school to whom they gave custody to teach and train their children, the school sent letters to “urge parents to call with questions or notify a teacher if they have a problem with the Body Sox,” just as they should now that it may be possible that there are other parents who do not visit their child’s classroom from time to time or bother to participate on parent-teacher days.

    9. Scared Monkeys on January 24th, 2007 5:57 pm

      Folks … please do not defend strangers doing something to children when the parents have no idea nor have ever given approval.

      Next time you are in a store and your child acts up, then I guess its ok for the store manager to throw your child in a burlap sack?

      The consent is the issue here. If parents know and agree to shackles, then so be it. No one has the right to act unilaterally against a child w/o the knowledge or permission of the parent. No one.

      In this case the school admitted they never told anyone.


    10. kate on January 24th, 2007 9:24 pm

      From a teacher’s point of view, let me assure you that there’s not a day that goes by that my colleagues and I don’t feel the need to call for straight jackets, duct tape, and even the Marines Corp! Truly, discipline in the classroom is teetering on being non-existent, as parents seek out reasons to blame poor behavior, poor study skills, and poor report cards on other children, or even an “ineffective or poorly trained” teacher.

      Who wants to be a teacher anymore? Judging by the number of vacant positions across the country that cannot be filled, no one

    11. kate on January 24th, 2007 9:41 pm

      Whoops, accidently hit the submit button before I finished. But, I should also mention that there is a 4-year old pre-school class in my building that looks and sounds like a war zone. Why? Because the class is filled with 20 4-year olds who act like wild animals. They have probably never sat down with a parent to read a book, never had a meal at the dinner table, never had a regular bedtime, etc. But, the parents probably stood in line the night before registration, to insure that their kids got one of the 20 spots in the only public school (FREE) pre-school in the neighborhood. That’s right, free babysitting.

      Spend a couple days in a school. It won’t take you long to pick out a handful of consistently rude, arrogant, and self-centered kids. Go back in about 10 years for another visit. The handful that you witnessed earlier will, in 10 years, be the norm, unless parents begin accepting responsibility for their kids!

    12. Juan on January 24th, 2007 11:43 pm

      so this is where bondage and discipline begins….early in life

    13. Bodo on January 25th, 2007 1:00 am


      This “Body Sox” thing was not some wicked device used secretly in the classrooms behind locked doors.

      It is a developmental aid for autistic children at the school who are in mixed classrooms with non-disabled children. 4 year-old non-disabled children do not know that their autistic classroom friends are “special” but they sure do know when their autistic friends get special attention and are allowed to participate in special activities. I don’t think it is cruel to allow non-disabled children in the classroom to participate in the special activities of their autistic friends if they want to. I think it might be cruel not to.

      Now the mother of this non-disabled child is requiring the teacher not to allow her child to participate in the special attention activities of his “special” autistic classmates, and it is the parental right and parental responsibility of the mother to do that if she believes, as she has said, that the special activities which are used in the classrooms as developmental aids for the autistic children are used in a punitive way with her child. But if it is not a punitive activity and if her child does not see it is a punitive activity and if the child clamors to participate when he is seeing his “special” friends getting that special attention, then I expect that what this child might feel is cruel and punitive is when the teacher must now comply with the mother’s instruction and refuse her child that special attention activity.

      And the mother says she was not informed about this Body Sox activity in the school. The superintendent said the school district “has used the Body Sox for years, and this is the first time anyone has complained.” This gives rise to the realization that the mother of this boy has neglected participation in the parent-teacher days for that period of time. Maybe a lot of other parents too! The school cannot be entirely to blame for this mother’s lack of information if the mother is not participating in those special days that schools set aside for communication between parents and the teachers of there children, that special day scheduled periodically during the school year when the school urges parents to come visit the classrooms of their children and discuss with the teachers of their children the activities and progress of their children at school.

    14. Miss-Underestimated on January 25th, 2007 8:39 am

      When we allow others to abuse your children, physically or mentally in front of others, what signal are you sending?

      What would an adult do if his boss asked him to put on a dunce hat at work, if he made an error. or here you wear the body sock today, because you can’t behave?

    15. Jon on January 28th, 2007 11:46 pm

      Right on Miss-Underestimated

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