Concern emerges over Shaken Baby Syndrome lesson in school

Created: 06/20/2014 7:23 PM WHEC.com

Some parents and students are calling it sick and disturbing. Concerns have emerged after a controversial lesson on Shaken Baby Syndrome was taught to students at Churchville-Chili Middle School.

Did the lesson go too far? Some parents are upset after seventh graders were asked to shake a baby doll to death. The lesson in a Family and Consumer Sciences class taught students about Shaken Baby Syndrome, but one student says it was sick.

“I couldn’t stand it. I was so upset. It was terrible,” said Abby Pitcher, a seventh grader who participated in the class.

Pitcher is pretty shaken up. She says the lesson involved a baby doll that’s brain lit up red to indicate damage after it was shaken. Pitcher says her teacher shook the doll first and then had students practice doing it too. The goal was to shake the doll until its entire head flashed red. That meant the baby was dead.

“Even if it is just a doll, it’s still showing kids how to kill a child,” said Pitcher.

Pitcher says she refused to shake the doll. She doesn’t think the teacher should have asked the students to get involved. Her dad says Abby isn’t overly sensitive, so he knew something was wrong when she came home visibly upset.

“I t was very disturbing especially with Abby having five nieces and nephews, and I taught my children to treat babies very gently,” said Michael Pitcher.

The school released the following statement:

“The objective of the FACS class topic discussion is to teach students how delicate babies are and not to do anything that would intentionally harm them.  After several interviews of students and other staff who were present in the classroom at the time of the Shaken Baby Syndrome lesson, it was apparent that these allegations were inaccurate. The district strives to provide classroom environments that are supportive during difficult discussions while preparing our students for life. Moving forward we will include a counselor in the classroom during the discussion in the event that there are students who find the topic particularly emotional.”

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