School replaces blind boy’s cane with a pool noodle
School's inappropriate punishment leaves blind boy struggling to navigate.
Dakota, via Facebook

US: An eight-year-old boy who was born without eyes was on the receiving end of appalling punishment from his school authorities this week when his cane was replaced with a pool noodle, according to Mail Online.


Dakota Nafzinger had allegedly raised his cane which he uses to navigate leading to fears that he would strike another child. The school official then confiscated the cane and handed him a huge green pool noodle. Dakota said that officials told him the cane was school property and that he could only get it back in two weeks’ time and that he’d have to use the noodle until then.

He also stated that the pool noodle is useless to him as it does not help him to feel where he is going while walking.

His parents were livid with school authorities, saying that their son, who was born without eyes with the condition bilateral anopthalmia, was utterly humiliated.

An internal investigation driven by the school district forced school officials to apologise to the family for the "mistake".

Discipline techniques

School discipline has become a complex issue in most countries; since corporal punishment was abolished in SA, schools have had to draft complex codes of conduct which are signed by the pupils. In some cases, teachers are still striking the children, but they face disciplinary hearings should this become known to the school or parents.

This particular case highlights the struggles that physically disabled children endure when attending schools, including a lack of understanding on the part of some teachers the effort that it takes to attend classes without being discriminated against. Bad behaviour must be addressed, but the form of discipline should not include the humiliation of a child.

There are programmes such as community service in some schools for children that break the rules- perhaps the teachers concerned in this case should be the ones performing community service.

What disciplinary measures does your child’s school have?

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