Rank-Based Abuse in the Childcare Setting
Table of Contents
On September 21 this year, a snap chat video where two childcare workers were bullying a child with autism went viral on social media. The Florida childcare workers, 26-year-old Kadericca Smith and 19-year-old Alexus Henderson, have been granted an arrest warrant after being accused of taunting, berating, and throwing a backpack at the 8-year-old youngster with autism who went crying under the table for some time. Henderson has been charged with negligence while Smith has been arraigned for child abuse and battery. Thus, the given case concerns rank abuse, a topic that Robert Fuller explicates in his book, Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank. Fuller provides the reasoning that all manners of discrimination start with the power, which he calls rankism. In the case of Henderson and Smith versus the 8-year-old junior, there are various forms of abuse that are evident in the snapchat video of the 8-year-old autistic child, which include rankism, child abuse and bullying among others.
Rankism can be described as a treatment of people of a lower rank in an exploitative, discriminatory or abusive manner. Rankism can also be called the abuse of rank. Fuller (2014) explains that the representatives of higher rank (somebodies) use their power to oppress those of the lower rank (nobodies). Notwithstanding, this kind of abuse is bad since it causes humiliation and indignity to the ‘nobodies’ as they feel helpless. Moreover, such an abuse persists mostly in areas that show the difference in ranks between ‘somebodies’ and ‘nobodies’. For instance, Smith and Henderson are the workers at a childcare setting, which means they have authority over the 8-year-old autistic child. In this case, the two employees feel themselves as ‘somebodies’ and consider the kid a ‘nobody’. They use their rank to abuse the young one by throwing a backpack at him and berating. The charges of negligence, battery and child abuse brought by the government simply prove that the workers were practicing rankism.
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Bullying is a wide term, which can be explained as a verbal, emotional or physical act performed by a person who is presumably more powerful over another individual who is less powerful or inferior. According to Brennan (2013), the act of bullying might aim at intimidating or coercing the inferior party by threatening him/her or instilling fear in that person. The behavior of two workers can be termed bullying. Firstly, the video demonstrates that the autistic child was subjected both verbally and physically to the harassment by two adults. The reaction of the kid produces evidence that they have held him in awe, and the employees might do the same action again. Additionally, hiding and crying under the table shows that the child was threatened and helpless. Smith is seen following the junior and grabbing his leg in anger making the youngster fall down several times. Hence, this exhibits the emotional aspect of both workers and the child. Therefore, such a conduct clearly demonstrates bullying.
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Child abuse is a broader term, which can be described as an emotional/psychological or physical mistreatment of juniors. Fuller (2010) explains that child abuse is one of the descendants of rankism where either a person or a childcare center uses the power over the little one to coerce or intimidate the latter to stop or prevent particular actions. Nevertheless, there are several categories of child abuse that display both psychological and physical mistreatment. For instance, the whole behavior of the two workers who were bullying the 8-year-old autistic youngster is regarded the child abuse. Psychological mistreatment is evident when the employees of the childcare setting instilled fear in the kid after throwing shoes and backpack at him thus making the child psychologically tortured. The young one is threatened by the adults and feels that they are bad people who might even kill him. Physical mistreatment involves grabbing the leg of the child that led to a leg sweep and made the kid fall down. Negligence can be traced when Henderson watches Smith physically harassing the child without stopping her, even though it is her duty to protect the child from such a behavior.
Disability abuse is the mistreatment of people with disabilities or those who are handicapped. According to Fuller and Gerloff (2008), individuals with special needs are less superior in one way or another. Hence, these people are disproportionally affected by life factors that seem simple to healthy members of the society. Individuals with autism are disabled in the sense that they have difficulties in learning and comprehension. Most of them are slow learners who might not even understand something that everyone regards quite easy. Smith and Henderson were fully aware that the 8-year-old child was autistic; therefore, they had to treat him in the manner that does not show abuse, oppression or discrimination. Thus, this means that they were arrogant and did not care about the condition of the kid. Throwing shoes and backpack as well as following the youngster to make him fall again are the evidence of physical harassment of the disabled child. As a result, they were treating the little one without human dignity as the boy was crying and hiding under the table. However, still the adults pursued him and did not leave him alone.
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Harassment and Discriminatory Abuse
Harassment is an act of one person towards another with the intention to disturb or threaten the opposing party. On the other hand, discrimination can be described as unfair treatment of people due to their disability or the differentiating feature that distinguishes individuals or parties. Fuller (2010) claims that dignity is inviolate and innate. Therefore, there is no person who should feel more dignified than others. However, this is caused by rank as those of higher rank consider that they have greater dignity than representatives of the lower orders. In the given case, the behavior of two workers displays both harassment and discriminatory power. When Smith was physically bullying the child and left him crying under the table, she exhibited harassment with the intention to threaten the boy. Discriminatory abuse is evident when despite knowing that the child was autistic (disabled), the childcare employees proceeded with their oppressive acts. The fact that they were charged with child abuse and battery shows how they discriminated and harassed the youngster.
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Humiliation can be described as an act of abuse, which is meant to make the inferior person humbled or mortified. From the perspective of Fuller and Gerloff (2008), humiliation serves as a sense of pride of the individual humiliating another. It might also involve intimidation, mental mistreatment or embarrassment towards the person. However, humiliation may become an abuse, especially in relation to a small child and in case of disability of the kid. If the humiliating party is well aware of the poor condition of the one being humiliated, then it is a serious offense according to the law. Equality in opportunities is the factor that can promote equality in dignity. Nonetheless, as long as there are different levels of opportunities provided to people, the society can forget about equal dignity. One of the differential accessible opportunities is power or rank. Disability is another opportunity that every individual finds differential. Smith and Henderson humiliated the 8-year-old boy simply because of their position of workers who were supposed to take care of the disabled kid suffering from autism.
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Institutional abuse involves a broad range of acts that occur mostly in care homes such as a childcare setting. It embraces abuse of process, power as well as numerous acts of negligence and physical or psychological torture. Fuller (2004) asserts that abuse of process occurs when a person or a party resorts to a deliberate misuse of their authority that is contrary to the legal provisions or underlying legal action. An intentional act shows that the party does not care about the consequences of his/her actions towards the other party. The two workers who obtained a warrant of arrest committed an institutional abuse to the 8-year-old autistic boy. If the adults were aware of the condition of the child and still neither of them could stop the other, then it means it was a deliberate act. Therefore, they should also be prepared to face the battery, child abuse and negligence charges filed against them. Respecting one’s dignity is a very significant factor of humanity.
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In summary, various concepts of abuse in relation to the snapchat video of the 8-year-old autistic child such as rankism, child abuse and bullying among others have been discussed, and the evidence of unlawful behavior in the case of Henderson and Smith versus the 8-year-old child were provided. For instance, rank-based abuse is associated with several concepts. The snap chat video from September 21 that shows two Florida workers bullying the 8-year-old child with autism explains some of the rank-based abuse. Fuller explains that rank is the origin for all the other kinds of abuse, namely sexism, racism etc. Rankism contradicts two principles of humanity and dignity and persists in places of differential power distribution. Seven concepts concerning rank-based abuse have been presented, in particular rankism, bullying, child abuse, humiliation, harassment and discriminatory abuse, institutional abuse and disability abuse. All these concepts have been evident in the snap chat video filmed at the childcare center. Therefore, it only shows that everyone needs to respect each other irrespective of age and disabilities.