Parents Are Furious When Teacher Forces ‘Destructive’ 5-Year-Old To Wear Weighted Vest In Class

by Kat Manos
Kat Manos is an Associate Editor who loves arguing about indie rock, classic literature, and "Star Wars."

A group of parents at LeConte Elementary School in Berkeley, California are furious after learning that their children’s teacher has been using a rather unconventional of punishment in the classroom.

Father Carlos Pennington has been particularly vocal regarding the treatment of his five-year-old daughter, and is seeking answers from the school administration.

Carlos claims that his daughter was forced to wear a weighted compression vest in the classroom without his and his daughter’s mother’s consent.

Weighted compression vests are a “learning tool” used by occupational therapists when dealing with “destructive” or troublesome students who frequently act out. The vests, which weigh about 10% of a child’s weight, are meant to have a calming and comforting effect when put on a child.

But Carlos cannot believe that he was not consulted before this punishment was enacted, and he’s additionally concerned with how it makes his daughter look in the classroom.

“I don’t know a kid is supposed to go to school and be ostracized like that and be made the pariah of a classroom because she has on a vest,” Carlos said to the Berkeley School Board.

Charles Buress, a spokesperson for the school district, responded to the negative feedback regarding the punishing tool with this: “The use of weighted vests, in some limited cases, where students face obstacles to benefitting from classroom instruction, is sometimes a support, recommended by an educational or therapeutic professional.”

“I’m only here to voice my concern for a five-year-old girl who is now scared to go to school and no one’s done anything about it,” Carlos asserted at the school board meeting where he first raised concern.

What do you think of using weighted compression vests on children in a classroom? Do you think it’s okay that the school allegedly did this without letting parents know first?

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Photos: CBS Local – KPIX San Francisco

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