Trying To Justify Beating A Child?!

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - May 04, 2005
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I ran away from home at age 15 and never went back because of being physically abused for many years.

My mother regularly tried to beat me with her hands or 2-by- 4 boards from our ongoing house construction. She couldn’t catch me most of the time, so when her fury abated she’d say “Your father will take care of you when he gets home.”

My dad worked an afternoon- night shift at Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company in Avon Lake, Ohio. He’d get home to Sheffield Lake sometime after midnight. I’d always be asleep.

I’d be awakened by him dragging me out of bed by an arm, and then beating me for a long period with his belt and fists. It was a pretty regular occurrence. Once, he bashed me over the head with a Pyrex pie plate and split my scalp open. They had to take me to the hospital because of the bleeding. They made me say I’d hurt myself by falling against a heating radiator. Doctors weren’t too questioning in those days.

One of my brothers recently wrote me that he’d been regularly beaten, too.

So I hope you can understand why I’m flabbergasted that so many people — including an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee — stood up in court and before the cameras on Kauai and defended a woman educator who had beaten her son with a baseball bat and once tried to cut off his tongue with scissors.

They said, hey, she’s a great administrator of one of the charter schools in Kekaha and, except for that incident, a great person.

Just got a little upset one day and beat her kid with a baseball bat. Just got angry once and scalded him with hot water. Just was perturbed and tried to cut off his tongue.

It took me back to my home. I remember that doctor saying nothing as he stitched up my head and my dad said “Yeah, he was running and trying to retrieve a ball and hit his head on the radiator.”

And I guess if the doctor had said something, the cops would not have done anything. If the cops had said something, the people in my small town would have told them to mind their own business and let parents take care of disciplining their kids as they saw fit.

That seems to be what the people associated with the Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha charter school seem to be saying about Hedy Sullivan, despite her one-year prison sentence.

They had refused to fire her as an educator even after she was convicted. At her sentencing, OHA Kauai/Niihau trustee Donald Cataluna spoke in favor of leniency. I anxiously await some comment on that from his daughter, the Advertiser columnist Lee Cataluna.

If Sullivan were a great education administrator, what’s that got to do with beating a kid with a baseball bat? How does that square with helping teachers deal with problem children?

Why would anyone in education stand up for that woman?

Why would an OHA trustee?

If you get the impression I’m angry, I am.

I agree with Kauai Circuit Court Judge George Masuoka, who said to her that “nothing, nothing justifies what you did.”

It would seem that OHA trustee Cataluna and the people who send their kids to her school disagreed.

The kids and most of the people are from Niihau. It’s an island owned by the Robinson family. Local schoolteachers. Bare supervision by the Department of Education and the Department of Health. I’m refused entry to see how our tax money is spent.

It’s a fiefdom. Something out of the Middle Ages.

But that OHA trustee Cataluna would make excuses for blatant child abuse leaves me almost wordless.

And that’s pretty hard to do!

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