A Texas kindergarten student named Brooke from Olympia Elementary School was subjected to two days of lunch detention due to being tardy. This specifically means that the child sat facing a wall by herself. On the surface, this probably sounds absolutely ridiculous to a lot of my readers. This post is going to take an honest look though at the specifics of the case and determine if the school was wrong in punishing the child.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is that there are two sides to the story. The parents basically argued that they have a young baby and that the new routine is an adjustment. The school would argue that tardiness is an important issue and students need to be at school on time. It’s also important to note that this is a district policy which was being enforced. Let’s evaluate both sides starting with the parents. I encourage any readers to comment at the bottom and tell me where I am misguided.
Possible Parents Point of View: All parents have challenges. In my case, I despise getting up at 6:10am in order to get my child up and ready for school (but I digress). This is a kindergarten child so there should be a bit of flexibility depending on how late the child showed up to school. It was also stated the child was late for a couple of days. Assuming I take this literally, two days of tardiness is not a lot. Shouldn’t there be some potential leeway? Couldn’t a conference with the parents happen before the punishment takes place? Maybe after that point, a punishment could be more justified. What if, for example, a parent hits unexpected traffic when going to school. Should there be a detention assessed for that?
Schools Point of View: It’s not uncommon for a school aged child to have a new sibling. Certainly, it’s still important for these students to get to school on time. District policies are announced before the school year begins. Parents need to understand that district policies are going to be enforced and that their child is not going to be the exception. Since the policy was implemented, tardiness has gone down by 90% in the district. In essence, learning time is maximized which is for the good of all students. Schools have the charge of teaching a lot of material and every minute is critical.
Evaluation by your humble blogger: As a former teacher, I understand that tardiness is an important issue which can be severe in certain places. I found it interesting that lunch takes an entire hour. I’ve never heard of a school which took an hour for lunch. Therefore, I’m wondering if recess (or something else) is included.
The second thing that came to my mind is that the school is punishing a child for a parent’s actions. Usually, a punishment is given to a child to teach a lesson to that child. I wonder if the 6 year old punished really understood why she was being punished. My thought is that I really doubt it- especially considering how long the punishment takes.
Therefore, is it all right for a school to punish a parent? Though my first thought is no, I would hate to see a policy banished which helped drop student tardiness by 90%. I could get behind the district if the punishment was a little less for a kindergartener. For example, I could see taking a minute of recess for each minute the child was late.
What was really interesting though was that the father said that he was sorry and it wasn’t going to happen again. That tells me that the policy worked. Olympia Elementary School and the district certainly ruffled some feathers but sometimes that is what it takes for change to happen. For more information on this article, click the link at the bottom of the page.
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Link to the article: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/6-old-student-gets-detention-parents-her-164442506.html?vp=1