Zero Tolerance = Zero Intelligence - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/02/18/...est/index.html


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Critics say schools and police have gone too far, overreacting and using well-intended rules for incidents involving nonviolent offenses such as drawing on desks, writing on other school property or talking back to teachers.

"We are arresting them at younger and younger ages [in cases] that used to be covered with a trip to the principal's office, not sending children to jail," said Emma Jordan-Simpson, executive director of the Children's Defense Fund, a national children's advocacy group.
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"There is zero intelligence when you start applying zero tolerance across the board," he said. "Stupid and ridiculous things start happening."

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#2 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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I think it's ridiculous, and laziness on the Admins' parts. They don't want to deal with it, so call the cops & let them do it.

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#3 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I think the principal should be arrested for making up false charges. And why why why are the police even bothering with these issues when there are way more serious issues they need to be addressing.

I am not big on suing people but I tell you if that little girl was mine....somebody would be paying.....really big for this.

 

 

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#4 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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Unfortunately in a sue-happy society school officials are forced to hand over their authority to the police. Too many principals and teachers have been accused of abuse, emotional or physical. Parents and students throw a fit if you use typical school punishments (lines, extra homework, detention, suspension, etc.) of any kind. They cry violation of civil liberties and so they are left with little recourse for keeping students in line but calling the law. Normally this sort of thing could be solved with restorative justice, (being made to scrub all vandalism off the class desks or something) but unfortunately, their hands are tied. Parents will cry Lawyer if you even try that, and you absolutely cannot just allow kids to break the minor rules with zero consequences.

It's really sad that parents won't let eductors do their jobs fully. Part of systematic education is complying with rules and authority and consequences. Take away an educator's ability to discipline their students and you take away all common sense from the process.

IMO, we only have ourselves to blame.

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#5 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momo7 View Post
I think the principal should be arrested for making up false charges. And why why why are the police even bothering with these issues when there are way more serious issues they need to be addressing.

I am not big on suing people but I tell you if that little girl was mine....somebody would be paying.....really big for this.
I don't really see how it's FALSE charges... the truth is, she vandalized school (AKA State owned) property...what do you think would happen if she had written that on a park bench, or the walls of City Hall, or any other state or for that matter privately owned property? Exactly the same, she would have been arrested.

Back in the day, schools were a second home, teachers and principals, surrogate parents, and there was real pastoral care...parents now are so concerned with their kids' records and getting them into top universities or even just protecting their civil liberties (forget about the liberties of their classmates who deserve to have clean desk tops) that they won't let principals and teachers do their job fully and effectively.

I am sure neither the principal, nor the teacher took any pleasure in calling the cops, but what could they have realistically done and still have protected themselves from a lawsuit, either from the angle of being too harsh or for past students who have been punished, too lenient? obviously it sucks that we have gotten to this point, but she sort of deserved to be hauled out in front of her peers and humiliated...not by the cops, but if the teacher had done it the parents would likely make the teacher "pay...really big ".

I don't think it's fair to blame the educators.

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#6 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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I'm obviously confused about the application of zero-tolerance policies.

I *thought* they were supposed to be applied to violence/harrasment/drug/weapons infractions. Things that are a direct danger to students. So, you don't get to bully & bully & bully & bully. Not things like talking out of turn and writing "I love my friends" in (probably easily wipe off-able) marker on a desk.

There are things in society that need to be zero-tolerance (things that directly endanger others, or self in the case of minors). But adults are arrested for speeding, or parking violations. Just like minors should not be, IMO, for relatively minor offenses.

 

 

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#7 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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I don't really see how it's FALSE charges... the truth is, she vandalized school (AKA State owned) property...what do you think would happen if she had written that on a park bench, or the walls of City Hall, or any other state or for that matter privately owned property? Exactly the same, she would have been arrested.
I honestly doubt that a 12 year old would have been arrested in the same situation in another location. The police may have called her parents, but I doubt they would go as far as arrest without *major* permanent damage. Perhaps this is different in your area, but I know of only one child being arrested in a school *personally* and that was for sucker punching someone in the face FOUR times (one situation, four punches). I worked at a swimming pool for years (city owned) and I don't rember kids *ever* getting arrested for vandalism even when the police were called (oops, there is another "child" I know of being arrested--- he shot someone with a pellet gun outside of the pool).

 

 

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#8 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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It was NYC, right? I remember "my friends" *ahem* who "tagged" running like hell from the cops, and a few times people in my school were brought to Juvy court over it. Especially Post-giuliani Cops cuff first and ask questions later.

I'm not saying, BTW, that the school did the right thing. I just think parental litigiuosness leaves them with few real options anymore.

Detention would have been appropriate, but if that's not an option? My last two teaching jobs had a no detention policy, and if I assigned extra homework or "think about your actions" essays, I got letters from irrate parents. My ONLY course of action was to write a report and after five reports they were suspended and after ten they were kicked out...seemed kind of dumb to me.

I'd also argue that even well meaning "doodles" on school property negatively affect the learning environment for OTHER children, especially in an inner-city environment where many kids already get the feeling from home and society that they don't matter and don't deserve nice and new things. The cleanliness of a classroom has a direct correlation to the level of an affective filter and vandalized desks can make kids feel like no one cares, so why try? It really is passively violent to destroy communal property, and while it's not the same as physical violence, you can't see the pain or hurt it causes, it can have just as awful, if not more so, after effects if not kept in check. Bottom line, it is not HER desk, it is the school's desk and other kids are going to use it, which she clearly knew since she was writing an obvious message to future users.

We also don't know the whole story. The reporter paints Alexa as super innocent, the pigtails and rosy cheeks are a real kicker, but how do we know she wasn't verbally reprimanded off the record dozens of times before for similar behavior, or perhaps she was made an example out of after a RASH of vandalism? Or maybe the school had just spent budget money on new clean desks and it just ticked the staff off that the kids were already destroying them and they were having one of those days where they took everything personally and they snapped! Remember the police were ACROSS THE STREET. The temptation to just lock up the lot of them must have been fairly constant.

There is a lot of bias and emotive drama added to this story, and I don't trust it fully.

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#9 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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Also when we were school, you could still be punished by school officials. Only one kid was arrested in my school..he attacked a teacher, broke his arm pushing him down and kicking him...bad scene!

Things are different now.

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#10 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't believe that this is about litigation. But, even if it is, I can certainly find the administrators at fault. They are putting their legal concerns over the concerns for the well-being of the children in their care. That's not acceptable. At the very least, call the parents to meet with the student and principal or remove the child from class for the day - not the cops!

The ACLU has a lot to say on the matter:
http://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/s...rison-pipeline

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#11 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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I couldn't agree with the ACLU more, my point is merely that I do not think it is the fault of lazy administration or poor teachers, as many parents would like to think.

IME, people do not go into public education to see kids fail or take away their opportunities to succeed, but they wind up part of a system that forces them to take all sorts of actions they never would have if given their own way.

Instead of blaming human error, I would look into the systems that lead people, who arguably have chosen to devote their entire lives to the future of children, to take such outrageous courses of action. There well be a reason they weren't more reasonable, but they can't comment to the press for legal reasons, they can't do anything to defend themselves. It's not fair to go on a witch hunt in the adminstration of the school or imply that schools and the people who work for them as general rule, do not hold the belief that "children should be educated, not incarcerated." That's pretty nasty propaganda. It's deeper than that. There is a sickness in the system that has caused this and I trace it back to a generation of parents (and in particular those with the massive social privilege to shape change in the system) that want all the results of an excellent quality, free education for their kids with none of the consequences or responsibility, and little to no commitment to those who are underprivileged in our society.

In less than one generation we went from a school system that literally beat children into submission, to a system where schools have almost no rights to discipline at all and yet have to maintain order...in cases where kids come to school with no boundaries from home and school might have been the place to learn those boundaries before, But schools are now prohibited from setting those sort of boundaries, and the only way for them to maintain order SEEMS to be to get rid of those who don't comply.

The truth is they MAY have called the mom, (notice the article says NOTHING about her mom or dad apart from "she's never been in trouble before" that THEY know of If it were your kid, wouldn't YOU say something to the papers?!?) or pulled her from class for the day...we have a TWELVE year olds side of the story here. Wasn't the real Abigail Williams about 12 or 13 when she started that whole Crucible of Salem? I'm just saying, there are two sides to every story and it's not fair to point the finger at over-worked, underpaid public servants. We should be looking at what we as parents are doing wrong that has led to such a terrible outcome across the nation.

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#12 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
I don't really see how it's FALSE charges... the truth is, she vandalized school (AKA State owned) property...what do you think would happen if she had written that on a park bench, or the walls of City Hall, or any other state or for that matter privately owned property? Exactly the same, she would have been arrested.

Back in the day, schools were a second home, teachers and principals, surrogate parents, and there was real pastoral care...parents now are so concerned with their kids' records and getting them into top universities or even just protecting their civil liberties (forget about the liberties of their classmates who deserve to have clean desk tops) that they won't let principals and teachers do their job fully and effectively.

I am sure neither the principal, nor the teacher took any pleasure in calling the cops, but what could they have realistically done and still have protected themselves from a lawsuit, either from the angle of being too harsh or for past students who have been punished, too lenient? obviously it sucks that we have gotten to this point, but she sort of deserved to be hauled out in front of her peers and humiliated...not by the cops, but if the teacher had done it the parents would likely make the teacher "pay...really big ".

I don't think it's fair to blame the educators.

Wait a minute.....

Why would a teacher/principal/school admin get sued over making a kid get rid of writing on a desk? You would think THAT risk would come into play after they called the cops, humiliates the child, and made the parents come down and deal with the issue of an arrest that was "frivolous" to begin with.

And no child deserves to be hauled up in front of class and treated the way she was treated. Especially for what? Oh yeah. Writing on a desk?

Ever heard of this solution? "Oh wow...cool picture...now here's some 409 and a paper towel wipe it off. And please, don't do it again."

Who freaking calls the cops because a kid writes on a desk? It's not even like writing on a wall or defacing public property, it's not even on the same scale or in the same ball park, with a can of spray paint, it's just...writing on a desk, it could come off with an eraser. Give me a break.

What kind of cop, regardless of what his job description is (protect and serve?), puts handcuffs on a kid for writing on a desk? You don't handcuff a kid and cart them off to jail for writing on a desk. That is just brainless idiocy. Wow. And now try and explain about respecting the police? Forget about it.

It's not even worthy of detention. Staying after school and cleaning desks? Yes. Make the punishment fit the crime for goodness sake. What they are doing makes discipline a joke. Just clean it off. No big deal. But oh no, got to make her an example, humiliate and scare her. She. Wrote. On. A. Desk.

I DO NOT believe in frivolous lawsuits and I really get annoyed when I hear about them. But seriously if the school admin can't discipline a child, without police backup, for writing on a desk then I don't want to think about them having my child there at all.

Just venting. Off my soapbox now.

 

 

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#13 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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Wait a minute.....

Why would a teacher/principal/school admin get sued over making a kid get rid of writing on a desk? You would think THAT risk would come into play after they called the cops, humiliates the child, and made the parents come down and deal with the issue of an arrest that was "frivolous" to begin with.
I don't know, but it has been known to happen. I was forbidden by my last school from asking my students to stay behind and clean desks when I caught them writing on the desks (and it wasn't nice stuff either). One of their parents was a lawyer, so better safe than sorry was the tagline of the school.
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And no child deserves to be hauled up in front of class and treated the way she was treated. Especially for what? Oh yeah. Writing on a desk?
I disagree. I believe bad behavior should be called attention to publically and used as a learning moment for the whole group. I believe it should be brought into the open and discussed with the whole class. Why did you do it? How does it make others feel? How would you feel if you came to school the first day and that had been written on your desk? How would it make the teacher look? How would it make the school look? If a kid came from a home where most things were destroyed how might it be important for them to have a clean safe space at school? I genuinely believe it IS important to openly discuss bad behavior publically, no matter how embarassing it might be for the perpetrator when that behavior affects others. That is part of the educational process.

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Ever heard of this solution? "Oh wow...cool picture...now here's some 409 and a paper towel wipe it off. And please, don't do it again."
I doubt that. The pens we used in school when I went to school did not come off so easily...It required SERIOUS scrubbing and usually either left ghost marks FOREVER, or scuff marks from the abrsive cleaner used to take it off. I don't think it's fair to blow this off that easily...it's VANDALISM...It's not cool and as a teacher it is one of BIGGEST pet peeves. It was a MARKER, and if it wrote on the desk it was probably a sharpie or other permanent pen, because other markers don't stick to desk tops. That stuff stains desk tops permanently, and you really cannot get it off with a little 409. It requires buffing.

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Who freaking calls the cops because a kid writes on a desk? It's not even like writing on a wall or defacing public property, it's not even on the same scale or in the same ball park, with a can of spray paint, it's just...writing on a desk, it could come off with an eraser. Give me a break.

What kind of cop, regardless of what his job description is (protect and serve?), puts handcuffs on a kid for writing on a desk? You don't handcuff a kid and cart them off to jail for writing on a desk. That is just brainless idiocy. Wow. And now try and explain about respecting the police? Forget about it.
This is what stands out the most to me about the story...I think there is missing information which makes for a really cool sensational story for the reporter, but just doesn't JIVE with me. I believe they might have called the cops out of frustration or desparation, or even a loss of ideas, but I do not believe NYPD would cuff a twelve year old for this level of vandalism unless there was something else going on and they were ordered to.

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It's not even worthy of detention. Staying after school and cleaning desks? Yes. Make the punishment fit the crime for goodness sake. What they are doing makes discipline a joke. Just clean it off. No big deal. But oh no, got to make her an example, humiliate and scare her. She. Wrote. On. A. Desk.
I disagree. It's not her desk. It's disruptive to the class and destructive to the learning environment. If it were in my class room, I would call her out in front of the others and use it as a learning moment for why it was destructive to the learning environment and I would not really give a hoot if it hurt her feelings or humilated her and you bet your bum I would give her detention if I was allowed to. Personally, I think they should send a bill to the parents to replace the desk and let them deal with it.

But I have a thing with my classroom being clean and tidy.

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I DO NOT believe in frivolous lawsuits and I really get annoyed when I hear about them. But seriously if the school admin can't discipline a child, without police backup, for writing on a desk then I don't want to think about them having my child there at all.

Just venting. Off my soapbox now.
Me either...that's why I neither live in the states nor would I send my kids to public school if I did...it's a system that IMO is broken in SO many ways!

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#14 of 27 Old 02-18-2010, 08:26 PM
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Confession, ready?

When I was in grade school, I wrote on a bathroom wall. In pencil, granted, but still wrote on a bathroom wall.

Being an extraordinarily dumb kid, I also signed my name.

My punishment? Well, there was a grade level meeting, where the teachers announced that writing on the walls was not okay, and went through the usual lecture about defacing property and so on. And following the lecture, I was handed a sponge and some cleaner and sent into the girls bathroom to clean the walls. All of them.

But that's it. I *know* that my fellow students had lawyers for parents. And being held after, or made to fix the thing you did wrong was common.

I was embarrassed, though not mentioned by name to the rest of the grade (which I don't think is appropriate anyway, especially if the kid is already getting some bullying as I was), and didn't do it again.

Calling the cops is a hugely out of proportion response to this action. So, either we are missing something, or someone overdid it.

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#15 of 27 Old 02-19-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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So, either we are missing something, or someone overdid it.
I would totally agree and perhaps also a combination of the two.

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#16 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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the whole situation is so silly. she wrote on a desk, have her clean it off, stay after school and clean off the desk. how hard is that? or if you want to make it a BIG deal, have her clean all the desks in that class room. for crying out loud. i would say that about tagging in parks too, have them clean it up, repaint it whatever.
could we get more punitive, more petty? how does this teach better behavior, all this teaches is how to be sneaky.

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disruptive to learning environment? writing on the desk? i would say what was disruptive was having the police called in. pull her aside, have her come after school is out or at lunch and clean the desks. but no i guess the best way is to humiliate her... that works better. oh and have her parents buy a new desk? seriously? are you a teacher? if so i am glad i homeschool. sheesh. kids do all sorts of weird and stupid stuff without thinking. if you have any child development education you know that the human brain isn't 100% until you are 25. so they do all sorts of stuff that makes you scratch your head. they learn by being taught in effective ways not by being humiliated and scared. i hold that having her clean the desk and then moving on is the solution. the other stuff is overboard and mean... plain and simple.

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#18 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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hmmm, well yes I am teacher, secondary school, with obviously a degree in education, and I have a great deal of experience and training with under privileged and inner city kids. I believe in taking responsibility for your actions even when you're a toddler, so I guess we disagree on a philosophical level. Just because a brain isn't fully grown yet doesn't make it less capable of learning from poor choices. It's not about being petty or punitive (and really which is more punitive: making people stay behind to clean desks or having a class meeting about the importance of keeping our desks grafitti free?) it is about having conversations and learning from one's actions about how they affect society on a larger scale. It's about not taking for granted what you have when others do not have those things and its about teaching students to be responsible memebers of a community who DO think before they act. She was TWELVE, not six. That's plenty old to start thinking about how our actions affect others.

OBVIOUSLY the police were over the top and probably the school was over the top for calling them, but that doesn't negate the fact that what she did was wrong. Just because calling the police (based on what we KNOW) was more wrong, doesn't make what she did right. Have you ever spent time in an inner city school like the one mentioned in the article? Most of those kids don't have nice things at home. School HAS to be a bastion of safety and respect. Period. Everyone needs to learn how to protect that safety, even when their brains make them do things they can't explain. Based on what we have been told the school was crazy to do what they did. I just don't believe a teacher would allow that in his/her classroom without due cause or being forced by policy.

I think homeschooling is a great option for many parents and students. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to provide that for their kids and its the schools' JOB to teach those other kids how to take care of EVERYONE'S needs, not just their own.

In my professional opinion and experience, having open and frank discussions about our bad behavior, MINE INCLUDED, is one of the single most valuable social learning tools available to us.

If I could I would probably home school, too, but if my children misbehaved, I'd still use it as a chance to discuss with the whole family about why that behavior might hurt others if I felt it had. Like when ds wrote all over DH's work papers, or when I promised DS we could go to the beach and then I had to work instead, or like when DS wrote all over the books in his room, which we had planned on having around for a long time for future kids.

Sure I wrote on surfaces when I was a kid, and if I had been caught, I would have expected to get yelled at, too. But I wouldn't have understood WHY the teachers or schools were so mad. I would have thought they were CRAZY for being so upset, and I'd have cleaned the desks with spite and frustration. I believe PRODUCTIVE community/classroom discussions on why it is so infuriating to teachers, on why it is disruptive to learning for years to come, and on why it is totally unacceptable are vital to helping young adults make responsible decisions about their actions, even before their brains are fully developed.

But I guess we will have to agree to disagree. As a teacher I can assure you most educators would not ever allow this to happen unless forced to, and they certainly wouldn't feel good about it. Additionally, I think many of us underestimate the enormity of the job Public school teachers are given and the inferior support they are given to do it properly.

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#19 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 03:42 PM
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I don't think anyone said what she did wasn't wrong. I, personally, am questioning either the lack of a crucial detail that explained why the police needed to be called, or the overreaction of calling the police. Because, IMO, it is one or the other.

I don't think any kid gets those concepts. And even when discussed, they might not fully understand the enormity of destroying property, a safe haven from bad situations, it impacting future classes, etc. While they may understand the words, and what you are saying - the concepts are ones that come with age and maturity. At least, I sure didn't.

A frank conversation about bad behavior and it's results is one thing, consequences that fit what has been done is one thing. I don't feel, and we may have to agree to disagree, that calling the police and having her removed in cuffs was either of those things. I understand the stress of being a public school teacher (worked with kids, many friends are teachers), but I still don't feel, in my personal opinion (which matters not at all, since I am not the one dealing with it) that this reaction, based on what we know, was out of proportion.

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#20 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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i guess we are going to have to disagree. i don't agree at all that brain development isn't a serious factor. the more we learn about it, the more we need to change, instead of sticking with the status quo. but that is just me.

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#21 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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Hakeber:

I've been thinking about this a lot. I don't think the issue here is whether or not the girl or her parents didn't think she was culpable. She clearly was. I believe she even owned up to her "crime". The point is whether or not the "authorities" over reacted. I think it was a SEVERE over-reaction. I also think it was an abuse of power.

Anyway......given that......when any child makes a mistake, or acts inappropriately, we as adults have the responsibility of correcting said behavior. We also have the responsibility of making sure that any correction is just and fair. WE set the standard for kindness and mercy. Hauling a child up in front of the class and handcuffing her there in front of everybody because she wrote on a desk was a gross overstatement of authority. The article that sparked this debate doesn't mention any other "behavioral problems" so we have to take it for what it is, just writing on a desk. So then you have to look at the crime..it was just writing on a desk not "gross vandalism". In this case the punishment was neither just or fair. It was wrong.

I do home school my children and this debate is only one of about a million reasons why.

I understand that you are a teacher. I understand that you basically have your hands tied when it comes to disciplining children. I also understand that you have to cover your ass with every decision that that you make in your class room.

The problem that I have with some teachers is that there are a few of them that think their position gives them the right to treat all children as a blanket. Meaning that each and every child gets treated the same way, regardless of their individuality. There is lee-way to consider. Not all children's actions are motivated the same way. One child might do something maliciously or on purpose, while another child might do the same thing totally off the cuff without thinking, not weighing the consequences or even considering that what they are doing is not such a great thing. I also don't believe that parents are not as sue-happy as teachers and administrators make them out to be. Maybe a little understanding goes a long way.

I have 9 children of my own. I homeschool them all. I don't have a teaching degree, but I don't need one to see that not all of them are the same. They may do the exact same things from time to time but their motivations are all different.

Being that you're a teacher you are of course going to go on the defensive. But you might consider that maybe in this case the teacher and the administrators were just out and out wrong. Because maybe just once, this was one kid who didn't get what she deserved.

I am also not the type of parent who keeps my head in the sand when it comes to discipline. That is another reason why I homeschool. I know my children aren't angels and they consistently do things that make me want to scream "What are you thinking?????" At least they have a chance to explain themselves, and get a little bit of slack when it comes to adult authority.

 

 

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i don't agree at all that brain development isn't a serious factor. the more we learn about it, the more we need to change, instead of sticking with the status quo. but that is just me.
I totally agree with you on this. Brain development definitely needs to be taken much more into account. We need to adjust our expectations of children, as well as our discipline techniques, in light of what we've learned about the brain.

Teachers/ administrators are calling the police in to deal with children - even elementary school aged children - at an increasing rate. Police don't know how to deal with children. These children are being harmed, emotionally if not physically, by these encounters. This is unacceptable! I homeschool for many reasons. It's hard, especially with my eldest who has autism, SPD, and probably ADHD. I continue to homeschool in large part because the alternative is allowing my child to be at the mercy of teachers and administrators that might call the cops on him because of his behaviors. And because the rates of physical abuses against SN kids by teachers is rather high.

My mother recently retired from teaching after 30 years. I was going to be a teacher, and I've worked with a lot of kids. And I've been a student. My experiences taught me that, while there are good teachers out there, there are also some really horrible teachers who seem to enjoy hurting kids. And there are a lot of power-hungry administrators that don't care about kids at all. And, at least in my area, there have been a lot of teachers who sexually abused kids. I wish it was different. I have a lot of respect for people who go into the teaching profession to help kids, and who are able to stick with that through all the political b.s. But, I'm not going to pretend that those are the majority of teachers anymore. At best, I'd argue that most teachers simply stop caring after a while.

There are a lot of changes that need to be made in the public school system. The criteria for hiring and keeping teachers and administrators is certainly one of them.

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FTR, given what we know I also think the police and certainly the hand cuffs was a HORRIBLE over reaction, but why has it become a trend? Asking myself to examine that with critical thinking and I defeinitely don't come up with the answer that public school officials are just lazy and inefficient and don't care about students anymore, which is absolutely what the article suggests. It also suggests that what she did was like no big deal, and to me it IS a big deal. Bottom line is the article is sensationalist and blaming and does not at all give a fair whack to the school officials.

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Originally Posted by AdinaL View Post
I don't think any kid gets those concepts. And even when discussed, they might not fully understand the enormity of destroying property, a safe haven from bad situations, it impacting future classes, etc. While they may understand the words, and what you are saying - the concepts are ones that come with age and maturity. At least, I sure didn't.
I aboslutely disagree with this and as someone who has spent most of her adult life teaching 12-16 year olds I think you way under estimate their ability to connect to one another and understand the world around them when asked the right questions. Lectures never work, ME talking almost NEVER works, but when they listen to eachother and talk to eachother...WOW! The rsults are pretty amazing and blow most of the research on what kids are capable of out of the water. But that's just my experience


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Hakeber:

I've been thinking about this a lot. I don't think the issue here is whether or not the girl or her parents didn't think she was culpable. She clearly was. I believe she even owned up to her "crime". The point is whether or not the "authorities" over reacted. I think it was a SEVERE over-reaction. I also think it was an abuse of power.
Anyway......given that......when any child makes a mistake, or acts inappropriately, we as adults have the responsibility of correcting said behavior. We also have the responsibility of making sure that any correction is just and fair. WE set the standard for kindness and mercy. Hauling a child up in front of the class and handcuffing her there in front of everybody because she wrote on a desk was a gross overstatement of authority. The article that sparked this debate doesn't mention any other "behavioral problems" so we have to take it for what it is, just writing on a desk. So then you have to look at the crime..it was just writing on a desk not "gross vandalism". In this case the punishment was neither just or fair. It was wrong.
I would normally agree, but this article is so totally biased and clearly baiting and blaming it's hard to swallow...but okay, I concede if all is as this reporter would have us belive...She was unduly punished and yeah the schools have all gone mad.

I just ain't buying it.
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I do home school my children and this debate is only one of about a million reasons why.

I understand that you are a teacher. I understand that you basically have your hands tied when it comes to disciplining children. I also understand that you have to cover your ass with every decision that that you make in your class room.

The problem that I have with some teachers is that there are a few of them that think their position gives them the right to treat all children as a blanket. Meaning that each and every child gets treated the same way, regardless of their individuality. There is lee-way to consider. Not all children's actions are motivated the same way. One child might do something maliciously or on purpose, while another child might do the same thing totally off the cuff without thinking, not weighing the consequences or even considering that what they are doing is not such a great thing.
Sure, but the article implies this is the norm...I don't, based on my colleagues, former classmates, and friends, believe that to be true. I do not know anyone who got into education because they wanted to suck at their jobs. I have met people who became that way over time, and they truly should be encouraged to retire, but most teacher I know work hard to cater to all 30+ students in a class no matter how exhausting it is and no matter how little reward they see in return, because they love what they do.
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I also don't believe that parents are not as sue-happy as teachers and administrators make them out to be. Maybe a little understanding goes a long way.
Do you mean you don't believe they are as sue happy as the schools make them out to be? This is very likely. Sensationalism lives on both sides of the street...same goes for understanding.

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I have 9 children of my own. I homeschool them all. I don't have a teaching degree, but I don't need one to see that not all of them are the same. They may do the exact same things from time to time but their motivations are all different.

Being that you're a teacher you are of course going to go on the defensive. But you might consider that maybe in this case the teacher and the administrators were just out and out wrong. Because maybe just once, this was one kid who didn't get what she deserved.
Let me super clear here...She didn't get what she deserved. Everyone could have/ should have handled it differently, but if this really is so common place as the article suggests, we need to look deeper than bad principals, ya know? Maybe start looking at bad principles, and how to improve them.


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I am also not the type of parent who keeps my head in the sand when it comes to discipline. That is another reason why I homeschool. I know my children aren't angels and they consistently do things that make me want to scream "What are you thinking?????" At least they have a chance to explain themselves, and get a little bit of slack when it comes to adult authority.
Fair enough. I reckon the nyc public school system would make anyone



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i guess we are going to have to disagree. i don't agree at all that brain development isn't a serious factor. the more we learn about it, the more we need to change, instead of sticking with the status quo. but that is just me.
I totally agree with you on this. Brain development definitely needs to be taken much more into account. We need to adjust our expectations of children, as well as our discipline techniques, in light of what we've learned about the brain.
Do you both really think 12 year olds are so incapable of learning from their poor choices? Or is it that you think she didn't choose it she just acted on total impulse and because it was an impulse should not carry any consequences? I'm really not following the reason here. She's not special needs that we know of. She's neurotypical, she's quite clearly percocious and clever...what part of her brain development lacks the ability to learn how to respect communal property and understand how she has the power to protect others' rights or work to undermine them? IME, twelve is just about the perfect age to start exploring those concepts.
Quote:
Teachers/ administrators are calling the police in to deal with children - even elementary school aged children - at an increasing rate. Police don't know how to deal with children. These children are being harmed, emotionally if not physically, by these encounters. This is unacceptable!
yes, it is! But lets be REALLY careful where we place the blame. There is a reason these things become trends, and it needs to be explored critically. That's all I'm saying.
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I homeschool for many reasons. It's hard, especially with my eldest who has autism, SPD, and probably ADHD. I continue to homeschool in large part because the alternative is allowing my child to be at the mercy of teachers and administrators that might call the cops on him because of his behaviors. And because the rates of physical abuses against SN kids by teachers is rather high.
With all due respect, your child is SN. The public system is barely equipped to handle neurotypical kids at the quantities they are given, obviously SN would be a recipe for disaster.

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My mother recently retired from teaching after 30 years. I was going to be a teacher, and I've worked with a lot of kids. And I've been a student. My experiences taught me that, while there are good teachers out there, there are also some really horrible teachers who seem to enjoy hurting kids. And there are a lot of power-hungry administrators that don't care about kids at all. And, at least in my area, there have been a lot of teachers who sexually abused kids. I wish it was different. I have a lot of respect for people who go into the teaching profession to help kids, and who are able to stick with that through all the political b.s. But, I'm not going to pretend that those are the majority of teachers anymore. At best, I'd argue that most teachers simply stop caring after a while.
Hey, you may be right, but it hasn't been my experience. I have come across ONE teacher in ten years who was ACCUSED of sexual misconduct and then CLEARED. I have met two power hungry administrators, but they were not educators, they were bankers who had fallen on tough times and with the schools being in financial dire straits they were hired with the thought that a banker might help them out of the red...both were fired within a matter of months. Most teachers and administrators I know still care after 10-20-40 years in the business. For most of us it is not a job, it's a vocation. Sure, I've met the odd sadistic or uncaring teacher but in the better schools they are usually forced into retirement before they can do any more harm. In the poorer schools, however, the board can't afford to hire the teachers who care, so they often wind up stuck with bad teachers who go through the motions and are not really able to replace them and pay their severance.

Most principles I have worked with would happily chuck out the bad seeds, but USUALLY financial and legal issues get in the way.

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There are a lot of changes that need to be made in the public school system. The criteria for hiring and keeping teachers and administrators is certainly one of them.
You couldn't be more right on! I agree completely with this! I wish local government would give schools the money they need to run them properly.

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#24 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you both really think 12 year olds are so incapable of learning from their poor choices? Or is it that you think she didn't choose it she just acted on total impulse and because it was an impulse should not carry any consequences? I'm really not following the reason here. She's not special needs that we know of. She's neurotypical, she's quite clearly percocious and clever...what part of her brain development lacks the ability to learn how to respect communal property and understand how she has the power to protect others' rights or work to undermine them? IME, twelve is just about the perfect age to start exploring those concepts.
I think that some 12 year olds can learn from their poor choices. I think the only things that 12 year olds learn when they're carted off by the cops is they are criminals, and cops are bad. I think that using humiliation to teach a 12 year old - or anyone, for that matter - also teaches the wrong message. I think this is an example of a good time to use logical consequences (have her clean the desk, or clean all the desks, and perhaps write an essay about why her actions were wrong). If she has impulse-control issues, then deal with that. There's really no reason NOT to believe that she has special needs. I'll address that more below.
I think 12 is too young to have much of a grasp on the concepts of communal property, other's rights, etc. Sure, you can start exploring them at that age, but you shouldn't expect a child of that age to understand them at all. I think that would take a few more years.

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yes, it is! But lets be REALLY careful where we place the blame. There is a reason these things become trends, and it needs to be explored critically. That's all I'm saying.
So, let's explore this critically, then. It seems to me that we are a nation hellbent on black/white thinking. We imprison people for nonviolent crimes at an astounding rate. Our definition of "crimes" is often a result of politicians pandering to corporate interests. People in this society find it acceptable to call for the death penalty when children too young to even drive are the perpetrators. We have a royally screwed up justice system. I think the increased criminalization of children in our society is a result of the ways that our society insists on viewing children - as miniature adults in need of severe punishment and exile. Instead of using our scientific knowledge of brain development, we see kids as being wholly responsible for their actions. If their actions are something that an adult would be jailed for, then children should also be imprisoned for them. What the schools are doing, with increased calls to the police to haul these kids off, with increased police numbers roaming school hallways, is buying into this mentality. The teachers and administrators are going along with this thought-process that these kids are as responsible as adults, and should be likewise punished. While I can't fault Joe Blow for having those thoughts, I can blame school personnel who should be educated enough in child development to reject such thinking, and who should have the best interests of the individual children in mind.

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With all due respect, your child is SN. The public system is barely equipped to handle neurotypical kids at the quantities they are given, obviously SN would be a recipe for disaster.
All kids have special needs. Some are diagnosed. Some are diagnosable. Some are not. Every individual child has a special need. My son works on- or above-grade level. If we hadn't sought out a diagnosis ourselves (which most parents don't), and if we'd put him in public school, my son would simply be labeled a troublemaker, the class clown, difficult, and anti-authoritarian. It would take an exceptional instructor to notice that he has diagnosable special needs. Most kids with special needs are not labeled as such, and some kids without diagnosable special needs are mislabeled.

When I say that all kids have special needs, I mean just that. Some kids have parents who squabble. Some kids aren't eating healthy foods. Some kids don't get enough sleep. Some kids watch shows that are age-inappropriate. And so on... All kids have something going on in their lives that effects their academic performance and/or behaviors. Each child is an individual, with individual circumstances, that should be noted and understood as best as possible.

I definitely agree that the teachers are overburdened by the numbers of children in their classrooms. It's ridiculous, to expect children to learn in those circumstances, and to expect teachers to teach. That's certainly something that needs to be changed. That has needed to change for at least as long as I've been alive. We had close to 40 kids in my classes some years, to one teacher! Not reasonable at all.

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Hey, you may be right, but it hasn't been my experience. I have come across ONE teacher in ten years who was ACCUSED of sexual misconduct and then CLEARED. I have met two power hungry administrators, but they were not educators, they were bankers who had fallen on tough times and with the schools being in financial dire straits they were hired with the thought that a banker might help them out of the red...both were fired within a matter of months. Most teachers and administrators I know still care after 10-20-40 years in the business. For most of us it is not a job, it's a vocation. Sure, I've met the odd sadistic or uncaring teacher but in the better schools they are usually forced into retirement before they can do any more harm. In the poorer schools, however, the board can't afford to hire the teachers who care, so they often wind up stuck with bad teachers who go through the motions and are not really able to replace them and pay their severance.

Most principles I have worked with would happily chuck out the bad seeds, but USUALLY financial and legal issues get in the way.
My experiences are pretty specific to central Maryland. I grew up next to DC, and now live just south of Baltimore. It has not always been easy to find teachers who want to work in more high-crime areas, and I imagine we've had worse pickings as a result. I know there are a lot of legal issues that get in the way of firing teachers, and more kids are harmed as a result.

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You couldn't be more right on! I agree completely with this! I wish local government would give schools the money they need to run them properly.
Funds!!!, better training, more oversight, more experience before tenure (only 2 years here), smaller classrooms, up-to-date info on reasonable expectations of children, better training in effective and appropriate classroom discipline methods, fewer tests, more teaching methods that cover various learning styles... and so on and so forth. I could go on and on...

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#25 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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I think that some 12 year olds can learn from their poor choices. I think the only things that 12 year olds learn when they're carted off by the cops is they are criminals, and cops are bad. I think that using humiliation to teach a 12 year old - or anyone, for that matter - also teaches the wrong message. I think this is an example of a good time to use logical consequences (have her clean the desk, or clean all the desks, and perhaps write an essay about why her actions were wrong). If she has impulse-control issues, then deal with that. There's really no reason NOT to believe that she has special needs. I'll address that more below.
I think 12 is too young to have much of a grasp on the concepts of communal property, other's rights, etc. Sure, you can start exploring them at that age, but you shouldn't expect a child of that age to understand them at all. I think that would take a few more years.
I respectfully disagree with you. My lessons with students on social responsibility at that age group have been highly sucessful and led to some really amazing eye opening conversations. Kids at that age are RIPE to be heard and to make social connections. They want to establish themselves as individuals and yet they want to be a part of the group. I have had great success with my seventh and eighth graders on topics just like these and they have amazed me with their maturity and depth of understanding. I think we do kids a real disservice to write them off as incapable of making those deeper connections. I really do. I am still in contact with students I taught over 8 years ago and they have turned out to be amazing people so far...I think the younger you start talking to kids the better. and to be clear the goal of calling out bad behavior is not humiliate the child but it can be an unfortunate side effect when one feels ashamed of one's behavior...but it has always proven to be a moment of growth and change in my experience, not scarring and emotional stunting. If my teaching methods were so awful and horrible I can't imagine why even my most "troublesome" kids still hunt me down on facebook and keep me updated on their lives.


Quote:
So, let's explore this critically, then. It seems to me that we are a nation hellbent on black/white thinking. We imprison people for nonviolent crimes at an astounding rate. Our definition of "crimes" is often a result of politicians pandering to corporate interests. People in this society find it acceptable to call for the death penalty when children too young to even drive are the perpetrators. We have a royally screwed up justice system. I think the increased criminalization of children in our society is a result of the ways that our society insists on viewing children - as miniature adults in need of severe punishment and exile. Instead of using our scientific knowledge of brain development, we see kids as being wholly responsible for their actions. If their actions are something that an adult would be jailed for, then children should also be imprisoned for them. What the schools are doing, with increased calls to the police to haul these kids off, with increased police numbers roaming school hallways, is buying into this mentality.
I totally agree with you here...
Quote:
The teachers and administrators are going along with this thought-process that these kids are as responsible as adults, and should be likewise punished. While I can't fault Joe Blow for having those thoughts, I can blame school personnel who should be educated enough in child development to reject such thinking, and who should have the best interests of the individual children in mind.
But most schools are run on PUBLIC policy not created by the teachers, but rather by public citizens. Ya know? I mean the number one compaint AROUND THE WORLD heard by teachers is that the people making the policies know JACK ALL about being in a classroom...it's all well and good to call them jerks for going along with it, but even the most principled teacher needs top put food on the table, no matter how it hurts their conscience to do so.

This is probably why I work for private schools in international locations, though so that I do not have to face that dilema. When a schools asks me to do something that goes against my philosophy of right and wrong, I leave for a new school/country.

Quote:
All kids have special needs. Some are diagnosed. Some are diagnosable. Some are not. Every individual child has a special need. My son works on- or above-grade level. If we hadn't sought out a diagnosis ourselves (which most parents don't), and if we'd put him in public school, my son would simply be labeled a troublemaker, the class clown, difficult, and anti-authoritarian. It would take an exceptional instructor to notice that he has diagnosable special needs. Most kids with special needs are not labeled as such, and some kids without diagnosable special needs are mislabeled.

When I say that all kids have special needs, I mean just that. Some kids have parents who squabble. Some kids aren't eating healthy foods. Some kids don't get enough sleep. Some kids watch shows that are age-inappropriate. And so on... All kids have something going on in their lives that effects their academic performance and/or behaviors. Each child is an individual, with individual circumstances, that should be noted and understood as best as possible.

I definitely agree that the teachers are overburdened by the numbers of children in their classrooms. It's ridiculous, to expect children to learn in those circumstances, and to expect teachers to teach. That's certainly something that needs to be changed. That has needed to change for at least as long as I've been alive. We had close to 40 kids in my classes some years, to one teacher! Not reasonable at all.
Still some needs require very specific expertise and training, not just stuff in their lives, or diet issues and other issues that teacher training and years of experience and a little basic human empathy covers a teacher for.

That being said empathy runs short when you don't have the time allowances or resources to meet the needs you see. It's f-ing heartbreaking to know a student need all your patience and understanding and your hands are tied by dumbass policies. I remember once a student hadn't been tested as Dyslexic, but I KNEW that she was and I gave her extra time on a class room test, a CLASSROOM test, and I was written up. Needless to say I quit, but that doesn't help students get the attention and pastoral care they need to make it through school.

Quote:
My experiences are pretty specific to central Maryland. I grew up next to DC, and now live just south of Baltimore. It has not always been easy to find teachers who want to work in more high-crime areas, and I imagine we've had worse pickings as a result. I know there are a lot of legal issues that get in the way of firing teachers, and more kids are harmed as a result.

...

Funds!!!, better training, more oversight, more experience before tenure (only 2 years here), smaller classrooms, up-to-date info on reasonable expectations of children, better training in effective and appropriate classroom discipline methods, fewer tests, more teaching methods that cover various learning styles... and so on and so forth. I could go on and on...
A girl can dream, can't she?

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#26 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 10:07 PM
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I aboslutely disagree with this and as someone who has spent most of her adult life teaching 12-16 year olds I think you way under estimate their ability to connect to one another and understand the world around them when asked the right questions. Lectures never work, ME talking almost NEVER works, but when they listen to eachother and talk to eachother...WOW! The rsults are pretty amazing and blow most of the research on what kids are capable of out of the water. But that's just my experience
Connecting with one another and hearing it from an adult when they do wrong aren't the same thing. So, yes, if you are having a group discussion about why to treat the school property nicely, and other students are contributing, then yes, they might get it. What I was referring to is what you term lectures. But from an adult, it may not be taken the same way. I was speaking from my own recollections as a kid of that age. When adults told me the things that you are saying in the thread, I understood, but didn't *get* it, you know? I, perhaps, am dumber than the average bear, but some things also come with experience. I *get* it now. Not trying to sell anyone short, just saying, me personally - I wouldn't have necessarily understood all the implications of drawing on a desk, even when explained to me by an adult.

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#27 of 27 Old 02-22-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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Location: Bogota, Colombia
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Oh totally...lectures are the worst form of punishment...the lectured roll their eyes (even if only internally) the lecturer usually gets swept up in their own hype and pontificates beyond reason, and everyone wastes their time.

I might be tempted to give someone an earful for breaking the rules usually out of anger or frustration, especially with my older students, but I almost ALWAYS regret it if I give in to that urge! The school I work for now, the students have particiapted in making all of the rules in the code of conduct and it is revised EVERY YEAR, and if a student breaks any rules they have a panel of peers to report to and they must meet with the people whom they have harmed either directly or indirectly as deemed by their jury: sometimes they have to face the whole school, sometimes just a small group, or just the panel of peers and a staff member, but the punishment, if one is deemed necessary, always goes towards rebuilding the damage done, and making ammends. It's really cool to see kids taking responsibility for their own learning and each other in that way.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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