millerw2's picture

School Punishment Concerns

Last week our five year old daughter took a book from her classroom. Until now, our daughter hasn't had any behavior issues at school this year.

As a parent, I have always believed in swift, age-appropirate consequences. Also, I believe that punishments should be constructive and aimed at guiding effective child development (at least at this age).

After notifying us of what our daughter did, her teacher told us that our daughter will:

1) stand on the wall during student recess for two weeks.
2) not be permitted to take part in student centers (i.e., learning through play - e.g., playing in kitchens, etc.) for two weeks.
3) will not be permitted to have an afternoon snack (drink/food) for two weeks.
4) will not be allowed to be the helper of the week.

While I have no problem with punitive consequences, this punishment appears to be primarily punitive. It doesn't appear to be particularly constructive. In fact, it has been destructive for our daughter.

Our daughter feels humiliated. She comes home and cries. She is convinced that she is a bad person and suddenly, she doesn't want to attend school.

I am looking for some perspective from other parents. Does this punishment strik you as appropriate or disproportionately harsh?

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

2xstepmom's picture

This punishment is very inappropriate and harsh. Have you contacted the principal concerning this? A 2 week punishment for a minor infraction is extreme. Is this a public or private school?

millerw2's picture

This is a public school. I have not contacted the principal yet. Instead, I have crafted a respectful, professional letter to the teacher outlining my concerns about the punishment. Not only is it overly lengthy and harsh, but is designed to humiliate instead of teach. It is completely disconnected from the infraction.

I would have no problem with the teacher taking recess as long as that time was used constructively in a way related to the infraction (e.g., using her recess time to count the books in the class to make sure that they are all accounted for). This mades sense. It is a constructive consequence.

In any event, I wanted to give the teacher an opportunity to change her mind before I meet with the principal.

Thank you for your comments.

2xstepmom's picture

While your chosen course of action is understandable, your daughter will continue to be punished until the teacher gets back to you.

My advice is for you to hand carry the letter to the teacher tomorrow before the beginning of the school day and wait for her reply. Unless the teacher is willing to immediately recind this harsh and overly lengthy punishment, then go right to the principal with your concerns so your daughter will not have to endure this for another day.

chicago2009's picture

I see where you are coming from,in my opinion, the punishment is a little bit too harsh and should be talked about ASAP.

LHMom's picture

I agree. Two weeks is too long for a child of this age. By the time this punishment is complete she will not even recall what she is being punished for. I think your approach to address this with the teacher is good, however, I think to do this verbally, either in person or over the phone would be best as you can have a better discusion and you won't have to wait as long for her to respond (as pointed out by another responder). Good luck. Let us know how you made out.