School Discipline/Policies is a little harsh.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by marcus903, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. marcus903

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    Apr 22, 2011

    WARNING: May contain some criticism and whining.

    You guys may not agree with this, but I think School discipline has gotten a little harsh. I'll explain why:

    1. Corporal Punishment: This is the discipline where a teacher or staff member spanks or hurts a student for violating the rules. This is a big form of child abuse and it needs to go. Schools that do this really need some counseling because no child, for any reason, should be hurt and abused except by the parent or guardian. Yes, it will be helpful if the school got permission by the parent to punish a student in such a way but otherwise, it doesn't make the school any safer.

    2. Dress Code: Who in the world gets suspended JUST for wearing blue pants and colored shoe strings? And why isn't there a dress code for teachers? Wait, I forgot the teachers are the special people so they can wear anything they want. I'm not saying that everyone at school have to wear the same thing. I'm saying that teachers should have the same dress code as students. So if we can't wear colored shoe strings, teachers can't neither.

    3. Bathroom Policies: I understand that students shouldn't use the bathroom during class time. But this rule is so strict that students will have to hold in their pee until the end of the day or during lunch. Then, we have teachers saying that we should use the bathroom during lunch. Okay, you guys do realize that by the time our food digests it will be way after lunch right? I'm not saying that students should use the bathroom anytime they want. I'm saying that students should get only 1 bathroom break per week. My algebra teacher used to have some "record" policy where students can only get 3 bathroom breaks in one semester. This kind of thing would be better than denying the use of the bathroom.

    4. "Agenda" Policy: What's the difference between a school handbook/agenda and a piece of paper? They're the same thing. So why can't we use a piece of paper for a pass? I am so sick of seeing students be denied to go to the nurse, restroom, locker, office, etc because they don't have a handbook because of a policy that shouldn't be there.

    So can someone tell me why these things happen? Thank you.
     
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  3. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Dress codes and uniforms are absolutely necessary in some areas. I know around where I live it is necessary to prevent bullying and more importantly gang issues!

    I'm sorry but I have witnessed instances while I was in high school- I graduated the year before they moved to a dress code- of actual physical fights and brutality due to students (gang members) being able to wear whatever they want. After you see a pregnant high school student get smacked in the head and the stomach with a padlock due to conflicting gang colors you will not question a dress code.

    I will also go on the record and say that as a teacher, I would not be opposed to wearing a uniform myself as long as it was reasonable. I don't think it's necessary for teachers but I wouldn't be opposed to wearing khakis and a specific colored shirt everyday...
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    First, I don't know of a public school in the US that still uses corporal punishment with the students.

    Also, in any school that I have worked in, students and teachers have the same dress code. The teacher dress code even tends to be more strict than the students.

    Bathroom, in my school, students are allowed to use the bathroom in an emergency. We encourage students to go during lunch and before or after school though. However, in a middle school and high school, students are given passing periods to use the restroom. They should not be asking during class and thus missing instruction. However, I do think that most teachers understand that emergencies do happen, just don't ask often.

    Agenda policy, the school has this policy so that all students look the same and teachers have the same thing they are looking forward. Plus, students need an agenda to write down their assignments in so that it doesn't get lost.
     
  5. marcus903

    marcus903 Companion

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    so? This doesn't seem to answer my question. Why do we need an agenda to go to the bathroom, locker, office, etc?
     
  6. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Marcus, what type of school do you go to? Public (neighborhood or magnet), Charter, or Private Paid? If these are things you're experiencing in your school then knowing what type of school you attend might guide us in our answers since all schools do things differently.

    I don't know of a single school that stills enforces corporal punishment.

    I don't know of a single school that requires you to take an agenda to go outside of the classroom.


    Edit: I remember you in your teachers question thread telling us that you attend a school for the gifted/talented which is most likely a magnet or charter school. Magnet and charter schools will have different policies and some are able to be more strict due to not having some obligations placed on them by the state.
     
  7. marcus903

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    I go to a public school which it is in a neightborhood.

    I also don't know any school that enforces corporal punishment, what I do know is that there is some states that still do.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Our middle school requires the use of an agenda to go out of the classroom. We have passes in the back of the agenda that the students use.

    This one: gives all students and teachers the same pass.

    Two: ensures that students are keeping their agendas. The agenda becomes important because it is how the students leave the classroom.

    Three: it gives us a record of students leaving the classroom. If there is vandalism/fight/etc, the administration can check student agendas to ensure that the student was not out of the class at that time.

    A piece of paper doesn't allow any of the three.
     
  9. Proud2BATeacher

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    Do you go to school with a large student population? Maybe it is to prove that you are a student in the school and not someone off of the street. I work in a very small school (less than 100 students) and my students need both hall and bathroom passes.
     
  10. marcus903

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    I go to a large student population. If they want to prove that we are students in the school, then PAPER can be used to assign hall passes.
     
  11. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    That is extremely smart.

    My fiance just got a job in a high school in Lake County and they use technology to keep track of tardies/ bathroom passes. The teachers or security guards scan the student's ID which imediately transfers to their computer system. This eliminates any guessing!
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Marcus, I think I agree with each of these things:

    1. Corporal punishment - most people aren't for this, with a few exceptions. It's rarely used anyway.

    2. Dress code - I see the rationale - that clothes are one tool students can use to distinguish themselves, affiliate with gangs, demonstrate power over others, etc. However, I think that addressing deep issues such as gang violence by attacking surface-level symptoms is missing the deeper point. Still, prevention is key, and schools aren't in the business necessarily of fixing social order - just of keeping it out of the classroom. I see both sides.

    3. Bathroom - again, I agree. See a recent post about this. In particular, IrishDave had a great way of dealing with the situation.

    4. Agenda - I agree. There should be expectations for students (e.g., complete your homework), but if students find another way that works better for them, they should be allowed to pursue that route. When I've made policies, I have expected the use of an agenda until the student demonstrates consistent performance with homework completion, etc., or until they propose another option. Part of this rule is for the purpose of teaching kids how to be responsible. For example, the rule of "do your homework" is important because kids learn from that. Same with keeping an agenda.

    Marcus, I'll challenge you here since you are on an education forum, sharing your opinion freely, and considering becoming an educator yourself. For each of the 4 things you disagreed with above, why do you see that rule having been put in place - what purpose do you think it serves in schools? And, second, what would your alternative proposal be to accomplish those goals.

    In other words, it's easy to complain that something is wrong - harder to fix it or think of ways to accomplish the same objective in a better way. What are your ideas?
     
  13. Proud2BATeacher

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    Paper is also easy to copy. Does your agenda have your name in it or include a list of your teachers/classes? Working in a small school, my students cannot lie about whom they are or what class they are in, but if your school has a large student population it is more difficult for staff to know everyone's name.
     
  14. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    The agenda also lets the parents see when the students are out of the classroom. Maybe mom will notice that the student goes to the bathroom everyday when there is a test....
     
  15. kpa1b2

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    Apr 22, 2011

    1. Corporal punishment is still used? Not that I'm aware of.
    2. Dress code. Everyone should have a dress code of some sort. (students, teachers, other staff). It should be enforced.
    3. Bathroom policies. Everyone needs to have a bathroom policy. Students shouldn't be leaving class in the middle of instruction time.
    4. Agendas. At my son's school the agenda also serves as a bathroom/hall/errand pass. No agenda, no leaving class. It also serves as a place for him to write down what he needs to do outside of class.

    When I taught 2nd & 3rd grade, I would have my students write their homework assignments in their planners. It was to be signed by the parent NIGHTLY. Our policy was if there no planner or it was not signed then the child did not have recess. I had very few children miss recess as a result. I taught them to open their planner to the correct page, have a pencil/pen with them and take it to their parent to sign. It takes 2 secs to have parents put their initials on the line.
     
  16. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Agreed. Is there corporal punishment at your school? In your state? It should be on it's way out. Unfortunately, there are a few too many "back in my day..." kind of people who are preventing it from being banned outright. Personally, I think it's a human rights issue that puts our country in the same category as a lot of totalitarian police states.

    Actually, teachers in many schools do have dress codes. In high schools, it's more common than not. You want teachers to have the same dress code as students? Be careful what you wish for. You may end up having to wear a tie to school every day.


    Every teacher I know would gladly let any kid go to the restroom whenever they needed to as long as there was some way to guarantee that the student genuinely needed to go and was not just using it as an excuse to leave class.

    Unfortunately we both know that's not the case.

    What is really needed is better scheduling and more restrooms. Perhaps a shorter lunch and a break in the morning between second and third period.


    Most teachers I know have some kind of object or device used as a pass. For a while I used an old army helmet. My problem with the agenda is that every kid has one and that would make it easier to skip class.


    Because far too many decisions are made by committees.
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    1. Corporal Punishment: Spanking is not the same as "abuse". Don't believe me? Look up your state's definition of "child/physical abuse". Most will not endorse it, but very few will actually define it as "abuse", unless it is a "consistent and extended pattern of behavior involving hitting/striking with excessive force on different parts of the body" (or words that effect). Spanking in school is not/was not done in a controlled manner, was not the result of anger on the part of the teacher (leading to excessive force), and usually consisted of three strikes. Some teachers could definitely spank harder than others, but I saw that as being an effective deterrent, especially in middle school and high school when the boys started getting larger than the female teachers.

    While some states do still allow Corporal Punishment (I believe there are 20 that don't prohibit it), most schools in those states do NOT actually use it anymore. Part of the reason is the fact many people disagree so fiercely with it's use, but the main reason is that it's overall effectiveness was usually just temporary. As EdEd mentioned about Dress Codes, it only addressed the immediate behavior, not the underlying cause for the behavior.

    While I support taking other measures first and foremost, I still see (rare) examples of behavior where I truly think three quick licks across the kids bottom would be the most effective way to stop it.

    2. Dress Code: Haven't had to deal with this issue myself, but I certainly understand and support the reasons given by the others. I agree (again) with EdEd that it only addresses the surface problem, but sometimes that is all the school can do. We don't have the time or resources to address the social issues causing the gang fights and other problems with different clothing. I've also never seen teachers wearing colored shoelaces, but I live and work in a rural district.

    As for teacher dress codes, I've noticed most male teachers do NOT wear dress shirt/ties anymore. I always do (except on Friday, when I skip the tie).

    3. Bathroom Policies: Most schools have time for bathroom breaks built into the schedule. If kids don't take advantage of that, that's their fault. Most of the time, when a kid asks to use the bathroom during class, it is because they are bored or don't want to do the work that has been assigned, not because they are about to embarrass themselves in front of their classmates. I almost always say "No" on the first request and - more often than not- the kid does NOT come back for a second request...which means he didn't really have to go in the first place. If they do come back a second (or maybe third time), then I figure they probably do need to go. If they have completed the work assigned for that day, I will often let them go on the first request. I know it is just because they are bored, but they've finished what I gave them and it might keep them from asking in the next class.

    4. "Agenda" Policy: Some of our schools require students to sign their planner when they leave the room (for any reason, not just bathroom breaks). This is the closest thing I can think of to the Agenda you mention. Again, others have given good reasons and sound logic for why schools use that policy.

    One thing you need to keep in mind as a student is that EVERY rule a school has is there for a legitimate reason, NOT just to make your day miserable. There is nothing wrong with asking what that reason or logic may be, as long as you are willing to listen to the explanation with an open mind. Of course, that assumes the teacher or admin is willing to provide a legitimate explanation in the first place. ;)

    Remember that it is never wrong to ask WHY a certain policy is in place, as long as it is done in a respectful manner instead of criticizing or demeaning way. At the high school level, teachers and admin should have enough respect for the students to answer questions like that.
     
  18. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    1. Corporal Punishment: I'm not trying to justify the use of corporal punishment by any means, but when it IS used, it is because it is the punishment preferred by the parent of the student being punished. Corporal punishment is still alive and well in the district where I grew up, but I suspect that it will be phased out before long.


    2. Dress Code: Many schools have dress codes for teachers, and I agree that teachers should always be dressed appropriately. For students, the dress code is very important in a lot of districts with gang activity. Also, a lot of students in more suburban or rural schools wear suggestive T-shirts or revealing clothing. I've never heard of a student being suspended for wearing shoelaces of a certain color, but there are cases in which a dress code is a valuable thing.

    3. Bathroom Policies: I prefer the policy of allowing a certain number of bathroom visits per grading period.

    4. "Agenda" Policy: Other teachers have satisfactorily answered this question!
     
  19. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    People on this board have mentioned it being used. Further, as recently as 2008 there were over 200,000 victims of corporal punishment in schools per year (link). While it certainly seems like it's on it's way out, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it as a non-problem or "rarely used".
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    That's a nice little blurb of a story. Too bad they didn't provide a link to any data or statistics actually supporting the 200,000 spankings that occurred. I suppose we just have to take their word for it.

    Actually, we don't because I did take the 5 minutes needed to look up some statistics: Corporal Punishment in Public Schools, by State. These figures are also from 2008, so it can be assumed we are comparing apples to apples.

    Of the 21 states that allow corporal punishment, 12 used it less than 1% of the time. Only 4 states had schools that used corporal punishment more than 2% of the time. Looking at the 13 states listed in the first article as using corporal punishment "frequently", the actual average occurrence is 1.3%. When you look at all 21 states that allow corporal punishment, the actual average of occurrence is less than .05%.

    I would say an average usage of less 1.5% in the "frequent" states and a usage of less than .05% in all states does support the statement that corporal punishment is "rarely used" overall.

    Also, once again, spanking is not the same as beating - at least not by state or Child Protective definitions. So use of that term is nothing more than emotional propaganda. So is your use of the term "victim". That implies helpless innocence and overlooks the fact those students committed some type of action that the schools felt deserved a punishment in the first place. Suppose those students had been given out of school suspensions instead; would you have than listed the number of "victims" of O.S.S. in 2008? or would it have been the number of "students" that received suspensions for their behavior in class?
     
  21. MissCeliaB

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    I have found that at schools where I worked and spanking was used, it was usually used on younger children who would not understand being put in ISS or OSS. Those would be like a vacation for them. A quick paddling provided an immediate and definite consequence. It could only be administered when a long list of procedures had been followed. Sometimes when I would go to call a parent students would say, "Just send me to the principal, she doesn't spank as hard as my momma."
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    21 states allow cp in schools. Parents generally sign a permission or opt out form.:dizzy:

    Marcus...there are schools which employ all, some or none of the policies you enumerated. But do consider that there are 'real life' applications to some of them (work uniforms, required paperwork and documentation for a variety of purposes). Bathroom policies are to maximize instructional time...you have to admit that there are students who abuse bathroom, water, locker visits. That said, there should be some flexibility for individual circumstances.
     
  23. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Cerek, your link also supports the over-200,000 number.

    Maybe they should throw in the states where corporal punishment doesn't happen at all, and get even a lower percentage. Or maybe just add in Europe and call it statistics for the Western world.

    It's statistical games.

    FWIW, I basically agree with you that not all corporal punishment is abuse. I actually have a slightly different personal definition of abuse than the legal definition (more psychologically based), but mine doesn't include all corporal punishment either.
     
  24. EdEd

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    Cerek - was wondering what you meant by this, or what the article meant:

    Actually, was just interested in what the percentage means. When it is used 1% of the time, does that mean in 1% of the schools, or in 1% of all disciplinary situations? In that case, what is meant by a disciplinary situation - something that rises to the level of office discipline referral, or anytime a consequence is given out? Not trying to make a point here, just interested in the statistic itself :)
     
  25. TeacherNY

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    I don't support corporal punishment but I would support any of the other policies listed by the OP. They don't seem unreasonable to me. I'd love my school to bring on uniforms for teachers! I could get ready in less time in the morning and stop all the teachers I work with from dressing inappropriately!
     
  26. Cerek

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    Yes, my link also supports over the 200,000 number, but it goes farther to show that 200,000 only represents 1.3% of the school populations in question. Ergo, corporal punishment is used rarely in comparison to other methods.

    I'm not "doctoring" the numbers at all. I am quoting the statistics straight from the table in the link. There are 21 states that still allow corporal punishment, but only about 13 that seem to actually use corporal punishment. Therefore, I only focused on the 13 listed in your article as using spanking "frequently" to arrive at the 1.3% instead of diluting it with the other 8 states that apparently do not use corporal punishment only a negligible amount. However, the table itself shows the percentage of corporal punishment in all the states that allow it to be .46%. Less than 1/2 of 1% certainly fits the description of "rarely used", in my opinion.

    You're right that I could dilute the numbers even further by adding the other 29 states, but that would[/b] be manipulating the data, since corporal punishment is NOT allowed at all in those states. I focused ONLY on the states that (a) allow corporal punishment to be used by schools and (b) the 13 states specifically listed in your article as using such punishment "frequently". Frankly, I don't think .2% (NC and SC) qualifies as "frequent use" at all. The only ones that fit that bill - again in my opinion - were schools that used corporal punishment more than 2% of the time and that is still stretching it.

    The reason I continually come back to the legal definition of abuse or beating vs spanking is because I do see so much emotional hyperbole used in describing corporal punishment. I've seen members here say it is the same as beating kids with a Louisville Slugger. NO, it is NOT! There ARE kids out there that DO get abused like that and comparing a spanking to the literal beatings they receive grossly cheapens and demeans the horror they live every day.

    I've alluded to this many time, but I also have a very personal experience with this issue because I actually reported my ex to Social Services for abuse after she went after our middle son with a belt. I've never given specifics, but maybe it will help you understand where I'm coming from.

    My ex has an extremely volatile temper. She is literally angry about something all the time and it takes very little to send her into an out and out rage, especially when it came to spanking the children. During our separation, but before our Custody Hearing, she flew into a rage towards our son with ADHD because he hadn't done his homework. When she grabbed the belt and told him to put his hands on the couch, he took off running down the hall. She ran after him, swinging the belt as she went. She hit him in the left temple with the buckle of the belt, leaving a bruise so deep it was visible 4 days later (when he was at my house). The bruise was less than an inch from his left eye. She could have easily knocked him out, given him a slight concussion or permanently damaged his eye. It is only by the Grace of God none of that happened.

    When Social Services investigated, they told me if she used a belt again, they would remove the boys from her house. They didn't. When I got a job at Social Services a year later, I went to CPS myself to follow up on the investigation and the findings. That's when I was told - BY the CPS investigator - that her actions were STILL not considered "abuse". Rather, it was just "excessive punishment". I called it bull****, but it didn't matter what *I* thought. All that mattered was the legal definition, which had not been met.

    The truly heinous part? My ex has convinced our son it was HIS fault she hit him there because that wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been running from her. Actually, her story is that he "jumped backwards" as she swung the belt, but that is blatant lie. She is left-handed, so she would have been standing to his right. If he jumped backwards, she would have hit his right temple, not the left. But if she is running behind him, she would have hit his left temple.

    I'm sorry, but compared to that, getting three swats on the butt for behavior in school doesn't even come CLOSE to being abuse or a beating. Like you, my personal definition differs from that of the state, but I learned first-hand that my opinion doesn't mean spit compared to the legal definition.

    Despite the stance I always take on this issue, I do not condone spanking as standard practice. Because of the incident above, I have NEVER raised my hand to any of the boys in the 4 years since our divorce and they behave much better for me than they do for her. I absolutely agree there ARE better approaches that have longer lasting effects and I fully support using ALL those measures FIRST! But just like the discussion recently about the fact that some kids are just lazy, there are also those very rare occasions where a good swat on the backside WOULD be the best thing a kid could get because the sheer shock of the punishment would be enough to make him/her realize how serious the consequences are.

    That is actually the ONLY way (IMO) that corporal punishment can really be effective - when it is used SO rarely, it is the last thing the kid would expect to happen.

    If you don't agree with corporal punishment, that's fine, I can absolutely respect that. But PLEASE do NOT call it abuse, because it isn't.
     
  27. EMonkey

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    I found it interesting that New Jersey got rid of corporal punishment in 1867. The closest state to that date was Massachusetts in 1971. I wonder what caused the state of New Jersey to put it through more than one hundred years before any other state.
     
  28. husker_blitz

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    Must be something about New Jersey and being progressive. New Jersey was the first state to allow women to vote, at least for a few years before banning it again.
     
  29. JustMe

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    Marcus, I believe that some of your concerns will be seen in a different light if and once you become a teacher. It's amazing what a few months in the trenches can do as far as enlightenment. :)
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oh yeah . We're way progressive.:dizzy: have you seen or heard our governor speak of education?
     
  31. Cerek

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    I'm assuming it means percent of the student population that received a spanking, because it listed the actual number of students receiving corporal punishment as well.

    From that, it can be inferred the percent also addresses the general occurrence of corporal punishment vs other discipline measures. If only 1% of the students received corporal punishment, It stands to reason the other 99% of incidents must have been addressed through other measures.
     
  32. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I have taught in four schools-all used corporal punishment. It was not used daily and only as a last result. And in every school, the parents had the right to refuse it, but that meant they came and took their child home for suspension. Most parents (all but two in the twenty years) supported it. It is done in a private area, discussion before and after about why, and only after every other option is tried. I would say for the majority of the children, that is all it takes and they don't visit the office for anything else.
     
  33. applecore

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    Apr 24, 2011

    I agree.....too many committees.

    We have CP in our school.....hasn't been used in almost 20 years. That being said, not many people know it's still on the books as an exisiting law and possibility of punishment. But ironically it's against the law to spank your child in public in our state.

    I have a dress code to follow along with the kids in our district---it's just not the same colors and styles...those are left to the kids so we know who's on the campus and who's not allowed to be on the campus. We can't wear jeans, no between the toe shoes (for whatever reason the shoes resemble butt crack jokes the district decided was not professional), no short skirts, no butt crack showing pants, no boobs popping out on top, nothing ripped, stained, etc. And there's more with piercings and tattoos---but that's another subject.

    I teach 3rd grade...I have a daughter with a weak bladder---SO, I'm good with kids having to use the restroom after lunch, or whenever they need to...as long as it's legit. We do have to say no to using the restroom right after recess for 30 minutes because we have a reading intervention block--but I'm pretty easy going with kids who ask to go because, dang, I can't hold it that long either. Besides....kids' bladders are in training. Let them go!

    And with the pass/agenda thing----elementary kids (sign their name and time when they go...lowers the monkey see, monkey do ratio for the most part, and teaches time---two things in one!), middle schoolers carry objects and some teachers provide extra credit for kids who turn in their unused restroom pass. High school...they figure that if you gotta go, you go. If you go and miss class, you go and miss class. They're not going to babysit you and your grade. Some teachers in the high school still use objects, but my daughter refuses to carry the object after a boy has carried it to the boys bathroom---she said, "Do you not realize where boys pee? Eewww!" Can't say I blame her.

    Yep, so many committees....so many rules.
     
  34. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Apr 25, 2011

    I've come to learn that rules are usually made in one of two ways:
    -Some idiot comes in and thinks things should be a certain way, so he/she institutes a rule to his/her pleasing, with no obvious reason behind it.
    -An incident (or series of incidents) happen that causes disruption or someone to be unhappy. As a result, a rule is formed to prevent it from happening again.

    Have you thought about the possible reasons why a rule may have been instituted? Put yourself in the shoes of a teacher/principal. When a child continues to use the restroom for inappropriate reasons and it disrupts your class, what rule would you institute to prevent this from happening again?
     

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