Taking away recess

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by AngelaS, Aug 24, 2002.

  1. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Aug 24, 2002

    What's your opinion on taking away recess as a punishment?
    My whole grade 3 team had to agree on a discipline plan. I'm new and they already had one, which says that on the third 'warning', the child loses recess and gets a phone call home.

    I am concerned about this because the kids who act out and lose their recess are often the ones with all the pent up energy that needs to be released during that time! Plus, recess is only 15 minutes (isn't that awful? non-negotiable, too). And finally, if the child messes up after recess, they lose thier recess for the following day, which I also think is unfair because everyone needs a clean start on a new day- I know I do!

    I was thinking of adding in a five minute indoor 'recess' at the end of the day for those who didn't get to that third warning. That way everyone can run and play outside but I'm still sticking to the agreed-upon loss of recess consequence. I'll save losing outdoor recess for one or two non-behavior infractions such as not doing homework (the rationale there is that you didn't do your homework because you were playing, so you don't need to play now, you can do your homework). Any thoughts?
     
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  3. AJK

    AJK Pre-k Montessori Teacher

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    Aug 25, 2002

    I hate the idea of taking away recess. It's used soooo often, but just like you said, it doesn't make any sense. Those are the children who need to move and jump and play. It is a punishment and not a consequence. Anyway, I can offer you two suggestions:
    Can you get around it by arranging your schedule so recess is early in the day? That way it'll be hard for anyone to get to those 3 warnings. Then, you can plan your inside recess at the end of the day, maybe a large group game right before dismissal that they can lose if they get all three warnings.
    The other thing I've seen older teachers do is the children who lose their recess can't play but can walk around the permiter of the playground/court/field, etc. That way they're not playing but still moving and getting their energy out.
    Hope this helps :)
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 25, 2002

    This is what I do. I teach 2nd grade and have several students as you so well put it, need to run. Our school has recess everyday after lunch for 15 minutes. This is from the school. I give my students a 15 minute recess in addition in the morning since I have my students from 8 till 12 with no break. I do take away recess, but in 5 minute blocks. The second time they have lost their card, they owe me 5 minutes, third, 10, and the fourth time,all their recess. If we have already gone out for recess, they owe me that time in a time out desk where they have to write down what they did, how they can do better next time. GOOD LUCK!!
     
  5. Seich30

    Seich30 Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2002

    I think it is appropriate, especially if you are not taking away the whole time. Put the child in control of his/her own actions. In other words they are responsible for their behavior. If they choose to act up in is not a choice for give consequences. It is totally their choice. I'd tell them you are using my time, now you are going to have to pay me back "x-amount" of time. Ideally it would be best if they could be doing what they actually missed due to their actions, but isn't always fesible (especially outside). I would handle any free time the same way.
     
  6. musicbug

    musicbug Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2002

    Sometimes taking away part of a recess works as a wake up call. I prefer to only take portions of recess( even with missed hw.If they can finish the work well they can get the remainder of recess. For chronic problems, a phone call home might work. If you take away recess too often from a child they will do what my brother did not care and you end upbeing punished with a surly child during recess and continual disruptions every day.
     
  7. 5leafclover

    5leafclover Companion

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    Aug 25, 2002

    We get 15 minutes of recess every day too. I have a policy in my class that says if you pull 3 cards you lose part of your recess, but so far no one has had to do it. Last year when kids lost part of recess I would have them sit down and either finish work from class or I'd talk to them about why they were missing out on recess.

    Nick
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 25, 2002

    I teach first grade where we have a 30 minute recess. I do take away recess as a consequence, but a student will lose no more than 15 minutes per day. That way they still get some energy out. As you can imagine, 15 minutes is an eternity to a first grader! I have each students' name velcroed to a sun that I made from posterboard. They start each day on the sun. After 2 verbal warnings, they move their name to the cloud(5minutes), the next time they move their name to the raindrop(10 minutes) and the next time they move their name to the lightening bolt(15 minutes). Works very well!
     
  9. MarinerMoJo

    MarinerMoJo Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2002

    Something that I found that also works is providing an opportunity to "earn back" the recess time. These are young children and young children are impulsive by nature. Allowing them the chance to get back under control is a learning experience. Of course, as it's been said, if the same child continually is trying to earn back recess then something more needs to be done.
     
  10. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    Aug 25, 2002

    Our school has cut back on recess due to the fact that we are a primary school and don't have a lot of classroom time. We have 20 minutes of recess a week (only one day). Due to that fact, I will not take time away from recess as a consequence to a classroom behavior situation. (I never took complete recess time away before either for the same reasons as already stated but I would take 5 minutes away). I will use time out on the playground only for recess infractions. And those will only be for 5 minutes, unless it reoccurs after serving a time out.
     
  11. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 25, 2002

    I can't believe that schools are not providing recess time!! It is so valuable! Last year we only had two 15 minute recesses in first grade each day. I thought that 30 minutes a day wasn't enough!

    I am at another school now where we are alotted 60 minutes of recess each day. Most of us do 20-25 minutes twice a day.

    Margo, I can't believe you only have one recess per week. Doesn't this leave you doing a lot of activities that are like indoor recess so the kids can have down time? How do you manage this??

    After all the brain research that has been done, I can't believe kids are getting less recess! I understand there is more to learn, but we know that brains can't be soaking up information 100% of the day. There has to be down time in order for it to process!!!!!
     
  12. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    Aug 25, 2002

    I do alot of brain breaks during the day to give them that down time that they so desprately need. But besides that, the kids are not developing their gross motor skills the way they should. Indoor recess do not help with that. It is difficult to manage without that break but I work with the kids and when I see their eyes start to get glassy - it's brain break time. What spurred this reduction of recess (I think) is the No Child Left Behind act. I am in a primary school and with our shorter hours, we had very little instructional time. In order to provide the maximum time in the classroom, we start our day about 10 minutes earlier, they took out recess, and they changed how teachers lunches were managed. We end up with about an hour more in the classroom. But I agree with you that just because there is more instructional time it doesn't mean that they are learning more.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2002
  13. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 25, 2002

    Wow. I really feel for you, Margo... It sounds like you are doing your best with it, though! I am curious if you have P.E.? We have one hour of P.E. per week. What about Music and Art? :)
     
  14. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Aug 25, 2002

    Margo, what are the school hours?
     
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 26, 2002

    School hours are 8:00 - 1:50 (12:50 on Wednesdays). But figure that announcements last until about 8:20 and we move to dismissal areas at 1:30 (12:30 on Wednesdays). These hours are the same for the whole school (K - 2). I don't know how the older classes et everything done. We do have specials that rotate. The kids end up with about 1 hour of PE a week. It takes about a two week rotation to get to music, art and computers. We have an unusual situation with specials. Instead of sending the whole class, we divide our class into two groups. Half of my class goes to specials with 1/2 of another class. That way we still have 1/2 of our class with us to work with in smaller groups. But that also means that the kids only go to specials every other day. That also means we don't get planning time during the school day. Ours is after school is dismissed.
     
  16. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    Aug 26, 2002

    That previous post was by Margo. Sometimes when I am bouncing around the boards, I get uncookied. Does that happen to anybody else?
     
  17. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Aug 26, 2002

    Thank you for all your responses! Again, I am amazed at how much disparity there is among schools in terms of how things are run. I envy the person who said they have 60 minutes- how long is the school day?

    Today was our first day. After an hour and a half of mostly sitting and discussing procedures, we did a walk-through of cafeteria and recess rules. The other 3rd grade teachers gave about 15 min of directions at each place (for the whole grade level to hear- I just listened because I'm still learning the rules myself). Then they took their kids in to do more work!

    Myabe its because of my early childhood background, but I think that is developmentally inappropriate. I let my kids stay outside and we sat in a circle. I told them that this was thier time to talk, play hand games, etc. as long as they stayed sitting down, as a thank-you for doing so much listening when it was my turn to talk. I wonder if I can get away with this more often? The fresh air was a welcome break.

    I don't mean to to make the other teachers sound mean, they are FANTASTIC at what they do. That routine is typical for elementary schools, and I think its sad that kids have to sit all day long and not talk but we're quick to take away their recess when they just can't meet that standard.
     
  18. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Aug 26, 2002

    Margo,

    My school has shorter hours than the other schools. 8-2:15. The main part of my preschoolers' day is until 12:45 and we have a WELL NEEDED quiet time/naptime then. We have centers/free play until 8:50, Circle Time until 9:20, Educational video until 9:50 (during that time the aides go and get lunches and I'm usually have to deal with one of my little ones with severe disabilities during that time, he gets realllllllly fussy at times), P.E. until 10:10 (we eat lunch then), Lunch until 10:45, Fun video until 11:15 (We also get one of many potty breaks in here without taking away from instructional time), centers/play again until 11:45, table work and stories until 12:20, snack until 12:45 and then nap time and so on until time to get up at 1:45. I know an hour of video (2- 30 mins) seems like a lot, but I've tried having instructional time during that first time slot and it never fails that the little one will act up or everyone needs to potty 15 minutes before potty time. SO! ANYWAY!!!!

    We end up with 20 mins a day for PE. Last year my little ones didn't get PE so we took them out later on for about 30 mins but it was usually too hot or too cold or too wet.

    Lori
     
  19. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 27, 2002

    I grew up in Tennessee, and we NEVER had recess, in all the time I was living there (K-9th grade)... We had PE every day K-4, every other day 5-8. here in Illinois, most of the classes I've seen get some time every day. Although here, the kids have PE every day (it's state mandated every day K-12), so they usually get a short recess time in the afternoon, if the teacher chooses to take one.
     
  20. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 27, 2002

    I work at a school that teaches the whole child. Recess is required daily. Lunch/recess combo is 50 minutes. We have: Art 2X/wk, Music 2X/wk, Computer 1X/wk, Quest (personal development) 1X/wk, Spanish 2X/wk, Sports 2X/wk. These are 50 minute classes. This is for 5th grade. 5th through 8th kids may have to miss part of recess to make up a homework assignment. Also, can you believe this, 6th through 8th graders go to the local mall for lunch on Fridays (unless they have lost the privelege by very poor behavior). Our school is preK to 8th.
     
  21. jfergie

    jfergie Guest

    Aug 28, 2002

    Wow what an eye opener reading these postings! I think lots of schools are feeling the pressure of having to teach to unreasonable standards and so they are doing everything they can to get more time in class. The problem is that children are not machines that you can just run for longer periods of time and get more product out of. They are human beings that need rest and play. I take recess away as selfom as I can because they need it and so do I! When do you people get to use the bathroom yourself? We must be in the only professional where you have to go for hours without a coffee break.(not that I drink coffee but you get the idea) Our school has before school play time from 8:10 to 8:40 depending on when they get to school. The last bus arrives by 8:20. Then the primary have a 15 minutes recess midmorning. Lunch is from 11:50 to 12:35 and we have a 10 minutes recess in the afternoon. 4-6 have no afternoon recess but they have lunch until 1:10 and we dismiss at 2:40. We feel that we don't have enough minutes inthe day for everything they expect us to teach but I'm not sure adding more minutes to our day would solve the problem. I often feel that after lunch time is not very productive, or is that just me?
     
  22. AJK

    AJK Pre-k Montessori Teacher

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    Aug 28, 2002

    <<I often feel that after lunch time is not very productive, or is that just me>>

    My little ones have special right after lunch this year! It's been so hard for them. They're done in and very ready for naptime. I like the 2 1/2 hour block of time I have in the morning, but they're too tired to transition to another class, follow a new set of rules, etc. Now we nap right after Special. It's only been 2 days of school and except for my kids with autism who don't sleep just about everyone else does!
     
  23. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 28, 2002

    From what I've been learning in my classes, it seems that perhaps if after-lunch time doesn't seem as productive, that maybe that would be the time for some more active games or science experiments... ie, learning experiences that lend themselves to doing something instead of just sitting quietly...

    I remember from my elementary school days that I liked the teachers who did that better than the ones who tried to make us sit after lunch... kids at the same time have a LOT of energy right then but are completely exhausted. You might try 5 or 10 minutes of silent reading...that seemed to work when I was younger.

    I'm sure I'll be in the same boat in the not-so-distant future (I student teach in the spring)!
     
  24. 5leafclover

    5leafclover Companion

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    Aug 28, 2002

    Well, I don't know about you guys but I think 60 minutes of recess is too much. Of course the 20 minutes I have each day is too little. Mainly because that twenty minutes includes the time it takes to walk to the playground and back to class.

    Unfortunately our kids only have PE once a week. Our school has told us that we are required to plan another 50 minutes of PE each week in addition to everything else we do. Unfortunately, we have a minimum number of minutes per subject that we are required to teach each day so there really is no time for real PE.

    We get our PE by stretching in the classroom mainly. Anyway, It would be nice to have 20 minutes of actual playground time a day and PE twice a week like I had at my old school. Oh well!

    Nick
     
  25. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sep 1, 2002

    I am a student teacher in a special education classroom. The school I am in doesn't even have a recess. We talk so much about character education and children who weigh too much, and yet we give them no time to work on these. When we found out that there were so many children that couldn't read we doubled the time we spent on reading. GREAT! Now that we see that children need help with social skills, because they fight on the playground we take that time away. I just don't understand. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that recess has to be long, but children need time to be kids. If people are so worried about the "down time" then take them out and play an educational game that requires them to move around. As far as children not getting recess because they were bad. I understand the idea of responce cost, but isn't there something else that they could take away. Remember that if you do your lessons right it should be more fun to be in the lesson than to be out of it.
     
  26. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sep 1, 2002

    I teach in an afterschool program. I have one little boy who is ADHD with very poor social skills. Everyday at school he gets recess taken away for his behavior even though this child needs to run off energy. So when he comes to me at 3:00 he is wound up. I don't take away his gym time. If he misbehaves and seems to need to work off extra energy I either have him run laps during gym time or I take him into the hallway and have him jumprope. It really seems to help him. I just don't think. taking away his gym time is going to do him any good. His parents are very happy with it and wish his teacher at school could be like his daycare teacher.
     
  27. kelly

    kelly Guest

    Sep 5, 2002

    I find it quite odd that adults who work, get a break by law yet children are not getting any. My husband works in a factory, and must have 15 minutes break in the morning and 20 minutes for lunch and another 10 minutes in the afternoon. Why don't we allow this for our small children who we all know need to move?!
     
  28. denisemarie

    denisemarie Rookie

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    Funny, Kelly, that's what I was thinking last week, when we had inservice meetings from 8:30-3:30 EVERY DAY, and had to sit stock still in a chair and listen to people yammer at us!

    Seriously, some of the information was good, but after a few hours or so, I couldn't process ANYTHING ELSE!!! (And I, like Amanda, have moved to a new school this year--from first grade to kindergarten, too!--and was sitting there, thinking, "I need to finish my room...I need to put names on the lockers...I need to plan for next week...I need to...I need to..."

    My principal last year gave me the evil eye every time I took my students out for recess. (After all, they were six years old!! Why should they need to play?)

    I agree that students need recess the same way workers need breaks--only more so! At my new school, no one has limited or questioned the amount of recess. I take breaks when I can tell I'm losing them, and they usually come back much better behaved & ready to learn.
     
  29. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sep 6, 2002

    I am just amazed that teachers will take recess time away from children. Many times I have seen teachers fighting to grab every free time they can get, yet they don't think twice about taking free time from their students. I have to agree with Kelly. The law states that employees have to be provided with a break during the day but there is nothing to guarantee the same for kids. Shameful.
     
  30. latybug

    latybug Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2002

    WOW! What eye openers!!! We were just discussing this at our teacher's meeting today. Our 4th graders get 40 minutes a day after lunch for recess everyday to play. They also get a 40 minute activity time every day. The activity class is a roration of gym, art, music and computer class. I feel lucky that I get two breaks to grade papers and other such things. (That is if it's not my day to do recess duty) Our school day starts at 8:20 and ends at 3:10. We were thinking of cutting back our recess to 20 minutes so that we can get 20 minutes more a day for instructional time. Our students would still get 60 minutes of break time a day even if we cut their recess time down. After reading about how hard your children have it I think the 20 minute recess sounds fair all the way around. I feel sorry for those of you and your students who do not get the freedom we have. May God bless you all! Try to keep in good spirits.
     
  31. kelly

    kelly Guest

    Sep 19, 2002

    You have to realize that the "breaks" you talk about are not really breaks for the kids. Gym, Music, Computers and Art are still STRUCTURED learning time for the kids. They still have to sit and listen to directions for the most part. They need to have FREE time. Think about when you have to sit for inservice meetings. A break is so look forward to. Everyone counts down the minutes to the scheduled break. Think about what the kids must be thinking about!!!!
     
  32. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Sep 21, 2002

    I am the person who originally started this thread. It's good to know that so many people share my concerns. Let me give you an update on what has happened since school started...

    I do take recess away for those who didn't do their homework. There has to be a consequence for this. When the whole class turns in their homework (which has happened twice so far), I give the whole class an extra five minutes of recess.

    When a student gets to three checks (see my first posting), I have had to take away recess because it is school policy. This usually happens to 0-5 kids a day, plus 0-4 who didn't do their homework, for a total of up to 10 kids 'on the fence' each day. I have 27 kids altogether. If they misbehave and they have no homework, they miss recess for 2 days.

    This is a tough policy that I sometimes feel bad about, but I really feel like I have no other choices. The other 3rd grade teachers and I have been giving the kids 20 minutes instead of 15 for recess, which makes me feel a little better, because at least then they are getting a decent break when they earn it.

    But I still can't help feeling like recess IS a right and NOT a privelege....
     
  33. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sep 22, 2002

    Reading this thread I am so relieved that I am homeschooling. I must agree with the idea that the teachers are legally given breaks...poor kids. Then there's the idea of being punished for the homework....As if it's not enough to be in this setting for six or more hours, plus being bussed both ways...and then to spend evening hours doing homework! It's sad that they cannot go home and play and learn about life skills from the family but instead need to do more work because there wasn't class time given, but busy work instead. Makes me ever so grateful that I am learning creative ways of teaching so that my children will not be exposed to this.
     
  34. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Sep 23, 2002

    Whether or not kids should be given homework is an altogether different topic. My school gives an hour a night for 3rd graders. Many of these kids have retained so little from second grade (or were never properly taught) that homework is not an option- they have to have that review at home. Most of them can get some help from an adult, too, which provides the one-on-one instruction that I am rarely able to provide. My school is one of the best in the county, but I find myself reviewing concepts that were introduced back in kindergarten.
     
  35. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sep 24, 2002

    I am all in favor of taking small amts of recess away from a child who is a behavior problem consistently. At my child's school they have a system of lights that they use when children are talking to loudly in the cafeteria. There are three lights - three warnings per say and with each one they take away 10 min of recess time. My issue is that they are punishing the whole group of students rather than just those who are causing the problem. I think it is an easy way out for the teachers. My daughter is a great kid, never a discipline problem but consistently suffers the consequences of her peers. I don't think this is fair. They need to punish the students who are causing the problems and let them lose recess not the whole group. My daughter comes home very upset and discouraged about this several times a week. What is a parent to do about this? Also, the school has never discussed this method of discipline (the lights). We only hear about it from our kids when they come home upset because the whole class has lost recess time due to the actions of a few.
     
  36. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    In response to the above posters, I reject the premise of the unregistered home-schooler who makes school sound like a prison. My students (only 11 in class) move about constantly - sitting on floor, cushions, little nooks, anywhere, for several subjects per day. They have relaxed silent reading time 4 days a week, during which music is played. I read aloud to them daily. They have at least two 'specials' a day. They have 50 minutes for lunch and recess. We play educational activities in instructional time. They LOVE school. The homework given isn't for the sake of homework, it is to reinforce skills and to enhance independent skills for projects, research, etc.

    When one student misbehaves, it is terribly wrong to punish a group. It just undermines the lesson to be learned - responsibility for one's own actions. At our school, logical consequences follow actions, students are helped to acknowledge wrongdoing, apologize to an offended party, decide how he/she could act differently in the future. I do take time away from recess for students who have not completed assignments - they stay in in an air-conditioned classroom with a teacher. When the assignment is completed, they head outside to play. Sounds like a logical consequence to me.
     
  37. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Oct 21, 2002

    To the parent that "home schools"-structure is what makes the world go round. Are your children going to stay home forever? It seems that people who "teach" their children at home are really doing them a great injustice-a monolythic view of the world-poor kids! Let them out of their prison and expose them to the wonderful world of variety and REAL learning.
     
  38. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Oct 21, 2002

    I call homeschooling all day recess! To compare real school and homeschooling is ridiculous.
     
  39. AngelaS

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    Oct 22, 2002

    I did not start this thread to begin a homeschoolers vs. school teachers attack. How petty to call another teacher's job 'recess'! 'Unfair to kids'! Very cowardly for those who said these things to do so without registering your name so that people can respond to your accusations.

    Right now, none of my kids have had recess for THREE WEEKS. There is a sniper who has killed 11 and wounded 2 more. One of those shot was a child in front of his school. No one has any idea who this lunatic is. He killed again this morning. The roads were blocked but I made my way to school, late, on the side roads. A SWAT team is hidden in the wooded area around the school each morning and afternoon. Police officers stand outside their patrol cars in the school driveway, guns in holsters. The kids walk right past on their way in and out of the building. Parents try to escort their kids, but they are so scared I don't know how reassuring it is. We don't go outside, and we don't open our blinds. We have not had fresh air and exercise for recess in almost a month.

    If you think that schools are a prison, you have no idea until you teach in Prince Georges County, MD., while a serial sniper is on the loose.

    There are more important issues worth getting upset about right now.
     
  40. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Oct 22, 2002

    Angela,
    My heart goes out to you and your students and all of the families living in your area. I can only imagine how frozen with fear you all must be right now. I pray everyday that this maniac is caught and put behind bars as soon as possible.
    Yes, I agree, there are WAY more important issues to worry about. Let's try to be more supportive of each other - no matter how different we view "schooling". (I, for one, would love to see an end to this lame battle between homeschoolers & traditional schools.)
    Please know that there are those of us in other parts of the country who are greatly concerned for your safety and are praying that this nightmare ends very soon.
     
  41. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Oct 22, 2002

    I thought you posted this because you had to take recess away when your students were behaving negatively. As a matter of fact, you even mentioned them going outside. Now you are saying you have been in for a month because of the sniper. I think the fear that people are living in because of that sick person is awful. I hope this comes to an end soon. I taught for years in the inner city and we lived in fear all the time. One of our students was shot on the playground. A teacher was raped in the schools. Teachers were robbed and so were the children. It is unbelievable what some children go through on a daily basis in this country. I too pray that you and your fellow teachers, parents and students are safe and that the sniper is caught.
     

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