Well, this was an interesting story. You can read the whole thing here.
Fourth-graders who failed to achieve reading goals had their faces scribbled on with permanent marker by other students last week at Declo Elementary School — under the supervision of their teacher.
Seriously? It never occurred to this teacher with six years of classroom experience that this situation might spark a controversy?
(The teacher) allowed the students to choose their own incentive to meet the reading goal. The class chose to have students who did not meet the goal either stay inside at recess until the goal was met, or have their faces written on by their classmates who met their goals.
The teacher has never read Lord of the Flies? As the novel demonstrates, leaving children in charge of determining and administering punishment can result in some rather negative consequences.
"Although all the students in the class agreed to the incentive, once it occurred it was not so well received," the district superintendent said.
No sh*t, Sherlock. Ten-year olds (fourth graders) haven’t mastered the concept of action and consequences. This is one of the reasons we don’t allow them to drive a car, vote, or drink alcohol. So, it would seem this reaction should have been anticipated by the person who is supposed to understand how the 10 year-old brain works. That person being, of course, the teacher!
…(T)he children had their faces marked on in the morning. They had to leave it on all day, but were told to wash it off before they went home.
Congratulations. You’ve now given the impression (whether it’s true or not) that parents weren’t supposed to know about the punishment.
Parents also said, “the marker was hard to wash off.” - Could that be due to the fact that the teacher allowed students to use permanent markers??? Another brilliant move in the crapfest that was unfolding in the classroom that day.
Since the writing was difficult to wash off, parents said, “(c)hildren who rode a bus home with junior high and high school students then suffered further humiliation.” - I’m sure this caught the teacher by surprise. I mean everybody knows that junior high and high school students are angels - especially on a school bus. Just ask grandmother and bus monitor, Karen Klein, right?
As you can tell from the tone of my post, I think this face-writing punishment was a terrible idea. Some parents thought it was essentially “teacher-approved bullying”. I would say that if it wasn’t out-right bullying, it certainly skirts the boundary of bullying. But, even more importantly, it shows an incredible lack of judgment on the part of a teacher (one with six years experience) who should know better.
What do you think? Are parents overreacting? Was the punishment appropriate? Or, did the teacher exercise terrible judgment? Most importantly, would you want your child in this teacher’s classroom?