View Full Version : School Punishments


eds2014
12-10-13, 06:15 PM
We are trying to understand whether or not the punishments at our 6 year old son's school is reasonable and effective. The history is something like this:

- last year (kindergarten) we got about four calls over the first few weeks of school that our son was pushing or hitting kids that pushed in front of him in line.

- We had our son assessed and was found to have significant ADD and ODD

- He now has an IEP in place

- there was another situation where someone push in front of him and he pushed back - his punishment was to sit in the principals office for a week

- He started a rewards based program and medicine at a very small dose with a good, but far from perfect outcome

- there were really no other major issues that year

- This year (1st gr) he was in trouble first because a girl was antagonizing him (who the teacher says antagonizes all of the ADD boys) and he drew a picture of her with blood

- He was talked to about this and his pictures no longer are like this

- He was in the bathroom and a boy (who seems to get in trouble for hitting others) and he were in a fight - no adults witnessed this - both boys claimed the other started it

- Starting a day later he was kept in at recess for a week

- The girl who antagonizes ADD boys was doing something my son didn't like (it isn't clear what it was) and my son told a teacher who didn't act on the complaint - he then blurted out that he would kill her and now he is in trouble again with the prospect of taking away play time


I am frustrated that the general response is to take away the time where he can run off energy. Also, to the best of our knowledge, he has been reactive to others aggressions. While we don't think that it is ok to say things like this, it is coming from a boy who has trouble with impulse control, but is still holding back from hitting. I also feel that the school would not treat a similar comment from a girl the same.

It seems like he is on the list of problem students (he is in many ways) and because of this attention from faculty, he is more frustrated causing it to be harder to control impulses which in turn will cause more problems, frustration, and so on.

Are there any suggestions as to what we should do? Am I just being an overprotective parent? Thanks for your ideas.

zette93
12-10-13, 07:30 PM
A week of punishment seems excessive for a K or first grader.

Since he has an IEP in place, I would request a meeting to address the issues he is getting in trouble for and put in writing how the school is going to prevent incidents, reward good behavior, respond to aggression. If you can afford it, a good advocate can help a lot with this. You might ask for a Functional Behavior Analysis to be done by the school psychologist, or involve someone trained in ABA (applied behavioral analysis).

You might also start looking around for Plan B -- is there another school, perhaps with smaller classes, that might be suitable for him and feasible for your financial situation?

angora
12-10-13, 08:41 PM
Taking away recess is not an appropriate or productive punishment.

If you google adhd and recess, you can come up with a number of good authoritative sources to print or quote from. Use them to convince the school to find a more effective way to deal with the situation.

sarahsweets
12-11-13, 05:39 AM
I get sick of schools thinking that taking away the only time kids have to run off steam at school to "teach them a lesson". The teacher wouldnt like it if she had to miss her lunch hour because she did something wrong at work.

Corina86
12-11-13, 06:18 AM
I'm more worried about your son's violent outbursts: in first grade (6 years old?!) to draw a picture of somebody with blood and threaten to kill that person?! This is waaay more serious in my opinion. We were all teased and we all got into fights (I got into LOTS of fights. even though I'm a girl) but the though of killing someone was... well, I never thought about it until I was way older. Even so I never threatened a person to kill him/her. You should really take your son to therapy and make sure he's not exposed to violence by his friends or on the TV, in video games, on the Internet etc.

eds2014
12-11-13, 10:47 AM
Thanks for your insights into this. I have followed some suggestions that you have given. I have sent some examples of research regarding recess and asked that the facts that children are more likely to act inappropriately if they are not given recess and that this incident happened immediately after a week without recess. Also, what happened yesterday seems to be that the girl kicked something into my son and when he talked to the teacher he was ignored.

Knowing what are the correct actions are difficult for him. He also has gotten lectured for showing that he likes his friends by hugging them. Girls do not get in trouble for hugging each other. As far as the violent outbursts go, he doesn't know what society expects of him as he is still learning and is obsessed with fairness. The fact that he is a six year old is exactly my point. He really doesn't understand what is expected.

I would have to disagree that he is violent. He is far from that. He is really upset when he is the object of aggression. He has hit at times in the past, but has learned to restrain himself.

He is also a boy and a boy with ADHD/ODD. It seems unrealistic to make sure that he is "not exposed to violence by his friends," etc.. He has limited screen time which he must earn by gaining a specific number of positive actions, homework, and chores. He is only allowed to have age appropriate screen time.

Learning about how some people fight for what is right is as old as time, whether it be about how Moses fought for his people, knights fought for justice, George Washington fought the British, or Superman fights villains. Fighting for fairness and "what is right" is a normal fantasy for children and I think especially so for boys. While we working on multiple fronts to help him understand what is the correct way to act, we don't accept his actions. On the other hand, it is hard for us to explain to him why this girl has been treated differently than him and that she is allowed to taunt him over the past several months when in most cases he has managed to control his impulses.

It seems like boys and especially overactive boys lives are complicated because schools are run by mostly orderly women who try to fix them. There is definitely a empathy gap at my sons school with the boys. It seems like many of the faculty are not able to relate to boys and have said as much.

Again I found all of your comments helpful and insightful. Thank you.

Lunacie
12-11-13, 12:17 PM
I'm more worried about your son's violent outbursts: in first grade (6 years old?!) to draw a picture of somebody with blood and threaten to kill that person?! This is waaay more serious in my opinion. We were all teased and we all got into fights (I got into LOTS of fights. even though I'm a girl) but the though of killing someone was... well, I never thought about it until I was way older. Even so I never threatened a person to kill him/her. You should really take your son to therapy and make sure he's not exposed to violence by his friends or on the TV, in video games, on the Internet etc.

Following a very difficult year in 4th grade (really horrible teacher and sexual
molestation by a neighbor boy) my granddaughter was making statements
like bringing a gun to school and killing her teacher, or having her mom come
to school and kill the teacher. She always explained that the other students
got out safely - as they were not part of the problem.

In the OP's situation, her son is being bullied by other children and the teacher
is doing nothing to help him. I think his reaction is perfectly normal given the
situation. If the teacher won't intervene on his behalf, the OP needs to talk to
the school counselor, the principal, and on up the chain until they sit down
and work on a reasonable IEP that will help her son instead of punishing him.


Adding: we did take my granddaughter to therapy - it was very helpful. But
the root of the problem was not her reaction, it was the punishment given
by the teacher rather than support and a good IEP.

eds2014
12-11-13, 01:10 PM
What a sad situation for your granddaughter. It seems like she only wanted a way out of her bad situation. I am so sorry to hear about these types of knee jerk reactions that schools have. It seems to only worsen the feeling of a lack of power to change the bad situation that they are in.

I understand schools want to be safe, but we are all given intuition which is the tool we use to determine intent and possibility when children make these comments. In my sons case all he wants is to not be the object of other's aggression, but the school doesn't seem to help him out, but instead blames him when he loses patience.