Should teachers be allowed to punish students? I think that punishment should be allowed. We all know that teachers have a tough job. They are typically dealing with 20 to 35 students in their class. Students WILL misbehave at some point. Even your perfect child. What should the teacher do when this happens? If they do nothing, then the other children may misbehave as well, because they saw no consequence for the bad behavior. What should the teacher do, if he/she doesn't know who is responsible for the infraction? Should they punish the entire class? Unfortunately, there are times when collateral damage will occur and this is one of them. Sometimes it's impossible for a teacher to know who committed an infraction, so if no one will confess, they must punish the entire class. If there are a few known bad children that misbehave, I don't think that the entire class should be punished.
All parents have developed their own forms of punishment for their children. Some parents don't believe in punishing their children. When your child enters school, the teacher is now issuing the punishments and it doesn't matter what your punishment philosophy is. Most schools banned corporal punishment years ago, so most parents don't have to worry about a teacher hitting their child.
When I was growing up, I had the gift of gab. I couldn't stop talking in school. I was made to write "lines". I had to write "I will not talk in class" 100 times. One of my teachers gave a punishment that was brutal. She made me make a "red chair". I have no idea where this term came from because it doesn't make sense. A red chair is when you squat with your knees together and extend your arms out in front of you. I would be forced to be in this position for 15-20 minutes. Thank you Mrs. Burke-Aldersen for my nice thighs and calf muscles. If the class was being punished, our punishment was no recess.
Let's fast forward to today. The new punishment for the class is "Silent Lunch". It's self explanatory, the students are not allowed to talk during their lunch period. Some parents are hot mad about it. I can't help but chuckle a bit. Didn't these parents ever give their child a time out? This is actually better than getting a time out because you can eat instead of just sitting by yourself quietly. The canceling of recess still exists today. However, parents are threatening lawsuits because they say that it is in violation of the school policy. Apparently, in some school districts, no child can be denied their (God given) right to recess. Recently, I heard about a teacher who made the students run laps outside during recess because the class misbehaved. Some parents were really upset about that as well. The other punishments being handed out by teachers include, yelling, making children sit in the front of the class, taking away treats and revoking non-uniform day privileges.
I don't have a problem with teachers punishing students, as long as it's a fair punishment. Punishment should always be age appropriate. The classrooms would be complete chaos if there were no consequences for bad behavior. I think that teachers should consider giving extra school work as a punishment. Maybe the children should be required to write an essay about respect, common courtesy, good behavior, punishment, peer pressure or anything else that could make them think about why the punishment needed to be issued.
No matter what stage you are in your life, there are consequences for your actions and school is no exception. Teachers need to be able to set boundaries in their classrooms. A classroom without boundaries and consequences is a great disservice to every student in that class. If you are a parent that believes that teachers should not be allowed to punish students, maybe you should consider homeschooling your child. When your child misbehaves in school, he/she is cheating the other children out of their education because the teacher is not teaching when he/she dealing with behavioral issues.
What are some punishments (if any) that you think are acceptable for a teacher to administer?
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Is discipline a problem in your school? What do teachers do when pupils behave badly in your country? A Scottish teenager had very strong opinions about discipline at her school. Read on to find out more.
What is bad behaviour?
UK schools are allowed to discipline pupils who behave badly in various ways. But what exactly is bad behaviour? The following is a list of serious and not-so-serious types of bad behaviour seen by a teacher in a London secondary school.
- Playing truant
- Smoking, swearing, hitting, kissing, running, stealing
- Not doing homework
- Cheating in exams (copying from secret notes or another pupil)
- Calling a teacher or another pupil bad names (bullying)
- Not listening or not paying attention in lessons
- Wearing unsuitable clothes for school.
Punishments in UK schools
It is illegal for schools to use physical punishments like hitting a student. Here are some of the ways that UK school children can be punished.
- Exclusion: a pupil is excluded from the school and cannot come back. The pupil has to find a new school or a different method of education (home tutor, special centre for difficult pupils).
- Suspension: when a pupil is suspended they cannot enter the building or attend lessons until the school has a meeting about their case. Suspension can last from 1 to 45 days in a school term. The school usually gives work to do at home with a tutor (special teacher).
- Detention: a pupil is detained. This means he or she is asked to stay at school at the end of the school day. The pupil must work for 30 minutes or an hour more before they are allowed to leave the school.
- Lines: a pupil has to write a sentence many times (100 times) on a sheet of paper: An example sentence: I must not shout in class. This punishment is sometimes given during detention too.
Freya MacDonald, a 15-year-old pupil from Scotland, made the news in the UK when she refused to accept her school’s punishment. Freya’s family say that she was given detention many times for trivial things such as drinking fizzy drinks in class and coming into school through a fire door. After her secondary school gave her detention for the eleventh time, she went to a lawyer and took legal action against the school. The teenager said that it is not legal to keep a pupil in the school building if the student does not want to be there because Scottish law says that it is illegal to detain children against their will.
According to Scottish law every child has the right to an education. Freya says that repeated detentions disrupted her education and made it difficult for her to learn. She refused to return to school until the school respected her civil rights. She wants the headmaster and her teachers to sign a letter to promise they will respect her rights.
Hundreds of schools in Scotland were told not to use detention as a punishment because of Freya’s legal action.
Many schools in the UK now give parents a home/school contract. This is a contract explaining the school discipline and rules. Parents must sign this document and agree that they accept the school’s rules. They are responsible for their child’s behaviour and must respect the discipline methods used in the school.