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School Discipline

(56 Posts)
WedgiesMum Mon 12-Jul-04 18:02:03

Just going to drop this one in to see what response I get. Am quickly posting now at work and won't get back to it until this evening so please don't be offended if i don't reply until later.

At my DS's school if they do anything considered naughty a child will receive a 'naughty card'. This is then held by the Head until Friday assembly when their names are read out and they have to stand up in front of everyone. They then lose their playtime on Friday as well (and could possibly have had some other loss of priviledges when they committed the misdemeanor). They also have a certificate system whereby the 'best' child in each class gets a certificate in the same assembly and is praised by everyone.

I am not entirely comfortable with this and would seek your views. I am not sure whether I am so uncomfortable because DS has had a few cards and therefore the humilation in assembly, or if I am unhappy about it anyway (I rather think the latter), but am feeling sensitive about my reaction to things at the moment with school as I am not happy with quite a few of the ways in which DS is treated. Everyone and their parents know who has had a card - surely this is not a good thing??? Or am I just being over sensitive.

Thanks in advance for any advice/opinions.


Hulababy Mon 12-Jul-04 18:08:13

As you already know WM I find this system terrible, especially the assembly humiliation. We don't go that far at the secondary school I teach at - and, as i am sure you are aware, there are some huge behaviour issues there. Pupils should not be humiliated in this way - it is so wronmg. And at age 5 I find it sdisgusting

I think the school needs to focus on prasing the good behvious of ALL their pupils, and to remove this form of punishment. It is over the top and excessive - 3 punishments for one misbehaviour!!! And, as we all know, punishments for this age should happen straight away, not ina few days when the child may have forgotton about it. It is just not necessary.

Argh - making me feel all cross about it again You know how I feel anyway, but feel free to chat with me (text, e-mail, Messenger, phone, whatever) about it any time.

And don't forget - your DS is fantastic lad with so many positives. Everyone at DD's party thought he was lovely, and he IS!

StickyNote Mon 12-Jul-04 18:13:14

Agree with Hulababy - DS is also 5 and if they're REALLY naughty they get sent to the Headteacher's office, but that's it. Friday assembly is all about rewarding the week's good work and behaviour, all really positive.

hmb Mon 12-Jul-04 18:14:12

I think that there is merit to a 'naughty card', but NOT used in this way. I think that te public humiliation is counterproductive. A card sent home to inform the parents of problems would, I think, be helpful for the parents and would give the child a strong signal that their behaviour has been inaproriate.

I think that the public praise is a very good idea as long as the awards are given for a range of areas and not just the 'best/neatest' work etc. Eg give it for most improved behaviour, most helpful student etc.

StickyNote Mon 12-Jul-04 18:14:20

I would feel very uncomfortable about him being humiliated in front of the whole school aged 5 - in fact, makes me feel really sad for your ds

LHP Mon 12-Jul-04 18:16:05

This sounds to me like a lot of punishments! 1) child given card. 2) child looses playtime 3) Child humiliated in assembly. OTOH, agree that praising and rewarding the "good" chn from the rooftops is a good thing. I work as a supply teacher (primary)atm, and have seen lots of these "merit certificate" type assemblies whereby good work and behaviour is shared and celebrated, and I think they work really well and give everyone a friday lift. But i really think the punishment side of it should be kept private between child/teacher/parent involved. Punish once then forgive and move on. What do DS's friends' parents think?

marialuisa Mon 12-Jul-04 18:16:18

No, I think that's horrible. DD's school makes use of a "naughty step" or chair within the classroom and playground but the punishment is instant. Can't believe that sort of ritual humiliation is allowed.

Think the good behaviour thing is nice, but again. not sure that saying one child is "the best" is appropriate.

StickyNote Mon 12-Jul-04 18:20:54

In DS's school it's for the "most improved" work or behaviour for that week i.e. everyone has an equal chance.

Janh Mon 12-Jul-04 19:21:30

This makes me fume too!

Apart from anything else, some children are naturally much "gooder" than others. "Naughty" children who manage to be less naughty than usual, even if still quite naughty, deserve credit for that. (Children who underachieve in *academic* areas and manage to improve their performance usually have a big fuss made of them, even if their results are still nowhere near those of the high achievers.)

This doesn't seem to be applied to behaviour as a rule. I realise it's harder to measure but still...I had a conversation along these lines once with a very experienced teacher and her attitude was "well they just should behave better, why should they be rewarded for it?"

(Personal experience here, can you tell? )

roisin Mon 12-Jul-04 19:31:28

Awful, awful, awful.... I do not think this would work as well for most children than a pure reward system. And would be a definite negative influence on others ... like my ds1. Any behaviour-management stuff we do with him has to be presented as rewards for good behaviour, rather than punishment/withdrawal of privileges for bad behaviour ... because the latter just doesn't work.

School have this approach as well. An ethos of positive praise pervades the entire school. For example in term1 in reception they clearly had a few behavioural problems within the class. They could have had a 'naughty card', and children with a naughty card missed a Friday afternoon playtime. INSTEAD what they did was set up a train chart with pictures of all the children. If they had an OK day they moved on a stop each day. If they reached the playground stop by the end of the week they got an EXTRA playtime. So the net result is reward for good behaviour, rather than punishment for bad behaviour. Although the end scenario (who is in, who is out at playtime) is the same.

To a rational/logical adult the result is the same, but to a lot of children the effect is completely different.

I struggle to motivate ds2 with stickers/bribes/rewards/threats ... anything. But ds1 will do anything for a sticker, and is highly motivated by this sort of approach.

Sorry I've gone on a bit, but I do feel quite strongly that this is a bad approach on the part of the school, and I know it would work very badly for my eldest.


PS Our mutual friend asked after you yesterday, and was delighted to hear about your job.

vict17 Mon 12-Jul-04 19:33:30

I agree that this is awful. Also the fact that your ds has had a few cards shows that the punishment doesn't even work!

agy Mon 12-Jul-04 19:33:53

OMG! They shouldn't be doing this to five year olds! A naughty deed done on a Monday would probably be forgotten by the child by Friday. Can imagine them standing there red-faced, trying to remember what they did wrong! Be fine in secondary schools though. Those little b*****s deserve all they get! (but most often don't get)

Blu Mon 12-Jul-04 19:37:44

Absolutely horrible. And the child has to worry all week about having card read out on the Friday. I think this kind of system sets a really bad example to children too - that it's ok to focus on the negative, publicly humiliate people, stigmatise people for a whole week. TERRIBLE.

littlemissbossy Mon 12-Jul-04 19:38:55

Just read this thread ... I'm speechless - and that's very unusual for me! Public humiliation at any age is disgusting, but with children it is, quite frankly, an outrage!! Imagine the psychological effect that this could have not only on your ds, but any of the children in his school. I would certainly not be happy with any of my children enduring that kind of behaviour. No you are most certainly not being over sensitive, I too am appalled!!!
Personally, I would speak/write to the Board of Governors at the school about this.

littlemissbossy Mon 12-Jul-04 19:40:22

Alternatively, print out this thread and send it to them anonymously!!!

roisin Mon 12-Jul-04 19:41:59

I am really raging about this now WM! I've just pulled out from my files our school's leaflets on 'code of conduct', 'behaviour and discipline' and 'positive praise' and these policies really are in place in our school and really do work ... even with difficult cases, (as you know I know from personal experience). If I went to see our Head tomorrow and told her what your school is doing in Friday assembly, she would have a fit. No question about it. I'm almost in tears writing this it has made me so angry.

StickyNote Mon 12-Jul-04 19:44:23

Janh, DS's school are very careful to praise ANY improvements in behaviour i.e. if X smashed up the classroom last week but doesn't this week, that's an improvement IYSWIM, so that everyone REALLY gets a chance, not just the goody two shoes.

binkie Mon 12-Jul-04 20:21:23

WM, I too think this is wrong and agree with all of the criticisms of it below. Would add another two: I can see the system driving a permanent wedge between the "good" children and the "naughty" ones, when what you really want at this age is for all of the children to have a chance to get comfortable with all of the others; and - speaking from experience, where we've had to be careful with ds - I can see a child who's had a few of these ritual humiliations starting to internalise it, believe he's innately bad, and (if that isn't bad enough) then stop even trying to behave.

lars Mon 12-Jul-04 20:52:03

Hi wedgiesmum, Think this system is awful and feel its unfair to humilate a child, as you know my ds would be up there every week and no doubt having another tantrum receiving the card.

I'm not sure this is actually acceptable and under the children's human right's act this would be seen as total humilation infront of others. So not sure if they can actually do this as breaks that act.( don't mean to sound all politically correct but this is a bit much!)

I think most school would no doubt go for the praising method. Also this is unfair as like my ds going through assessments, etc they are labelling a child and isolating them at the same time when their naughtiness might be more medical.
I would have very clear concerns about this. How do the other parents feel about this?

BTW i hope all is well with you and ds. larsxx

ScummyMummy Mon 12-Jul-04 22:03:47

Absolutely disgraceful. I really am disgusted that this sort of crap goes on in a 21st century primary school. Is there any chance at all of changing his school, Wedgiesmum?

WedgiesMum Mon 12-Jul-04 23:17:49

Thank you everyone for your overwhelming response. I think I knew that it was the principle as applied to everyone that I was unhappy with rather than just a negative reaction to what is happening to DS. I am now feeling really tearful about it all

He has received another card today for slapping another child - he had difficulty telling his teacher why at the time but at home he says it is because this child swore at him and punched him in the mouth. When he gets frustrated or upset he has trouble articulating what is wrong until things have calmed down (can take over an hour until he feels in control enough of himself to analyse what happened) and they only gave him a few minutes to come up with a reason, which he gave as 'I hit him because X is the naughtiest boy in the world' but couldn't explain any further until he got home to me.

He also nearly got another card for calling someone an idiot - now is this just me or is that completely bizarre?? I think he is starting to lose his self esteem too - he is badly over reacting to incidents at home and blaming himself for complete accidents and getting quite hysterical about it.

This all means I have to tackle this head on with school doesn't it? I have spoken to others who are not happy with the system so think I may have some support. Will try and speak to the Head tomorrow and his teacher. Would prefer not to have to move him as he is making friends and academically doing really well (gifted and talented in numeracy, literacy and possibly music), although he has some behavioural issues to do with low frustration tolerance and explosive behaviour which I don't feel are being handled well enough, but may have to reassess if I don't think I am getting anywhere.

Thank you all SOOOO much, much appreciated support.


Yorkiegirl Mon 12-Jul-04 23:24:57

Message withdrawn

Yorkiegirl Mon 12-Jul-04 23:25:34

Message withdrawn

fisil Mon 12-Jul-04 23:27:32

I hadn't seen this earlier, but just to add to what everyone else is saying - it does seem like a particularly counter-productive system. Apart from anything else, it is labeling children as naughty, rather than their behaviour. Not exactly good grounds to build good behaviour on.

If a class is slow to settle I do one of two things. Occassionally (some days are like that) I will ask them al the be quiet and stand sternly at the front, arms folded until they are all silent. But my favourite technique is to draw on the board and then list underneath the names of students doing the right thing. This works like a dream, however big and obnoxious the children are. Positive discipline is just the best! Naming and shaming doesn't work. I thought most people knew this, even id they occassionally get it wrong. But a whole policy ....

hercules Mon 12-Jul-04 23:27:58

havent read all of this but sounds barmy! What is the purpose of it?
Iiwy I'd get togeter with other parents and have a meeting with the head and insist it changes. Perhaps the school can then make the effort to deal with any problems rather than using ritual humiliation!

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