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I have just become *that* parent (again!). WWYD - whole class punishment

(23 Posts)
PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 20:55:56

Dd2 (in year 4) came out of school today and burst into tears. Apparently her whole class has lost all break time (morning and after lunch) tomorrow, as they will be sitting in, in silence, unless and until someone owns up to the wrongdoing. The whole class detention has been threatened to go on for as long as is necessary (there has been a long history of bullying in dd2's year, and I suspect that many ends of tethers have been reached).

Dd2 is distraught, and cannot process the fact that she knows it is not her fault, yet will be being punished. She does understand why, but is still struggling. She cannot understand why the culprit would allow the punishment to go ahead for everyone else.

She is also worried about the effect that no break time will have on her - she needs 'movement breaks' (her words) and fresh air to 'clear my head' between lessons. She is desperately worried that the threat of no break times until the end of term (Thursday) will happen.

I have emailed her form tutor, head of year, head of pastoral support and the senco to let them know the effect this has had (she is nominally in bed, but sleep is a long way off yet), especially coming on top of the many changes in timetable the last week of term brings.

I am going to be thought of as precious, aren't I? I don't make a habit (this is the first time) of emailing teachers about the punishments they hand out (and I did say I supported a zero tolerance policy towards spiteful bullying) but she is going over and over this, and is very upset.

zzzzz Mon 04-Jul-16 21:11:56

It's appropriate for you to tell them of the deeper impact this is having on your Dd. Stress to her that she is helping someone else learn to be better and while it isn't easy it is important that we all support each other's development.
The staff should be able to give her a "job" that gets her moving during the day at regular intervals. Traditional would be running the register back to reception or collecting balls for PE staff.

PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 21:21:32

Thanks zzzzz.

We have talked at length about it all, and she does understand why it is being done (it's a useful mirror with what is going on within her smaller friendship group at the moment - the act today was a targeted, spiteful one, much like what happened to her at her school residential; we have talked a lot about how her teacher is probably more upset about the lies than the original act, and how the other child must feel, not knowing who it was and not being able to trust or feel safe, etc.)

She will be ok for movement breaks - it's the last week of term, and the timetable is out of the window, with lots of extra stuff going on meaning movement round the school. But she cannot process that either in her current state.

Convenientflush Mon 04-Jul-16 21:24:30

Urgh. Whole class punishments really piss me off, it's just lazy teaching IMO. The same goes for telling the whole class off for the behaviour of a few. This sort of thing really upsets my DD too, also Y4. There's been a number of times when she come out of school an hysterical mess because of this sort of thing.

I would be complaining too.

zzzzz Mon 04-Jul-16 21:28:30

Strangely I really don't mind whole class punishments blush. I know this is deeply unacceptable now but IMO it really is a case of supporting people to do good and take responsibility for their actions. I don't mind my child being part of that. Criminal/unpleasant/nasty behaviour impact the whole of society, I would like my children to play a part in actively supporting good community behaviours.

PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 21:53:15

I do agree that whole class punishments are lazy teaching. It isn't on to punish those who had no part in a misdemeanour, and it is unacceptable to aid pupils in making a scapegoat out of the perpetrator (I expect there are more than a few who know who did it - children generally do know - suffice to say dd2 doesn't. She never has a bloody clue what is going on, tbh).

I am all for supporting people to take responsibility, but I don't think exerting huge pressure via their peers is the way to do it.

Having said that, I don't think I would mind so much if the punishment wasn't so open ended. Dd2 is adamant that all break time between now and the end of term will be sacrificed if the culprit doesn't speak up. That's a lot of sitting still in silence. And it signals to me teachers are at a loss as to how to take this forward - what if the culprit just sits it out? It's the end of term on Thursday, the punishment can hardly be carried over. So no resolution for the victim, and no consequence for the culprit, beyond being unpopular with peers, which also wouldn't carry over in all reality.

There has been a persistent bullying problem in dd2's year for a long time now. Is is not the time (given the end of term looming) nor the method to deal with it, imo.

zzzzz Mon 04-Jul-16 22:15:57

I'm not sure what the "crime" is but surely if it is SO bad that it can be described in the way you do it is OUTRAGEOUS that there are children that know who did whatever it is and do nothing shock

Do you not think that the children should take responsibility for how people behave in their class? confused

MeirAya Mon 04-Jul-16 22:31:30

I'm pretty harsh clear with my dc regarding the realities of school life

Rule 1) The teachers rule at school, they can give any punishment, for any reason, unless it breaks a law.

Rule 2) Don't expect fairness-you're bottom of the pile, end of story

Rule 3) Other dc will get away with massive stuff, you may get in trouble for trivia. See rules 1 & 2

MeirAya Mon 04-Jul-16 22:34:30

I'm also pretty nonchalant about my dc missing a few days at the end of term in situations like this.

Schools 'ought' to accommodate their SEN & make 'Reasonable adjustments' for their disabilities. But mostly, they won't. These days i can't be ar*ed fighting pointless battles I may not win.

PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 22:34:36

It isn't SO bad, in many eyes. I don't like it, as a behaviour, and it is mean and apparently personally motivated (personal property being destroyed), but not (unless dd2 has missed a whole chunk of what is going on - perfectly possible) 'worth' a whole class punishment which may well carry on for many days.

Which is why it is mystifying as to why the teacher has gone to these lengths - signalling to me it is end of tether stuff, is other stuff has been tried, but the behaviours are not diminishing. And that is never a good place to be.

Maybe part of the motivation is to get other children speaking up - there has been a lot of bad behaviour going on for years.

I don't think that the responsibility for how other children behave should be laid at a child's door, no. Especially not when there is a long persisting bullying issue, which the staff seem unable to handle.

There are children who seemingly get away with an awful lot of bad behaviour, and there are children very reluctant to raise their head above the parapet. I don't think, given the far reach of the volatile social situation, that using a sledgehammer to crack a nut is the right approach. It is likely that the child involved will not speak up, and it is equally likely that the children who know (if they exist - it was an assumption on my part, as school grapevines tend to be accurate ime) will not speak up for fear of being next in line to be targeted, as they will have seen similar happen over the years

Convenientflush Mon 04-Jul-16 22:39:12

I don't think children should be responsible for the behaviour of others, no.

Especially when there is unchecked bullying going on, and the adults in charge don't seem to have any control over the situation (and that's what this sounds like).

No child with any sense is going to put themselves next in the firing line of the bullies. And it's not fair to ask them to do so.

The adults need to man up in this situation. The buck stops with them when it comes to pupil behaviour.

PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 22:43:03

Oh, I haven't suggested to dd2 in any way that she should not be part of the punishment. She asked if I cou,d email her teacher to explain she wasn't part of it, and ask for a reprieve, but she was told (as always) that I can't interfere with how the teacher runs his class.

I have focussed on ways she may feel better about it, and I also told her I would ask what would happen about her music lesson (because otherwise dd2 wou,d fret she was wrong there too, for not going as it falls during break time). We have also talked through why, and once more highlighted that it is important to own up/speak up.

I agree there will be little adjustment considered or made. I wish I cou,d take her out of school, but that is a non starter - she has a concert tomorrow during he school day, has class swap on Wednesday so finds out new class/sees new teacher (essential for settling well next term) and then Thursday is sports day (I so wish I cou,d skip that, but she will not allow it as otherwise she is letting down her House hmm)

zzzzz Mon 04-Jul-16 22:46:21

I think you underestimate your children. I really don't understand wanting to make your child a "passenger" in their life experience. I really think we should all be active in creating the environment we live in.

Ineedmorepatience Mon 04-Jul-16 22:47:25

Whole class punishments or the threat of them used to make Dd3 too anxious to attend school! She just couldnt cope with it ever! The schools she was at all knew that, did it stop them dishing them out or threatening them?? No it didnt!

Sorry OP they have no idea how upsetting whole class punishment is for some children!!

zzzzz Mon 04-Jul-16 22:52:36

I don't think it is reasonable for a child it induces that level of anxiety in and to be honest for one of mine, I'm not sure he could understand the rationale, so it would be pointless, but generally I like children placed firmly in control of the social structure they live in.

RipeningApples Mon 04-Jul-16 22:54:18

Why haven't they dealt with the bullying?

PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 22:57:02

Zzzzz, I don't underestimate dd2 at all.

There was a huge blow up at school a couple of months back, and it turned out that she knew something material to what had happened. She was uncomfortable with the knowledge (pupils had been asked to own up, none had done so) and could not accept that the perpetrator was going to get away with it, but also did t want to be the whistleblower (she has thus far thankfully not been on any of the bullies' radars). We talked it over, but ultimately, given the possible consequences, I had to leave it to her to decide what to do. She came up with a good solution, and proceeded to impart her knowledge.

She is in no way a passenger in her life experience. She is, however, often confused by a lot of what goes on. She has enough to deal with without being responsible for how other children behave. I am comfortable that her moral compass is functioning ok, and I would hope she would encourage her friends to speak up if they were involved. We have spoken a lot recently about Not Standing By, as you may end up tacitly condoni g what is going on, but as I said before she never has a clue what is going on, so cannot be held respite so lie for not speaking up.

PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 22:58:49

Ripening - that's the million dollar question.

No idea.

But partly, that is what prompted me to email - I did say that I didn't find it acceptable to punish the whole class for what I essentially the failure of the staff to deal with long term persistent bullying.

PandasRock Mon 04-Jul-16 22:59:29

Grr, autocorrect. *cannot be held responsible.

zzzzz Mon 04-Jul-16 23:48:16

Sorry I wasn't suggesting you underestimate her Panda I was responding to convenient s post about it being unfair to ask children to be part of helping others to behave appropriately.

Convenientflush Tue 05-Jul-16 00:21:57

I don't see how sitting in a classroom every breaktime for the foreseeable future is teaching children to help others behave appropriately zzzzz

It fact it is likely to be counter intuitive in that it demoralises children, after all if they are being punished for no reason, where's the incentive to be well behaved?

There are better ways of dealing with this.

I'm absolutely sure that the school's behaviour policy doesn't involve whole class punishments- in fact I'll put my money on no school in the country having whole class punishments in their behaviour policy. There's a reason for this.

youarenotkiddingme Tue 05-Jul-16 06:21:40

I'm not totally against whole class punishments. I think there is a time and a place for this.

However i believe by punishing whole class then it allows the perpetrator to hide further against owning up - why would they when they know it's can be shared consequences and they don't have to take personal responsibility?

I think sharing your Dds concerns makes you a good parent not that parent. I've often had DS in same state re not understanding - especially when he's been raised with the moral compass that you face yiur mistakes, acceot consequences and learn a better way for next time. He doesn't understand why anyone else wouldnt follow this.

And TBH whole class punishments don't reflect RL.

zzzzz Tue 05-Jul-16 10:03:48

I think whole class punishments DO reflect real life. My perception is that the concept that only the perp is damaged/feels the repercussions of his behaviour is so far from real life that it is unhelpful.

They are not being punished for no reason. They are feeling the consequences of sheltering a bully (I'm guessing that's the situation). Obviously it serves no purpose if that isn't explained and they aren't helped to see how to remedy the situation, so yes just sitting there for the rest of their lives isn't going to help, but then that ISN'T what I was saying was ideal. confused

Regardless of my thoughts on what education is about and how to achieve it, I do think OP highlighting how it effects her child is important, because it may not be apparent and so she isn't experiencing the same repercussions as the others.

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