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Parents are upset with a teacher's odd punishment

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Parents' claws out after teachers' odd form of discipline

Updated 12:26 a.m., Friday, May 4, 2012

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  • Portrait of some of the Junction elementary school fifth grade students that were told to crawl down the school's track at Eagle Stadium and meow like cats Sheyenne Riojas, 11, (front row from left), Alicia Molina, 11, Lexi Rodriquez, 10, Julian Sauceda, 11, Daniel Hernandez, 10,  (back row from left) Madison Phillips, 11, Lilly Hickenbottom, 11, Ashlynn Pharris, 11, Sierra Carlile, 13, Simon Avila, 12, and Benny Sauceda, 11, Thursday May 3, 2012 in Junction, Tx. Photo: EDWARD A. ORNELAS, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS / © SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS (NFS)

    Portrait of some of the Junction elementary school fifth grade students that were told to crawl down the school's track at Eagle Stadium and meow like cats Sheyenne Riojas, 11, (front row from left), Alicia Molina, 11, Lexi Rodriquez, 10, Julian Sauceda, 11, Daniel Hernandez, 10, (back row from left) Madison Phillips, 11, Lilly Hickenbottom, 11, Ashlynn Pharris, 11, Sierra Carlile, 13, Simon Avila, 12, and Benny Sauceda, 11, Thursday May 3, 2012 in Junction, Tx.

    Photo: EDWARD A. ORNELAS, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS / © SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS (NFS)

 

About all that is certain regarding the bizarre situation with fifth-graders in Junction is that when the teacher tells you to hush, responding with meows isn't the brightest idea.

And maybe forcing the entire fifth-grade class to crawl down the school's track, meowing as they went along, wasn't a well-thought-out disciplinary response.

Junction, a quiet town of 2,700 about 120 miles west of San Antonio, is best known for its beautiful rivers and its annual ranch rodeo. But in the wake of the Wednesday showdown at the elementary school, it's getting a different sort of attention.

Upset Junction parents are venting on Facebook, the city police have opened an investigation and the school administration is in full emergency mode, taking complaints from parents and calls from out-of-town reporters.

And the Texas Rangers are being called in to sort it all out.

“There's really nothing I can tell you at this point except that we are doing a full investigation,” Superintendent Renee Schulze said.

Some parents, however, are very willing to talk.

“Our kids came home with scraped knees and hands. It was 90-something degrees and the track was hot, with a lot of rocks,” said Marybel Anguiano, whose son Francisco was involved and didn't go to school Thursday.

Another mother, Liz Molina, said her fifth-grade daughter, Alicia, won't be going back to school for the rest of the year.

“She's upset. She can't trust the teachers. I understand the teachers made a poor decision, but our kids trusted them,” she said.

Molina said she is also withdrawing her other three children from the public school district and will home-school them for the remainder of the school year.

“We're a pretty close-knit family and they're taking this very personally. I'm afraid they'll go to school and lash out,” she said.

According to the account given to Molina by her daughter and confirmed by other sources, some of the fifth-graders were being loud and rowdy in the halls Wednesday. In response to warnings from their teachers, some of the students responded by meowing, she said.

Molina said she understands four teachers and about 50 kids were involved. But what began as a plan to have the kids run a few laps on the school track to straighten them out apparently escalated into compulsory crawling and meowing, she said.

“They want to act like cats, they should be treated like cats, and meow,” was a remark she said her daughter attributed to one teacher. Afterward, she said, some kids visited the school nurse.

Lisa Carlile whose daughter Sierra aggravated a back problem by crawling, believes the teachers used bad judgment in punishing so many kids when only a few had been disrespectful.

“It's affecting everyone's lives, the teachers, the kids and the parents. I feel bad for them, because of whatever consequences it could lead to, but they shouldn't have done it,” she said of the teachers.

Junction Police Sgt. Edward House declined to comment beyond confirming police are looking into the matter. Attempts to contact the four teachers allegedly involved were not successful.

Molina, who visited with the superintendent Thursday morning, said Schulze appears to be taking the situation seriously.

“She's not defending the teachers. She said she was very sorry and she wasn't going to rest until it was completely taken care of,” Molina said.

by on May. 4, 2012 at 2:03 PM
Replies (201-209):
The_Doodle
by Member on May. 6, 2012 at 7:55 AM

....hehehehe. Really, the only way I would get mad would have been if I would have had to take them to the hospital for injuries (because really...scraped hands and knees aren't serious at all) or if they got heat stroke, which I'm assuming they didn't because I'm sure it would be in the article. I bet those kids won't meow at their teachers anymore.

Thelmama
by Bronze Member on May. 6, 2012 at 9:55 AM

My problem with this is not that they were punished.  I might not think it is totally fair the kids not guilty were punished, but I could deal with that and would help my kids deal with it. What I don't get is why any parent would be okay with a punishment that caused broken skin or bruising.  By definition IF a parent meted out such discipline and wounds of any kind were left, the child would be removed from the home and the parent would be charged with child abuse.  It isn't about being creative with punishment, it is doing a punishment that caused ANY child even a minor injury. 

If a mom came in here and posted they had done this to their child and their child had injuries, would the reaction be the same? I think not.  People would be up in arms they caused their child injury. Discipline of any kind should not cause injury.  Plain and simple. It isn't about coddling children or whether or not they deserved punishment, it is that discipline caused injury. By law that is abuse. 

LindaClement
by Thatwoman on May. 6, 2012 at 11:07 PM

So the children who didn't do anything get to crawl on the ground 'because the teachers have authority over them'?

I just don't see any difference between hitting someone sitting at the next table over from the guy being an ass, and punishing a child who happened to be in the same room with a brat.

How is it the rest of the class's responsibility to control the idiots? If the teacher can't manage it, how are the children expected to?

Quoting hollydaze1974:

Quoting LindaClement:




I read nothing about the teachers smacking all the children in the back of the head so your argument is moot. If you would to try to make me crawl on the ground because another person was disruptive, I'd laugh in your face because you have no authority over me as these teachers did. The story dudes not specify how often the class is disruptive. I have a feeling, this was frustration....again, odd punishment . BUT I still think the children who were actually the cause have been sent a MSG that they can be disrespectful and mom will save the day.
You can totally disagree with me without being disrespectful and make it personal as I was not one of the teachers in question.


turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on May. 6, 2012 at 11:11 PM

 damn parents need a wakeup call...I'd be happy that those parents wont be bringing their brats back...send them home a goodbye package with a smiley faced balloon. :-)

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on May. 6, 2012 at 11:15 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting Thelmama:

My problem with this is not that they were punished.  I might not think it is totally fair the kids not guilty were punished, but I could deal with that and would help my kids deal with it. What I don't get is why any parent would be okay with a punishment that caused broken skin or bruising.  By definition IF a parent meted out such discipline and wounds of any kind were left, the child would be removed from the home and the parent would be charged with child abuse.  It isn't about being creative with punishment, it is doing a punishment that caused ANY child even a minor injury. 

If a mom came in here and posted they had done this to their child and their child had injuries, would the reaction be the same? I think not.  People would be up in arms they caused their child injury. Discipline of any kind should not cause injury.  Plain and simple. It isn't about coddling children or whether or not they deserved punishment, it is that discipline caused injury. By law that is abuse. 

 good point :-)  I probably would have spoken to the teacher and ask her if she realized what injuries the kids were getting.  Scraps dont bother me and I would still be upset my kids had been that disrespectful that they were being punished and most probably told them they deserved it.  But if the injuries sustained were known as in the kids complaining of them and the teachers still told them to crawl...yeah I would of raised some fuss.

LexRi0709
by on May. 6, 2012 at 11:21 PM
While I would be upset at my child for not listening, that is no excuse to put a child on a school track and make them crawl. Especially when it is 90+ degrees outside. Kids get rowdy, and yes they occassionally need re-direction of energy, but making them crawl?. Maybe if it had been in the gym, but no excuse for on the track. I think the teachers involved should be suspended for their actions.
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Thelmama
by Bronze Member on May. 7, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I would think they as teachers, would have the common sense to know a track in 90 degree weather couild lead to injury.  Or so one would think lol. That being said, had my child been disrespectful, they would not be doing it again. But I would be very angry if a punishment caused injury.  In any case, I think the kids needed discipline, but their method with the heat factored in and such was where there thinking went wrong.  I don't know how they couldn't know it would cause injury.  But you bet your bottom dollar, LOL, my kids would not disrespect a teacher like that again.  

Quoting turtle68:

 

Quoting Thelmama:

My problem with this is not that they were punished.  I might not think it is totally fair the kids not guilty were punished, but I could deal with that and would help my kids deal with it. What I don't get is why any parent would be okay with a punishment that caused broken skin or bruising.  By definition IF a parent meted out such discipline and wounds of any kind were left, the child would be removed from the home and the parent would be charged with child abuse.  It isn't about being creative with punishment, it is doing a punishment that caused ANY child even a minor injury. 

If a mom came in here and posted they had done this to their child and their child had injuries, would the reaction be the same? I think not.  People would be up in arms they caused their child injury. Discipline of any kind should not cause injury.  Plain and simple. It isn't about coddling children or whether or not they deserved punishment, it is that discipline caused injury. By law that is abuse. 

 good point :-)  I probably would have spoken to the teacher and ask her if she realized what injuries the kids were getting.  Scraps dont bother me and I would still be upset my kids had been that disrespectful that they were being punished and most probably told them they deserved it.  But if the injuries sustained were known as in the kids complaining of them and the teachers still told them to crawl...yeah I would of raised some fuss.


kleea1969
by Kristine on May. 7, 2012 at 5:14 PM
Quoting LindaClement:



I agree and I am really surprised that so many think this is okay. No child belongs crawling on the ground like an animal for punishment. Don't they deserve just a little bit more dignity? Even if they were doing the wrong thing, this is way overboard. Children are suppose to make mistakes and learn from them, not be treated like garbage and hurt. I feel for any child whose parent think this is a proper punishment, even am a little afraid for them. I'd never treat my child like this, they deserve better from me and I'd never physically hurt them either. We are their role models and if we run around acting like bullies losing control what in the world do they learn? I am still really dumbfounded at how many take no issue with this.
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on May. 7, 2012 at 6:19 PM

It certainly is astonishing!

Quoting kleea1969:

Quoting LindaClement:



I agree and I am really surprised that so many think this is okay. No child belongs crawling on the ground like an animal for punishment. Don't they deserve just a little bit more dignity? Even if they were doing the wrong thing, this is way overboard. Children are suppose to make mistakes and learn from them, not be treated like garbage and hurt. I feel for any child whose parent think this is a proper punishment, even am a little afraid for them. I'd never treat my child like this, they deserve better from me and I'd never physically hurt them either. We are their role models and if we run around acting like bullies losing control what in the world do they learn? I am still really dumbfounded at how many take no issue with this.


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