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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 (31-40):
Elkamelka
by Silver Member on May. 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

I giggled...the meowing did me in.

I do think it's unfair that the whole class was made to do this, and I do find it ridiculous.  Still...I giggled.

 

Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

So...I guess I'm the only one who laughed?

IDK...I don't see what the big deal is. The parents act like the kids are going to be scarred for life or something. In 20 years this will be a story that these kids will retell while laughing their butts off.

 

katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on May. 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Leadership can be taught in other ways.

Children should not have to police the other children. I absolutely do not agree with it. That is part of a teacher's job.  And this is coming from someone who wants to teach, and is working towards a teachign degree.

 

Quoting eema.gray:

To me, it's a (poorly executed) attempt to teach leadership by making everybody responsible for the actions of a few.  Perhaps next time, the innocent students will remember this and exercise leadership in getting their misbehaving classmates to knock off the disrespectful behavior.  I'm pretty sure that was the logic of the teachers involved although it's impossible to know for certain.

Quoting katzmeow726:

Coddling. And just because someone does not like their kids getting injured, even minor injuries, as a result of punishment does not mean we are coddling them.

I do NOT coddle my children.  Heck, they almost never cry when they are hurt, even at age 3, because I let them learn to decide for themselves if they really hurt.  I don't jump up at the first sign of an "owie."

But I don't think it's appropriate to have them crawling on their knees on a hot track like that.  I've been on a track like that.  They get extremely hot during the day, and are very rough.  Now, had they done this in the gym, or cafeteria, it would have been fine by me.  And if they had only punished the ones being rude.  it's not fair to the students who were following the rules.  It sends the message of "why bother behaving, if I"m just going to get lumped in with the bad kids anyway." 

Quoting arpazia:

I think it was around the same time we started codling them more and society fell...
How do you spell codling?!



Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

It also cracks me up that scraped knees are now an "injury". When did kids become so fragile?




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Tanya93
by on May. 4, 2012 at 2:51 PM

You find that can be very effective classroom management

Quoting katzmeow726:

Leadership can be taught in other ways.

Children should not have to police the other children. I absolutely do not agree with it. That is part of a teacher's job.  And this is coming from someone who wants to teach, and is working towards a teachign degree.

 

Quoting eema.gray:

To me, it's a (poorly executed) attempt to teach leadership by making everybody responsible for the actions of a few.  Perhaps next time, the innocent students will remember this and exercise leadership in getting their misbehaving classmates to knock off the disrespectful behavior.  I'm pretty sure that was the logic of the teachers involved although it's impossible to know for certain.

Quoting katzmeow726:

Coddling. And just because someone does not like their kids getting injured, even minor injuries, as a result of punishment does not mean we are coddling them.

I do NOT coddle my children.  Heck, they almost never cry when they are hurt, even at age 3, because I let them learn to decide for themselves if they really hurt.  I don't jump up at the first sign of an "owie."

But I don't think it's appropriate to have them crawling on their knees on a hot track like that.  I've been on a track like that.  They get extremely hot during the day, and are very rough.  Now, had they done this in the gym, or cafeteria, it would have been fine by me.  And if they had only punished the ones being rude.  it's not fair to the students who were following the rules.  It sends the message of "why bother behaving, if I"m just going to get lumped in with the bad kids anyway." 

Quoting arpazia:

I think it was around the same time we started codling them more and society fell...
How do you spell codling?!



Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

It also cracks me up that scraped knees are now an "injury". When did kids become so fragile?





arpazia
by on May. 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM
Ah off by one d thank you very much:)
I think she should have taken the "bad" students to the grass and made them do it there.
You may not, but many many parents do.


Quoting katzmeow726:

Coddling. And just because someone does not like their kids getting injured, even minor injuries, as a result of punishment does not mean we are coddling them.

I do NOT coddle my children.  Heck, they almost never cry when they are hurt, even at age 3, because I let them learn to decide for themselves if they really hurt.  I don't jump up at the first sign of an "owie."

But I don't think it's appropriate to have them crawling on their knees on a hot track like that.  I've been on a track like that.  They get extremely hot during the day, and are very rough.  Now, had they done this in the gym, or cafeteria, it would have been fine by me.  And if they had only punished the ones being rude.  it's not fair to the students who were following the rules.  It sends the message of "why bother behaving, if I"m just going to get lumped in with the bad kids anyway." 

Quoting arpazia:

I think it was around the same time we started codling them more and society fell...

How do you spell codling?!







Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

It also cracks me up that scraped knees are now an "injury". When did kids become so fragile?




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eema.gray
by on May. 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM
1 mom liked this

Like I said, if that was their thinking, it was poorly executed.  In spades.

However, I do think that children in middle school and high school (here, grade 5 is middle school) are, for the most part, mature enough to self govern, under guidence.  We take authority away from teachers.  We make it difficult for teachers to execute effective discipline in the classroom.  At the same time, we tell kids it's the teacher's job to govern the classroom.  Exactly how does classroom management work under those circumstances?  I'm confused, and I really mean that honestly.  I don't understand how a teacher can manage her classroom while principles and districts take away her options for discipline and at the same time tell children that classroom management and discipline are the teacher's job, not theirs.  

Within my family, by the time I was the age of these kids, I was expected to be able to exercise some leadership over my younger siblings.  In 8th grade (my first year in a traditional school) and high school, we were expected to help and encourage our classmates to behave as expected in the classroom.

Quoting katzmeow726:

Leadership can be taught in other ways.

Children should not have to police the other children. I absolutely do not agree with it. That is part of a teacher's job.  And this is coming from someone who wants to teach, and is working towards a teachign degree.

 

Quoting eema.gray:

To me, it's a (poorly executed) attempt to teach leadership by making everybody responsible for the actions of a few.  Perhaps next time, the innocent students will remember this and exercise leadership in getting their misbehaving classmates to knock off the disrespectful behavior.  I'm pretty sure that was the logic of the teachers involved although it's impossible to know for certain.

Quoting katzmeow726:

Coddling. And just because someone does not like their kids getting injured, even minor injuries, as a result of punishment does not mean we are coddling them.

I do NOT coddle my children.  Heck, they almost never cry when they are hurt, even at age 3, because I let them learn to decide for themselves if they really hurt.  I don't jump up at the first sign of an "owie."

But I don't think it's appropriate to have them crawling on their knees on a hot track like that.  I've been on a track like that.  They get extremely hot during the day, and are very rough.  Now, had they done this in the gym, or cafeteria, it would have been fine by me.  And if they had only punished the ones being rude.  it's not fair to the students who were following the rules.  It sends the message of "why bother behaving, if I"m just going to get lumped in with the bad kids anyway." 

Quoting arpazia:

I think it was around the same time we started codling them more and society fell...
How do you spell codling?!



Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

It also cracks me up that scraped knees are now an "injury". When did kids become so fragile?





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LilyofPhilly
by Gold Member on May. 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM


Quoting lizmarie1975:


Quoting LilyofPhilly:

BTW, I'm sure it doesn't help that the kids go to school in flip flops, t-shirts, and shorts. The teachers probably dress like this too. How are they supposed to know that it's not playtime, when they're wearing their play clothes?

What does the style of dress have to do with anything? If the weather is hot my kids go to school in tshirts & shorts.

What do you think they should be wearing?

They ought to be wearing uniforms, or collared shirts, slacks, or skirts. That's my opinion. I wore a uniform to school for 12 years. The teachers had to wear dressy clothes There was no AC. We lived through it. I think there's a psychological benefit to dressing for school. It creates a more serious environment. I think it's appalling what kids-and the teachers wear to public schools. I was shocked when I saw teachers wearing jeans and sneakers to work at school when I first put my kids in PS.


JakeandEmmasMom
by Platinum Member on May. 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM
2 moms liked this

 My son had a "whole class punishment" when he was in preschool.  He was pretty mad about it.  I just used it as an opportunity to talk about how our actions can affect everyone around us and that it made it even more important to follow the rules.  So, IDK...even that aspect wouldn't have bothered me.  Sometimes in life that happens:  Sometimes even when you aren't one of the people who did something wrong you suffer the consequences anyway.

lizmarie1975
by Gold Member on May. 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM


Quoting LilyofPhilly:


Quoting lizmarie1975:


Quoting LilyofPhilly:

BTW, I'm sure it doesn't help that the kids go to school in flip flops, t-shirts, and shorts. The teachers probably dress like this too. How are they supposed to know that it's not playtime, when they're wearing their play clothes?

What does the style of dress have to do with anything? If the weather is hot my kids go to school in tshirts & shorts.

What do you think they should be wearing?

They ought to be wearing uniforms, or collared shirts, slacks, or skirts. That's my opinion. I wore a uniform to school for 12 years. The teachers had to wear dressy clothes There was no AC. We lived through it. I think there's a psychological benefit to dressing for school. It creates a more serious environment. I think it's appalling what kids-and the teachers wear to public schools. I was shocked when I saw teachers wearing jeans and sneakers to work at school when I first put my kids in PS.


Tshirts & shorts are apalling?

Tanya93
by on May. 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

I used to teach Technical Theatre.  How can I teach painting techniques or how to angle lights in skirts?

Quoting LilyofPhilly:


Quoting lizmarie1975:


Quoting LilyofPhilly:

BTW, I'm sure it doesn't help that the kids go to school in flip flops, t-shirts, and shorts. The teachers probably dress like this too. How are they supposed to know that it's not playtime, when they're wearing their play clothes?

What does the style of dress have to do with anything? If the weather is hot my kids go to school in tshirts & shorts.

What do you think they should be wearing?

They ought to be wearing uniforms, or collared shirts, slacks, or skirts. That's my opinion. I wore a uniform to school for 12 years. The teachers had to wear dressy clothes There was no AC. We lived through it. I think there's a psychological benefit to dressing for school. It creates a more serious environment. I think it's appalling what kids-and the teachers wear to public schools. I was shocked when I saw teachers wearing jeans and sneakers to work at school when I first put my kids in PS.



katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on May. 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM

And yet current classroom management courses suggest otherwise, and my professor who oftent ried to use it when she was teaching swore against it 100%

Quoting Tanya93:

You find that can be very effective classroom management

Quoting katzmeow726:

Leadership can be taught in other ways.

Children should not have to police the other children. I absolutely do not agree with it. That is part of a teacher's job.  And this is coming from someone who wants to teach, and is working towards a teachign degree.

 

Quoting eema.gray:

To me, it's a (poorly executed) attempt to teach leadership by making everybody responsible for the actions of a few.  Perhaps next time, the innocent students will remember this and exercise leadership in getting their misbehaving classmates to knock off the disrespectful behavior.  I'm pretty sure that was the logic of the teachers involved although it's impossible to know for certain.

Quoting katzmeow726:

Coddling. And just because someone does not like their kids getting injured, even minor injuries, as a result of punishment does not mean we are coddling them.

I do NOT coddle my children.  Heck, they almost never cry when they are hurt, even at age 3, because I let them learn to decide for themselves if they really hurt.  I don't jump up at the first sign of an "owie."

But I don't think it's appropriate to have them crawling on their knees on a hot track like that.  I've been on a track like that.  They get extremely hot during the day, and are very rough.  Now, had they done this in the gym, or cafeteria, it would have been fine by me.  And if they had only punished the ones being rude.  it's not fair to the students who were following the rules.  It sends the message of "why bother behaving, if I"m just going to get lumped in with the bad kids anyway." 

Quoting arpazia:

I think it was around the same time we started codling them more and society fell...
How do you spell codling?!



Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

It also cracks me up that scraped knees are now an "injury". When did kids become so fragile?






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