My son is starting pre-K this week and last night we had our “meet the teacher” night. He will be attending school in the Putnam City District as a transfer, because the district we live in doesn’t have pre-K.
Last night, as I’m reading through Putnam City’s Elementary School Handbook for 2010-11, I notice an entry under “conduct” called “corporal punishment.” I’m expecting the entry to say something to the effect of “we don’t tolerate it, allow it, use it” … something along those lines. But it says something very different. It says:
“The district recognizes corporal punishment as a means of discipline.”
I have to say, I’m shocked. As an Oklahoma “transplant” from Connecticut (where corporal punishment is banned), I did not expect that this was a means of discipline in any school district, in any state, but sure enough it is. And not just small-town rural districts. We’re talking one of the biggest districts in the state.
I’m not necessarily upset about my son being subjected to corporal punishment, because I don’t believe it’s readily used on prekindergarteners. But what about other elementary school-age children? Is this an effective and appropriate form of discipline for children while they are in school? Or is this something that should be reserved for parents to use, in the privacy of their own home?
In the handbook it says it “shall be used only as a last resort and only after other reasonable corrective measures have been used without success.” And to be fair, they do consult with parents first. But as a parent of a young child, I find it hard to believe that schools can’t take other action when it comes to a “last resort.” There are many more states and school districts that don’t find the need to use physical force on students. Why should this one?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please e-mail me or comment below.
But I’ve got a new one to enter.
First swear word.
My little 3-year-old outfielder was waiting patiently for his cousin to hit him a ball at grandma’s house on Easter. He waited and waited. Begged for a ball to come his way. Finally, it happened. The ball tumbled his way. He ran up, glove on hand and wanted nothing more than to catch that ball in his mitt.
But he missed.
And then it came out.
I think I about fell over from shock. How could such a young, innocent mouth use such a bad word? Not wanting to make the biggest scene on the lawn at grandma’s, I put the seriousness in my eyes and voice. “What did you say? Who told you that?”
He cowered and told me who he heard it from. Still in shock, I let him know in no uncertain terms he is not to use that word again. But I’m scared to know what’s next.
Have a toddler who used a bad word? Did you ignore it or punish them? Let me know here or e-mail me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.
If so, a class at the Edmond Library Wednesday may be just the thing to help you.
Sponsored by the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, “Common Challenges with Toddlers” is a free program focusing on common issues of this age group, including temper tantrums, biting and trouble sharing. Parents will learn how to minimize their frustrations with these behaviors and learn solutions to help put an end to them.
The program is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the library, 10 S. Boulevard.
If you want to enroll, call 425-4412. If you can’t go, no worries. I’ll be there taking very detailed notes and I’ll be sharing what I learn and posting it here.
So my 3-year-old son has been getting in a bit of trouble at day care lately … for saying (gasp!) a four-letter word …
Yep, heck. Now at first, I thought maybe he shouldn’t be saying it so I didn’t really respond when his teacher told me (well, spelled out) what he had said and how she handled it (she put him in timeout).
But over the weekend, as we watched the kids’ movies Madagascar and Cars, I realized that they say “heck” in those movies (both of which they’ve actually watched at day care).
So what do you think? Do you think his teachers are overreacting or do you think “heck” should be considered a bad word?
Comment here or email me your thoughts.
~Erica Smith, Copy Editor
If my kids tried to get out of trouble by using the same excuse that a criminal scam artist used in court this week to plead for leniency in his sentencing, I might double their punishment out of anger at the flawed thinking. Or I might just have to laugh. The excuses he used in federal court sound more like a child’s than a grown-up’s.
In essence, Phillip Levaughn Raglin argued through his attorney that his crimes weren’t as bad as everyone else’s. And those OTHER people aren’t even getting punished, he reasoned, so the judge should be lenient to him. Raglin bilked investors out of about $900,000 by convincing them to buy into his phony company.
Here are the details, described by writer Tony Thornton in The Oklahoman:
Through his attorney, Raglin said that the judge should give him mercy because his crimes are “minimal compared to the ‘financial bandits’ who caused the Wall Street meltdown but who are ‘getting off nearly scot free,’” Thornton wrote.
By what reasoning? Don’t we as parents teach our children that we are accountable for our own actions, no matter what the rest of the world does? That there are standards in place that don’t change?
I don’t care what everyone else did in this case. Yes, the Wall Street fiasco is a mess and there should be some fallout for those involved.
But that doesn’t matter for Raglin, nor would it matter in our house. If an action is wrong, it’s wrong, no matter who else did or didn’t do it or whether they got punished for it or not. I hope my kids learn that lesson now so they don’t have to learn it before a judge in a courtroom.
If my kids tried to use that logic on me, I’d like to believe I would see straight through it. Apparently the federal judge in Muskogee did, too. He sentenced Raglin to 10 years in prison — the maximum — and ordered him to pay more than $1 million in restitution.
Here’s a related “Mom-ism” for thought: “Doing what is right is not always easy but it’s ALWAYS right.”
And ideally that would apply whether everyone else is doing it or not.
For great reading involving this case, check out the court documents (links below):
Defense attorney Robert Ridenour’s arguments for leniency — ” Phillip is supremely confident and optimistic … (and) wants to be recognized and respected for his inteliigence.”
And prosecutor Susan Dickerson Cox’s arguments for the maximum sentence for Raglin: “He is narcissistic, materialistic and arrogant concerning his financial dealings.”
It’s a hard concept to grasp, but seemingly it can be true.
Objectively, I would have to say my 2-year-old son’s demeanor is very mild. He is affectionate and already demonstrates a certain compassion for others, as simple as it is. I have been very lucky that he has never taken out frustration or anger in a physical way – never a biter or a hitter.
These qualities also may make him a target of bullying. In his class, he has a friend who is bigger than him (my son is small for his age), more outspoken and a bit aggressive. I’m going by what I’ve seen myself and what other parents have said. The interaction between the two boys is starting to worry me though, because my son is now reenacting his negative encounters with this child, over and over again.
I’ll pick him up from daycare and about 5 minutes into the ride home, I’ll hear him in the back seat reliving the day’s events. “No No! No push Hunter! Be nice, (child’s name), be nice!” or “No hit Hunter – go time out, (child’s name)!” At first I thought it was an idle situation, but lately this is an everyday occurrence. I’m worried that it can scar him in a way that may, in turn, make him aggressive, or set him up for a lifetime of being a target of bullies.
One thing I can’t really do is talk to this child’s mom. We are friends, and I don’t want to see a friendship go sour over this and there is no real delicate way to bring it up. The daycare teachers are giving the boy time outs so I can’t say they’re not doing their part.
I’m not sure where to go from here. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know. I would love to hear some!
I’m a fairly new parent so I know I have much to learn. One thing I could definitely use some input on is when to say something and when to keep quiet when it comes to other parents.
I recently encountered a situation in a parking lot of a strip mall. I parked next to a woman who was using some pretty excessive force on her child in the back seat, in plain view, door wide open. It was actually quite disturbing. I won’t give details, but I’ll just say a belt was involved. I sat there and wondered what I should do. Do I confront this seemingly crazy woman? Do I call the police? Do I pretend I didn’t see anything? I called my friend who is a former Oklahoma County sheriff. She said that if it looks bad enough to me that I should call the police and let them handle it. She made a good point: If the woman is brazen enough to do this in a public parking lot, then how, God forbid, does she “discipline” her kids in the privacy of their home? So I took her advice. I called the police. The response was actually a bit infuriating. Dispatch and the responding officer said the same thing – “how a parent chooses to discipline their child is their business.” I asked the officer, “so then there is no line between child abuse and discipline?” He couldn’t give me an answer.
Here’s another situation. I’m at White Water Bay last weekend and I see a parent there with a small child – probably between 1 – 2 years old. The parent isn’t using any sunscreen and I could see the child burning up in the sun before my eyes. Her bright red skin looked so painful, but I didn’t say anything. Soon the guilt set in that maybe I should have offered my sunscreen to her at least, in a gesture where maybe she could “get the hint.” But then again, she wasn’t my child. Do I have the right to interefere?
I don’t want to be on “parent patrol” because I know that I, myself, am far from perfect. But when incidents like these find themselves in my presence, I find it hard not to step in for the sake of the kids.
How would you handle these types of situations? Do you find yourself getting involved with people’s parenting? Let me know on here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear thoughts from other parents.