This morning’s Roundup assembly was pretty special at Edmond’s West Field Elementary School.
For the first time, the children from the developmentally delayed classes were the presenters.
Their teachers were nervous, the students were orderly on the risers, wearing Dr. Seuss hats made from red and white paper.
My son, Cade, was one of the younger students involved and was placed on the front row.
When I came into the gym, he ran over to me to give me a hug — a couple of times. So, I had to leave and then sneak back in to sit in another location.
Friday morning “Roundup” is a gathering of all the teachers and students. They recite the Pledge of Allegiance and school creed, listen to announcements and sing songs. It’s a good way to end the week and recognize students and classes for their weekly accomplishments.
Each week, a different group of students helps to present the program.
As the students said their names and directed the gathering on what was coming next, it was moving to see their excitement, anticipation and delivery of their speaking parts.
When Cade said his name, his voice was loud and sweet. His language development is still “developing,” but you couldn’t mistake the way he proudly spoke into the microphone.
I smiled and laughed a little, giddy with the excitement of seeing my baby perform in front of a group. Then, for a moment, tears came to my eyes, a flash flood of emotions coming over me.
But I recovered and was able to enjoy this simple — but very important — moment of the day.
Afterward, the teachers were asking questions, “How did they sound? Could you hear them?” and saying, “They did such a good job!”
It was a milestone for the school. It’s not only good for the students who presented, but also for the students in the audience. And good for the teachers. And good for the parents attending.
And good for the community.
These lovely children are a part of the community, and the public display of their talents and dedication is a lesson in how they, too, can contribute to the activities in everyday life.
It was a proud and moving moment for me.
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.