Remember the good ol' days when you could use a half-inch wooden rod and rap a kid in the knuckles for misbehavin'? Or how about putting a "dunce cap" on a student and sitting him in the corner for everyone to laugh at. I remember my teacher drawing a circle on the chalkboard and making me put my nose in it for several minutes. Of course the circle was drawn high enough for me to have to stand on my tiptoes. Then there was the classic paddle with holes drilled in it and inscribed with the name "Big Bertha." Oh, to be a teacher in those days. Now that's what I think of when I think of overly harsh discipline.
Today, schools are being picketed for charging parents $5 for detention. What a nation of wimps we have become!
Now don't get me wrong. I do not want to bring back the good ol' days when a teacher could march a student into the hallway and give him several whacks so all the other students could hear him wail. However, there has to be some form of discipline left for teachers to maintain order in the classroom. One thing I have learned in my twenty-plus years of teaching is you can't teach kids if you can't control the classroom environment.
Even more critical is the need to keep parents engaged in the educational process. Noble Schools, a company that runs some charter schools in Chicago, use what is evidently "an overly harsh discipline" action to help cover the extra costs of staffing afterschool detention while hoping to keep parents involved in their child's education.
Perhaps I shouldn't mention this, but our school charges parents an extra $5 for every failed PACE. If I have to get another PACE, I'm going to pass that cost on to the parents. Why should I have to pay for their child's irresponsibility and the parents' lack of involvement?
Before you get a picketing campaign started in front of our school, remember parents voluntarily enroll them in our school knowing that is our policy. I assume the parents who chose to send their children to Noble Schools in Chicago were aware of their policy as well.
Just what can teachers and administrators do to maintain order?