2003-11-27 / Other News

Answers From The Teacher

Darra Wheeler Happ
Answers From The Teacher Darra Wheeler Happ

My daughter attends a private school, and she was recently given a detention for making noise in the hall. She was with a group of students who were all disciplined, even though only two students were making all the noise. She’s upset that she has to serve a detention when she wasn’t the one making the noise. Shouldn’t the students have been given a warning? Should I try to get her out of it?

If she was breaking a rule, and the consequence is detention, then don’t try to get her out of it. If, however, there is a code of conduct in place, stating that she should have received a warning before detention, you may want to discuss that with the dean of students. A code of conduct, also called a discipline code, is written so that unreasonably prolonged detention or suspension cannot be given at the whim of a teacher or administrator for a minor offense. A code of conduct is written for students, parents, teachers, and administrators so that everyone is aware of consequences and procedures.

If your daughter is with a group of students who are misbehaving, she needs to separate herself from the group in order to avoid being punished. This takes courage, but once learned will continue to serve her well as she faces even more difficult situations to face as she enters adolescence. It’s a difficult lesson to learn, but it will keep her out of trouble in the future. Being able to walk away from a bad situation is a lifelong skill. Have her serve the detention and learn from the experience. Encourage her to walk away if the crowd is misbehaving. If she’s feeling uncomfortable with the behavior of those around her, that should be her cue to separate herself from the crowd and remove herself from the situation.

My son’s school has a "Morning Program" every day where the entire school gets together in the auditorium for an all-school meeting. The assembly program is nice, but wouldn’t the time be better spent in the classroom working on academics?

Many schools have some sort of assembly program, either daily, weekly, or monthly, to gather the students from different grade levels together to provide some sort of community building activity. Some programs often include an academic component while other programs focus on character education. Very often there is music included, and the school principal participates along with some of the special area teachers. Some morning programs have themes they develop and build on for the entire year. Regardless of the form the assembly takes, it is time well spent.

It’s difficult to say if the time would be better spent in the classroom without knowing how your son’s school uses the time, but building a sense of community within a school can be a very important part of a child’s education. Many of these programs include parent volunteers. Realizing the rapidly changing demographics in schools everywhere, understanding and respecting others in itself is an important aspect of education. If the program includes parent volunteers, follow through on your interest, find out who the faculty advisors are, and volunteer your time and ideas.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be emailed to ateacher@bcn.net.

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