A teacher’s unusual punishment for a child with ADHD has sparked a debate online about whether they crossed a line.
Navigating the parenting minefield is no easy feat and one of the trickiest aspects can be knowing how to handle it when your child has been disciplined by someone else, like a teacher.
Sure you want your little one to respect the school rules and to a certain extent you have to accept that when they enter the school gates you’re no longer in charge, but what happens if you don’t agree with the punishment that a teacher has dished out?
That’s exactly the situation one parent found themselves in after discovering their child was punished in an unusual way at school.
Taking to Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole?” forum they explained that the school operates a system where kids are scored by positive or negative behaviour.
At the end of the year, there was a trip to a skating rink for students with enough “good behaviour points”.
The parent went on to explain that their son has ADHD, which sometimes means he struggles to control his energy and behave well.
This left him being around five points short of being able to go on the trip, so the parent did not send a signed permission slip or money for him to go.
The parent assumed her son would spend the day in another classroom but she later found out that he’d been brought on the trip anyway, despite an absence of a signed permission slip.
It gets worse, as he wasn’t allowed to join in the fun, but was made to sit and watch while doing work.
“He said he was told to sit at a table on the side of the skating rink and to do a work packet while watching the other kids,” the parent explained.
“He was upset because he was made to sit and watch everyone else having fun.”
The parent has since messaged the school but hadn’t got a reply so had turned to the Internet to crowdsource opinions about whether they would be within their rights to take things further.
“I’m not talking about just reporting because they did a messed up, hurtful punishment but also because I was not made aware my son would be driven from the school for that day,” the post concluded.
Most people seemed to agree that the teacher was in the wrong and that the parent was perfectly entitled to contact the school about it.
“Forcing someone to be a bystander to their classmates having fun seems cruel and unusual and that’s ignoring the fact that removing your son from school without your permission/knowledge seems real dicey,” one user wrote.
“Depending on how long it’s been since contacting the teacher/principal it definitely seems fair to take this higher.”
“When did they change the reward event into a punishment?” another asked. “That’s totally messed up just for the message it sends to all the kids – instead of, ‘here’s the treat you earned for your good behaviour’, it’s like a cautionary tale of exclusion and public embarrassment for anyone who didn’t earn the prize.”
Others expressed concern that the child had been taken out of school without the mum’s permission.
“In the UK taking a child off premises without consent can get teachers fired and possibly banned from teaching,” one user wrote.
“To add to that, removing the child from the school property without telling the parents is bullsh*t. (And probably illegal as hell),” another agreed.
“If I don’t sign a permission slip, I have a reasonable expectation that my child isn’t going anywhere,” a third parent commented.
Some users shared tales of similar punishments they or their children had experienced.
“My school did this with an ice cream recess party for memorising multiplication tables,” one user shared. “I was the only kid who couldn’t memorise them and they made me sit inside and study while the kids got to go outside, play and have custom ice cream sundaes.
“I’m likely autistic, and this made me hate math until I was an adult basically,” they added.
The parent isn’t the only one to turn to the Internet for advice about questionable teacher decisions.
Earlier this year a debate was sparked online after a PE teacher told a mum her nine-year-old daughter needed to wear a bra.
The school, in Houston, claimed it was planning to turn away parents who show up at the school gates in pyjamas, hair rollers, leggings and other ‘unsuitable’ items of clothing.
And back here in the UK an unnamed infant school sparked a debate about parenting responsibilities after hiring someone to change nappies because so many pupils aren’t toilet trained when they start school.
Schools in Walsall have warned many pupils lack basic skills such as being able to hold a pencil properly and knowing how to dress themselves.
The news comes after a watchdog warned teachers were being tasked with looking after children who are not toilet trained.