Do your kids' teachers use loss of recess to discipline?

Mindy - posted on 09/22/2011 ( 36 moms have responded )

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I have noticed many of our teachers are using loss of recess to discipline/punish the students for behavior issues. Often it seems the whole class is missing out on this time and not just the students who were causing the disruption. I am tempted to talk with teachers and principle about other forms of consequences. (trash pick up, walking the fence line outside, push up :-) ....I'm not sure, but this is really impacting my boys view of school. I think the punishment should fit the crime more. What are your thoughts? Any advice or ideas?
Anyone else deal with this one?

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Karie - posted on 09/24/2011

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I think there's a reason that this form of discipline was used in the past and is still used today....because in most cases it is an effective form of dicsipline. We are talking about people who in some cases have 30+ children in their care each day. And there are very few forms of dicsipline that they are allowed to use. If you ask most teachers they will tell you they don't want to take away recess time any more than the kids want to lose it. Afterall, this usually gives the teachers a much needed break as well. I don't personally know of any teachers that would take away a wole recess but that could vary from school to school. Teachers need to be able to enforce some form of dicsipline in order to maintain control of their classrooms. If we start taking away the very few options that are available to them, they are going to have chaotic classrooms. I have mixed feelings about holding the whole class accountable for the behavior of a few. For younger children it really isn't fair because they may not be able to comprehend why. For older children, the teacher may feel that the ones who are behaving correctly will try to help the misbehaving kids change. In some cases though it may be the teachers only option. In our district we have separate adults hired just for recess duty, but some schools don't have that. The teachers themseves have to take the kids to recess.

Kacie - posted on 09/22/2011

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it was used when i was in school, and its always been used!

with Jace (kindergarten) they have a clips and colors. white is neutral. kids have to move their clip everytime they misbehave. green is a warning, yellow is no circle time, red is no recess, blue is getting a note sent home, black is principal. there are 8 set classroom rules his teacher has for her class. they break any of them, they get their clip moved. if not, they get a sticker at the end of the day. anyone who has 5 stickers at the end of the week, they get to dig in the treasure chest for a prize

Michele - posted on 10/25/2011

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Loss of recess at school is a form of discipline that has been used for as long as I can remember (30 plus years from my experience). I don't necessarily agree with loss of recess unless it's on an individual basis. My son's school takes away recess for the child that needs discipline because of their behavior, however that child is not left sitting inside, they are walking laps around the playground. I'm all for it in this sense, it still provides a much needed break from the classroom, hey that's sometimes the reason for behavior problems, and he child still gets his blood pumping. Maybe the teacher needs some ideas, I would have a respectful concerning talk with him/her about your concerns. I've seen the whole class scenerio only when it was the majority of the class acting out after repeated requests to stop, which then I understand it becomes difficult to point out all those causing problems. Talk to your son's teacher you never know how far a simple conversation will go. Remind yourself though that it's "their house, their rules" kinda situation and approach it how you would want someone approaching your discipline and rules. Good Luck!!

Stephanie - posted on 10/06/2011

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no! I don't think our principal would allow such a thing. He sees the importance of recess. Often times misbehavior can be averted by allowing children free time and running around on the playground. Our principal even comes out and plays with the kids sometimes!

Flo - posted on 09/26/2011

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I agree recess shouldn't be taken away b/c all kids need to excersise but it up to the teachers and if you go to the school most likely nothng will change. They have been doing it forever and most schools don't want to stop doing what they think works. Me on the other hand thinks they should make the kids who are out of line do extra work, cleaning, picking up trash, what ever happened to the I will not interupt 100 times now that would get my kids attention. I am now a homeschooling mom b/c I was sick of not liking what the schools were doing.

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Kim - posted on 04/16/2014

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My husband and I had a meeting with his teacher and begged her instead of taking away our son's recess to make him walk/run laps instead. Taking away recess is like when it rains on the weekends and our kids can't play outside...their pent up energy gets out of control because they don't have an outlet. If they wear themselves down with exercise, they won't have any pent up energy and will in turn, most of the time, pay more attention and have less behavior problems. I'm not an expert, except I have learned from experience that children most of the time misbehave more when they don't have an outlet (i.e. physical exertion).

Joanne - posted on 03/20/2014

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My child's teacher uses this form of discipline and I think it works. I have a very difficult 6 year old and loosing recess is the only thing that will keep him from hurting himself or others. I would like to see any of the people that says that taking recess is not a good way of disciplining a child try to teach 30 kindergarteners how to write and read without disciplining offenders (or run for their lives). I would also like to see who would like to have their children in classrooms with no group control where children are given the incentive of running laps when they hit other students. For my Kindergarten baby running laps would be a reward, not a punishment. My kid has P.E. daily and pediatricians recommend one hour of exercise daily so I don’t see what the big problem with loosing play time is. I think we should stop trying to find excuses for our kid’s behavior and take some accountability. Teachers are not parents and they have very little tools to control their students. We should not take that away from them. I do believe in “exercise” as a positive way to channel extra energy, that’s why I exercise with my children every single day. I also make sure to give my children plenty of outside play time as soon as they get home (when they earn it). I think we should keep in mind that play time does not necessarily equals exercise.

Kathleen - posted on 04/11/2013

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I am on the flip-side of kids losing recess. I'm a teacher and do not wish to have kids in my room all recess. I have several students who show no respect to authority and are also rude and rough to the girls at recess (these are 1st & 2nd grade boys). We have boys who have no qualms about tackling or kicking a girl. I have exhausted every tactic I've learned in my almost 30 years of teaching. Any new ideas would be appreciated.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/08/2011

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i know what you mean my son is in the same boat when it comes to losing recess when hes disruptive they isolate him from his peer by having him play in the teacher lounge court yard the only thing i have been able to do is tell them how feel about but nothings been done

Rebecca - posted on 11/06/2011

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yep, it happens to my daughter to and I also consider it unhelpful -- she's already having a hard time sitting still and focussing -- how does keeping her in help the fidgets. I think the teacher should rather say stand outside and do 50 pushups or something if she's misbehaving to burn off energy. I don't contest my daughter is too talkative in class and it's disruptive to others, I just don't think taking break away is helping, as its not leading to her being less talkative - she's a chatterbox like me. she's quite competitive so I when she's talking to much I play a game with her called let's see who can be the quiet for the longest (which I usually lose :-S) which gets her to shutup for about 10 minutes usually. I find positive reinforcement is more effective. but hey, I try not to be too hard on teachers cos there are 35 kids in my daughter's class and I think anyone who manages to keep them pretty in control all day is several steps ahead of me.

Tania - posted on 10/19/2011

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To Sherri again, hope you're having a great day! It's funny how thinking about this has stirred by national pride, LOL! We have had, I believe, roughly the same school hours since the 1870s, when schooling was first generally available, and have since then produced some of the world's greatest scientists, among them Lord Ernest Rutherford, who split the atom, and Allan McDiarmid, a Nobel Prize winner who worked, I believe, for Nasa. Richard Pearce achieved powered flight in a field in the South Island about 6 months before the Wright Brothers. The world's greatest linguist was a Kiwi - he spoke 47 languages (yes, he must have been a freak of nature, to do that when he came from a nation that is functionally monolingual:-) ). And it was a Kiwi - NOT an Australian, LOL - who invented that most wonderful of desserts, the pavlova!
Of course I am being tongue in cheek, but really, each of these people, and many more it is too boring to mention, including, am I actually mentioning him, the inventor of the Hamilton Jet, which can power through six inches of water, got their education at a rate of 4.5 hrs per day, with 1.5 hrs for recess. It really isn't necessary for a child to sit at a desk 7.5 hours a day to get a decent education - in fact, I would think it would deaden the brain cells.
BTW, my son recently spent a month or so studying American Civil Rights, including Rosa Parks and Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education. Has anyone over there heard of Te Rauparaha, or the fact that right now Tuvalu in the South Pacific is suffering a terrible drought? Or that a Maori prophet (Ratana) back in 1925 stood in Wall St (he was on a world tour) and actually predicted the collapse of the Twin Towers. No? Thought not....Thank you, but on reflection I will keep my children's ed. system, flawed in parts though it is....We have a better grasp of the rest of the world, metinks, than students in the US do.
Cheers....

Tania - posted on 10/19/2011

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Thanks for your reply Sherri. I couldn't tell you really, unless we were able to compare our kids. I do know these days our kids are more involved in learning how to learn than in absorbing facts, which annoys me, as I like facts. My kids can now string a decent sentence/ essay together, read textbooks and have what appears to me to be a fairly good grasp of figures - one adds three and four digit numbers together in her head and comes up with the correct answer, and she is ten. They do not do near enough problemsolving in math, and their understanding of Maori history - along with everyone else's in this country - sucks, but they seem to be getting a good dose of world history, and a good appreciation of world cultures etc. It probably helps that we are a small country that depends on the world buying our primary produce, but I would venture to guess that my children's knowledge of American history and culture is better than your children's knowledge of New Zealand history and culture....It would be really fun to get together and compare systems. I guess though my original point was just that I don't know how much information children can absorb when they do not receive adequate break times. I probably did not explain myself correctly - minus one point to our education system, LOL!



P.S. One more thing that would be different is that we have shorter terms and shorter summer holidays, so there is less time for kids to forget last year's learning. A friend who taught in the States said that the month after school went back was a right pain, as kids had, with the long break, forgotten a lot of the year before's work. Not sure if her experience was universal....

P.P.S our kids also start what you would call Grade One at age 5, so they have a wee bit of a head start, though given the maturity level of 5-year-olds, that head start is debatable...

Cheers

Sherri - posted on 10/19/2011

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@Tania I can not understand how in a 6hr day with 2hrs of it designated to recess, gym and lunch how your children have any learning time what so ever.

If my children went to a school like this honestly I would home school them I think. My kids are in school 6hrs a day with 5 1/2 hrs designated to learning. Your kids are in school 6 hrs a day with only 4hrs designated to learning.

Which one of our kids is getting a better education in your opinion? In my honest opinion it is my children.

Tania - posted on 10/19/2011

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Personally I can't understand why your kids aren't in more trouble at school, not less. 30 minutes of play/recess in a six to eight hour school day is ridiculously short, and they don't get it if they've had P.E? Crazy! Here we have a 6 hour school day, 1hr and 10 minutes of it being play-time in two lots, with another 10 minutes to eat lunch, and the Minister of Education has just recently come out and said we must also fit in 20 minutes a day of fitness. P.E. is a separate subject, and we are supposed to do and hour and a half of that as well a week - that's when you teach sports skills etc and play the odd organised game. I cannot understand how your children can cope with just 30 minutes a day, and to take even that away from them amounts to cruelty.
I will occasionally make my 5 year olds miss a few minutes of the short 20 min break if they have done something particularly heinous (like stealing M&M's from my jar :-) ), but taking away their playtime punishes me as well, as they need that time to release energy.....

Mindy - posted on 10/15/2011

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Thank you for all of your thoughts. Good News! I did email and speak with our boys' classroom teachers. They both pretty much said they were working to not use this course of whole classroom discipline anymore. Now...I'm on to have a conversation with the principal. At lunch time there are atleast 15 tables of students. Each table has a green and red cup. If the lunch people decide to give that table a red cup (even if it is a handful of kids) they miss their entire recess for that afternoon following lunch...ugh. Seriously!

Lindsay "Lindy" - posted on 10/15/2011

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When I was in school the punishment fit the crime, if you did something that was a minor offense the teacher would make you stay behind in class for 15 minutes and then let you go to recess. If you were totally misbehaving then you didn't go to recess at all you stayed in class and did school work.

Flo - posted on 10/15/2011

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I agree with Kimberly Kids need to get exercise, specifically running. I think if they gave kids more time to run than they might be calmer in class b/c they don't have all the built up energy.

Kimberly - posted on 10/14/2011

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Yes, and my son is in kindergarten and needs the time to run around and expend some energy. I think missing out on that time sets him up for getting into more trouble. He has ADHD and has a hard enough time sitting still... He needs the physical outlet!

Donna - posted on 10/06/2011

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its funny I came across this post tonight b/c my daughter came home and told me that the teacher kept alot of the kids inside today b/c they were not being good. She knows there are some kids that are trying to be good and let them go out and play. This is the first time she has come home and told me that so I think the behavior has gone on for a while and this is just a last stand kind of thing and not and every day kind of thing

Karen - posted on 10/06/2011

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Yes and i think it's unfair. Our school has a green, yellow, and red light. My 1st grader got a yellow light (supposed to be the warning light) and ended up loosing his whole recess, Another thing that made me mad was that part of the reason he got a yellow light was because she thought he didn't do his reading. He told her he did, but she didn't believe him. He's never not done his reading so it's not like it was a repetitive thing. My other 1st grader has told me the whole class had to miss recess because 2 kids were acting up. To me that is not fair at all. The punishments do not fit the crime.

Kim - posted on 10/06/2011

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I think losing recess is a good punishment, but only for a last resort. My kindergartner has only lost recess once and that was because he was refusing to do his homework at home. He was warned numerous times that if he didn't do his homework he'd have to do it during recess. Once my son knew that his teacher was serious I have no trouble getting him to do his homework. I disagree with taking away recess for the whole class because of a few students, although, there are some days when the whole class can be worked up...in those cases I think its okay for the teacher to take recess time.

Pamela - posted on 10/01/2011

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Just to clarify, when my school has a child walk laps, it is only for 5 minutes, rarely 10, and then they may join recess again. Also, yes, children are in school 6 to 8 hours a day. But they are actually sitting still much less time than that. There is lunch, 2 or 3 recesses(depending on age), and gym time. Also, any teacher worth their salt would( at least for primary grades) have many hands-on projects and cooperative learning opportunities in their classrooms. They definitely should not be sitting still all day.

Carlie - posted on 09/30/2011

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I do not agree with taking away recess time. A child is in class almost 6-8 hours a day. They NEED that time out of the classroom. However, if an incident does happen DURING recess, then I totally agree with a SET LIMITED TIME for time out-but not the entire recess. That's ridiculous. And terrible.....why in the world would ANY teacher think that is ok, is beyond my understanding. Again, I agree ONLY if the incident occurs DURING the recess time, and then, you definately should immediately pull that child(ren) out of the situation as a correction/lesson teaching method-and only for a pre-specified amount of time, say 5-10 minutes maybe. Guarantee they won't do it again....!

Pamela - posted on 09/27/2011

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As a teacher, I agree that it's not a great idea to take away recess altogether. At my school, kids that need some discipline have to walk laps around our flowerbed. That way, they are still getting some fresh air and exercise. As far as punishing the whole class goes, I usually only try to punish the offenders, but with 20 - 30 kids in the class, sometimes it's hard to pinpoint who's talking or whatever, especially if it's several kids. Then I might discipline, or threaten to discipline, the whole group. But I don't do that as a rule.

Jacki - posted on 09/27/2011

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I have seen studies where the reduction in time playing freely as contributed to attention problems in classroom and it makes complete sense to me. My son's school was taking away recess, but it was quickly pointed out to them that the offenders were only having more problems in the classroom. Now when a child needs some sort of consequence, they have to do so many laps around the small track. They can choose to go slowly and miss the entire recess or they can run the laps and still have some recess time.

Michelle - posted on 09/27/2011

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Both my sons have learning diabilities and the school would not give them any extra help untill the third grade. I paid over $10,000 for my boys to be tested and then to have them taught a a school an hour away to that they could get the help the need. The teaches know my sons dissabilities but still there is problems. I have been told they are great kids, well behaved. They don't behave badly. They both write to slow for the teachers. My youngest son has blisters all over his fingers yet the teacher still expects him to write faster. When he doesn't get the work done he has to spend his recess writing a page out of the Dictionary. On back to school night my sons Teacher spent the whole time complaining about his job. I think we got a really good idea what he is like. He is older and hates his job. I feel bad for both the teacher and thier student where testing is concerned. The state makes them test so often that they hardly have time to teach. By the way I work at a Jr. High School.

Michelle - posted on 09/26/2011

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I have the same problem with my chlds Teachers. I sent his teacher a letter of concern. I recieved a really nasty reply when I picked my son up from school.

Serena - posted on 09/26/2011

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This used to bug me when my son was in kindergarden. But now, Virginia State law requires students to have recessw. Teachrers are no longer allowed to take away recess! In my sons school, if the student miss behaves when they would have used to take away recess, they now give "structured recess." This means they do an organized activity, such as walking/running laps around the black top or some other physical activity where they are active, but have time to think about their bad decsions or what they did wrong.

Kat - posted on 09/24/2011

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When they Punish the children with No Recess it essentially Punishes the Teachers with Children that have a lot of Pent up Energy..And for Punishing All the Class for a few Children Is Just Down Right UNFAIR!!! It teaches them Nothing But bitterness against the children that are causing the problems..I say make that child stay in to do school work...have the teachers rotate staying in with those students..It will give that teacher the time to catch up on grading papers and etc...

Sherri - posted on 09/24/2011

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It is against the law here. Although I am an advocate for it, once again the law stepped in and just one more thing you can't do.

Lauren - posted on 09/24/2011

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This is an issue that many NC schools are having. Parents need to be aware that by NC law all children must have 30 minutes of physical activity a day at school. This means that by law teacher's are not allowed to take recess away from students unless it is a day that they have had PE. Teachers can though have children walk for a portion of recess since that is a physical activity. If you mention to the school's administrator that this is happening and drop your knowledge of the law, you will be very pleased to see this change in your child's classroom :)

Kacie - posted on 09/23/2011

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in our school, kids have gym class ontop of recess. so missing recess isnt a bad thing because they're not running off energy.

Tracie - posted on 09/23/2011

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I abhor the practice of punishing the whole class for the misbehavior of a few. I was raised by very strict parents and I would not have dreamed of giving any of my teachers cause to discipline me, but I still got punished routinely with extra schoolwork & loss of recess because of the other kids. How would the teacher like it if they got disciplined for something another teacher did?

Now my daughter has the same problem. She is extremely well behaved (her teachers tell me constantly what a dream she is to have in class) yet she is also punished for things she didn't do. I will never understand this!

In any case, loss of recess is a bad idea. It's the only time these energy filled kids have to let off some steam so they can focus on schoolwork. Why would a teacher punish students by taking away something that helps them learn?

This also serves to diminish a good student's motivation to behave. If they're going to get punished either way, they might as well talk in class, pass notes, etc., no?

Step out of the 50s everybody! The punishment should absolutely fit the crime. Talking in class? You get moved to a seat by yourself. Passing notes? Same deal. Class won't settle down? Take note of which kids are behaving and the rest have to write an apology letter.

And for the "it's always been this way" crowd, I say, "With that attitude, we'd still have slavery!"

Taking away recess just proves that the teacher is a sour old biddie who can't be bothered to do her job properly.

Rochell - posted on 09/23/2011

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My son has several issues and at one point in time, he was losing most all of his recess. Here is the thing.. upon meeting with the school and the insurance company that pays for his services in school, in all actual reality, they are not supposed to take that time away, for the simple fact that these children, all children, need to have a chance to run and get out some energy. Walking the line is not going to introduce predators. Many schools are so locked down these days that it's almost impossible. Also, usually if your child walks the line, jogs, whatever, they are still getting out energy, but not in the fun way as to they did not earn it. No more than half the recess time should be taken away for this as well. So if you have a 30 min recess, 15 of it may be spent with instruction on the playground, while the other 15 should still be utilized to allow the child the free play time. Play time (recess) is really the only time to take time for time outs because most of the school day is instuction based. The only other option would be for after school detention. I hope this helps out your views a little. Good luck. (Trash pick up, push ups) I feel are too harsh and have never heard of these being used for calm down time (which is usually what some recess time is taken) I would definately get the principal involved in that and just to make sure your child is not losing more than half of their recess time.

Jessica - posted on 09/23/2011

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I wouldnt suggest getting the kids to walk the fence line as there are too many predators these days (only just happened at my sons school 4 days ago, where an man tried to coax 2 girls out of the school...scary... also his school do the no recess thing to, in the class room they have a ladder, they go down if they misbehave and when they get to the top they get a prize and a lolly.. works a treat!!

Teresa - posted on 09/22/2011

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Not only does the offending child miss recess while the others are playing, but said child is doing some kind of extra school work, usually math, but it's whatever the teacher feels that child needs to work on.

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