Boys disrespecting girls at recess

Kathleen - posted on 04/11/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I am a teacher and out of ideas for some students who continue to show disrespect to others....in particular a small group of boys. Today, they tackled two girls on the playground, one kicking a girl in the back, the other two knocked the other girl down and held her down. I was furious! They got the lecture about how to treat girls and will spend recesses out of circulation. This happens on the playground, so I'm not there. However, staying in at recess punishes the teacher as well. The last thing I want is to have them in the room with me when I have things to correct, phone calls to make, etc. By the way, they're 1st and 2nd graders. I've been a teacher for almost 30 years; I've used almost every idea I've ever had. Any ideas for alternative discipline action? I'm all ears!

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Cristina - posted on 04/11/2013

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Have you contacted each of the boys' parents? Are the girls' parents aware of what's happening on the playground? I know that if my daughter was coming home crying about a boy beating her up, I'd be in that office immediately!

In my opinion, the way you have explained the situation sounds pretty serious. I do understand feeling punished yourself when you have to stay in and watch them...and if that isn't working, then you're right, something else must be done. I know that some will say "well, it's not so bad. Kids will be kids" but if you don't let the boys know just how very serious it is, then that behaviour will only remain acceptable in their eyes and (possibly) get worse.

Trying to place myself in your shoes, I think my next course of action would be to speak with the principal and vice-p and get approval to place a phone call to each parent. Explain the situation (and the severity of it) and that their child's behaviour is unacceptable. Give it a week. If there is no change, then request a meeting with the parents. Let them be frustrated that they are having to take time out of their schedule to have to come and speak with their kid's teacher for poor behaviour.

If the parents show up, I would let them know that, because this is the second time you have contacted them regarding this issue, should this type of behaviour continue, it will not be tolerated and the parents will be contacted mid-day to come and pick up their child. Your number one priority is to protect your students...even if that means protecting them from each other.

If the parents decline coming in to meet with you face-to-face, then have them understand that the school has a zero tolerance policy and should their child continue to physically assault (and I would absolutely use the term 'assault'!!) another student, that they will be contacted directly to have the child be picked up immediately.

If the parent is called and says that they are not available to come and pick up their child, then I would let them know that their child is not to attend school the next day as you cannot risk the other students' safety knowing that their parent is unavailable to collect them during the day and that if the child comes back the day after and continues the behaviour, suspension will be for two days, then three days...etc.

If the parents decide not to take action to actually parent the child, let them be frustrated and angry that they are having to take time out of their busy schedule because of something their child is doing. I know that there is always the concern of having parents be upset with the school in not being able to control their child, but always ALWAYS remember: It's not your job to parent their child!

Not even sure if you've tried this route, but I want you to know that I think it's absolutely amazing and wonderful that you have been a teacher for almost 30 years! Congratulations!!!!

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Cristina - posted on 04/12/2013

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Kathleen, I am so happy to hear that things seem to be getting resolved.

The principal, yourself and the school should all be commended for being on top of it and really taking the time to do something about it.

The school is lucky to have you!

Kathleen - posted on 04/12/2013

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Thank you, Christina. I'm happy to report that that is exactly the course we took. All parents were contacted; other students spoke up in defense of the girls. The boys' parents were called; the father had to bring the boys to school. They have to spend every recess sitting on a bench, or with the principal, for two days. One more infraction from either of the boys (this is one of many, many problems we've had with them)....and they will be suspended for 3 days. It's been taken very seriously. I as a teacher have documented all of their behavior that is subversive. As for staying in with them at recess, they've been with me too many times to count. I feel I've exhausted that avenue, so am glad to have the support of our principal to deal with this situation along with me. Thank you for your input.

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