Target: Principal Missy Fitzsimmons of Lincoln Elementary School
Goal: Demand that school administrators stop humiliating tardy students.
A school administrator in Oregon allegedly punished an elementary student for tardiness by making him sit behind a cardboard wall at lunch, according to recent news reports. Hunter, a first-grader, reportedly arrived at school one minute late as a result of his mother’s car failing to start. These were circumstances that were not within the boy’s control, since he is obviously too young to drive to school himself. Not only was he punished for something that was not his fault, but the punishment itself was extremely inappropriate.
Grade school years are formative to the identity of a child, and as a result, discipline should be handled with extreme caution. It’s hard to tell what sorts of social effects this type of discipline could have on a child, but it cannot be anything good. This form of punishment is not appropriate, since it’s a safe bet that it makes the student feel isolated and reviled.
The school released a statement saying that the dispute between parents and staff had been peacefully resolved. While it is excellent that the issue was handled in a timely manner, we need to make sure that this kind of punishment is never used again at this school. Please sign this petition to urge Principal Fitzsimmons to do everything possible to ensure that this type of punishment is halted immediately.
Dear Principal Fitzsimmons,
I was disappointed to learn of the strange punishment that was used at your school against a tardy child whose mother couldn’t get her car to start. Subsequently, the child was late for class, and was forced to sit behind a cardboard barrier at lunchtime. Although I commend you for meeting with the parents and coming to a peaceful solution, I want to express my hope that the solution involved eliminating this type of punishment.
Forcing a child to sit behind cardboard at lunch is not an appropriate punishment. For one thing, it punishes a child for something that was not in their control in the first place. Even if punishment is warranted, I think that more constructive forms of discipline could be put into place. Doing this to a child only causes them to feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the group, which will only set them up for social difficulties later in their educational career. I ask that you do everything you can to make sure that this never happens again at Lincoln Elementary School.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: frankjuarez via Flickr