After I calmed down I decided this needed to be addressed. I emailed all the team teachers (there are about 105 kids on the team), along with the principle and the assistant principle, who was the one who decided on this punishment. So, without including the entire correspondence here are some excerpts from my email:
I’m concerned with the restroom punishment because if the students are only allowed to use it during designated times, they will have no time to eat lunch and catch the bus because everyone will be going at the same time. If they have to go to the restroom I understand the students were told they are just going to have to learn to “hold it”. I have an 8-year old who gets frequent urinary tract infections as a result of “holding it”. What about girls during their menstrual cycle? Why not penalize the offenders, or if you feel this is a team problem, take their recess away? Going to the nurse only when they are “throwing up” or “bleeding” concerns me, also (our family was very sick for about 2 weeks and none of us were throwing up or bleeding). So much about this meeting concerns me! I’m not sure that humiliating a student into being obedient is the best course of action, particularly if the student hasn’t been causing any problems. And, what do you see this punishment accomplishing at the end of 2 weeks? Do you think the students who are to blame are going to have a change of heart? I can tell you that my daughter has enough on her mind trying to remember her new math concepts without having to be concerned with frantically needing to use the restroom. I also know part of the punishment is to not sign out for anything including yearbook activities and library. Again, isn’t this something that should be evaluated on an individual basis? I can’t help but think that it is so much better to deal with the students one-on-one, and if needed with a parent or counselor, than to punish the whole team.
This was part of the response from one of the teachers:
The “mean girl” bullying is NOT tolerable, the graffiti on the bathroom walls is unacceptable (much less the language), the exclusion of students for their lack of “MTV” wear and the negative attitude (“good girls gone bad”) is what we are addressing. The administration and teachers have not lost common sense approach to teaching the “whole child.” We are limiting temptation.
We are attempting to use positive peer pressure. I once attended an in-service with a renown school psychologist that stated 85% of the students will do what is expected, 5% with rebel and 10% is a swing crowd. How true this is with middle level education. If we the teachers error on the side of “looking the other way and giving the girls the go ahead” with their current behaviors and choices we will be setting them up for future failure. Where 15% of the negative bullies are limiting the 85% that want to learn, we will have failed our students.
#1's individual needs along with her peers will continue to be met. Please reinforce with her that “straight and narrow” is the path that leads to success and that we as a team have had to nip some of the wide boulevards up to our path to ensure that we all cross over confidently into the next phase of our development – young ladies and gentlemen of noble (successful) character. I know that she would want all of her classmates to make positive choices and not to continue to hurt each other with words and negative notes.
So, I'm just curious.....as a mom, what do you think about this? It sounds good in theory to "limit the temptations" and have the 85% influencing the 15%, but does it really work? And, does the outcome justify the means?