Friday, December 17, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere

Earlier this week, my six-year-old daughter, the Peanut Butter Kid, came home with a headache, and absolutely parched.  She told me that after recess, her class hadn't been allowed to have water, as a punishment for being "too loud."

Uhhh, what?

I asked another mom about it, whose daughter confirmed it.  Then I asked the Peanut Butter Kid for some more details, and she said that during recess, a first grade teacher told the entire grade that because they were being so loud, they wouldn't be allowed to get water on the way back in as they normally do.  The other two teachers on recess duty apparently went along with this. 

I should mention that none of these teachers is the PBK's teacher, thank God

Let's list the problems I have with this, shall we?
  • Um, it's water. For children. In Texas. Where the temperature still goes into the high 70s.  If you run around like a nutjob on a playground for thirty minutes, you work up a sweat.
  • Withholding water is a big fat FAIL as a discipline strategy.  Now you have to control a classroom full of sweaty, thirsty six-year-olds.  Good luck with that.
  • Punishing an entire group for the poor behavior of some only works in the military.  It works in the military, because after lights out, the one who fouled up gets the crap beaten out of him or herself.  I'm guessing that's not what we're encouraging first-graders to do.
  • Withholding water is an inappropriate consequence because no child (who is not being abused) could possibly have seen that coming as a punishment.  Miss the next recess?  Maybe.  But no water?  It's crazy and random and plain old mean.
  • Pretty sure our society doesn't even withhold water from convicted felons.
  • Again, let me point out: it's water.  They're children.
  • Are you effing kidding me?
I'm sure none of you will be surprised when I say that I had a delightful chat with the Principal about this.  I am happy to report that she was suitably horrified.

I didn't make these suggestions to the Principal, but I have some ideas on possible consequences for the aforementioned teachers:
  • Have the teachers exercise for 30 minutes while being yelled at, then withhold water while allowing each child to have a blue raspberry slushy.
  • Take the first grade on a field trip to Chuck E. Cheese.
  • Write "I will not withhold basic human needs from my students" on the blackboard 300 times.
  • Next teacher in-service topic: Positive Discipline Strategies, or Why Military-Style Discipline Is Not Okay for Six-Year-Olds
  • Withhold coffee on our first morning back after Winter Break.

51 comments:

  1. There should be some sort of "Are you a jackass to small children?" question that teachers have to answer before they are allowed in a classroom. I further submit that this question should be asked while electrical zappers are attached to said applicants. On their nipples.

    Asshats.

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  2. Oh man,I got my "mad" on during the first paragraph of this story. I too would have had a delightful little chat with the principal. You go, girl! Hey... I have an idea. How about SRMM as the keynote speaker at the next teacher inservice, in all her stabbity, noncaffeinated glory? And... don't forget to use your words. LOL!!

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  3. At my daughter's school the principal wouldn't have cared. They locked her outside the building in her first month there as a kindergartner and were all like "What's the problem? She should listen when the bell rings and line up with the other children". Um, she was 5, and on the entire other side of the playfield tying her shoe when the bell rang. She was locked out of all of the classrooms and fortunately remembered how to get to the door leading to the office, instead of wandering off and getting lost or hit by a car. She was extremely upset, but the principal and teacher were completely blase about the situation.

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  4. Are you KIDDING ME?? I am so glad you spoke to the principal. First rule of teaching: NEVER withhold those basic needs. (We've even been told we CANNOT withhold recess as well...These kids NEED to run. No activity = more discipline problems!)
    I've actually known teachers who've withheld restroom breaks! Seriously?!?! Yes, I would love to clean up your mess because I am too stupid to let you go to the potty.
    Wow. So sorry the PBK had to suffer. :( So glad you stood up for your kid (and all the others who were suffering).

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  5. I'm confused... Its recess... Is that not where kids are supposed to be loud and crazy and get all their sillies out so that they can actually function and *gasp* learn in the classroom later?? That is beyond rediculous! So glad the Principal was on your side on this one!!... I think the withholding of coffee in January is perfect .. but for all teachers, not just the one who withheld the water.. Punishment for all right??

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  6. HOLY WHAT!??? OMG! I am subbing right now and believe me, there are times I want to lose it but I CONTROL myself and make sure the punishment fits the crime - how about going thru that line and tapping children, who are misbehaving, on the shoulder and let them know their recess will start 5 or 10 minutes late the next day b/c of the time they wasted???? (I hate the punishment for all but recess could start later for all, as well)
    WOW!unbelievable!

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  7. thats so bad of that teacher and with a jedi child. its been 80s in texas and you wo water form 1st grades i agree with srmm- wo coffee or dr pepper from the teacher after they been out side .

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  8. O.M.W. - it's RECESS... right? Isn't it a God Given Right of all First Graders to be loud at RECESS??? ISN'T THAT THE POINT of recess? Be loud at recess so they'll be quiet later? I'm just sayin'.

    And Amanda is right, ALL the teachers should have coffee withheld - only I suggest that the coffee needs to be withheld on the last day of school BEFORE Christmas break starts. It seems only fair.

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  9. I would be furious.......what an idiot of a teacher.

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  10. OK I commented, left and took my shower, and I think I'm angrier - the younger ones are difficult to get "angry at" - the older ones lose privileges, left and right, you take away privileges not basic needs!!!

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  11. That's unbelievable. I'm glad you said something to the principal and I hope all three of those teachers are at the very least SEVERELY talked to. WTF. Taking away WATER after RECESS? The teacher that decided that was a good punishment is bad enough but I think I'm angrier with the other two that went along with it. Way to NOT stand up for a bunch of little kids guys. And I agree with everyone that is confused by how you can be too loud at RECESS. Too loud in line is one thing but too loud at recess?

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  12. OMG I think I would go so mama bear on those teachers that I'd lose the ability to form coherent words. My daughter is in junior kindergarten and they can get water whenever they want - there's a fountain in the classroom. Every other kid in the school is allowed to have a water bottle at their desk at all times. I have trouble getting my daughter to drink enough as it is.

    I have to wonder.. where exactly would the teachers prefer the kids be loud?

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  13. I am so glad you squared up on that situation. That's SO SO awful.

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  14. Can you imagine the teacher yelling at them about being loud? "FIRST GRADERS! You are being too noisy! You need to use your INSIDE voices or... Wait. Shit. No water!"

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  15. Oh. My. God. I would have freaked out. I love your suggested punishments, though withholding coffee may backfire as the teacher may be a bigger douche to the kids. I suggest that the teacher be forced to purchase water bottles for ALL the kids she witheld water from so that they may enjoy a refreshing beverage whenever they choose. Either that, or walk around with the word BEYOTCH written on her head with a Sharpie until it wears off.

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  16. This is so ridiculous- this teacher needs to get a clue.. first of all- be quiet at recess? And secondly- she is VERY lucky no kids had any health issues such as diabetes which were affected... water is THE MOST essential thing our bodies need... you can go weeks without food- but NOT water. This teacher should be formally reprimanded. B/c if she is doing this with an entire grade, then what the f is going on inside her class?

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  17. I vote for the first one - and I volunteer my services to video tape it for all the parents in the class to keep as well as to be placed in the teachers' files.

    Yeah. On the hottest day of the damn year make them do that!!!

    M

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  18. Unfortunately I am totally unsurprised by this. I'm lucky that I have a couple of really good friends on the staff at my little rainman's school who keep me in the loop about stuff, plus it gives me a good excuse to go up to the school and hang around and keep my eye on things. I am homeschooling my oldest because I just didn't trust the people at the campus he was at. Luckily it is very easy to switch to homeschooling here in Texas.

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  19. We now have our first candidates for "Douchbag of the Year 2011" or in this case, douchbags.

    And doesn't this fall somewhere in the realm of abuse .... or at least neglect?

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  20. What gets me is that when animal control does investigations on reports of animal abuse, one of the criteria that must be met is that the animal must have free access to drinking water. This is a standard for *animals*, so doesn't is seem that humans ought to have at least the same consideration? Even if the children are acting like animals? I've always been taught that restricting access to food or water as a method of punishment is absolutely forbidden. As a former corrections officer, I can tell you that the only time convicted felons have their water shut off is if they are using the water to create a problem, such as intentionally flooding the toilets, or throwing water on people. And even then the water has to be turned back on for a certain number of minutes every hour. The teacher responsible for that ought to have her pay docked, or be suspended for a week or two, as that type of thing is absolutely unacceptable.

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  21. This is one of the hundreds of reasons why we home-school...stupidity!

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  22. I was stunned earlier this year to hear a substitute teacher tell the kindergartners that they might lose their bathroom break. Seriously? Not let 5 year olds go to the bathroom-do you really want to deal with the consequences of that?

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  23. Wow, just wow. I hope there was some kind of disciplinary action for these teachers. Maybe some retraining, ya think?

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  24. A teacher withheld bathroom privileges from a kid that I use to watch after school. The teacher then got super mad when he crapped himself in the classroom. She then didn't curb the teasing that ensued after that incident.

    There is a special place in hell for teachers like that.

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  25. My son calls them recess teachers....but in all honesty I don't think they have logged the school hours the classroom teachers have. I have been to the principle twice regarding these "recess Nazi's" at our school. Just a few rules these ladies have...limits to how high you can go on the swings while swinging, and limited running. Recess today is nothing like the recess I had. I just hope your recess ladies and my sons recess ladies don't combine forces....they may try to overtake the world;)

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  26. omg. I am horrified. Thank goodness you called the principle on that. I would have called the news channels. That is all sorts of wrong.

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  27. When I was teaching, my first graders had water bottles that they filled each morning to have throughout the day. Water is a basic human need, not a privilege that can be taken away. It's essential to proper brain function, amongst other things. This is the kind of thing that made me hate school--as a student AND teacher.

    That the principal was horrified is a good sign! :-) Hali

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  28. Isn't basic first aid required for certification? And isn't part of basic first aid to rehydrate the overheated? And aren't these teachers assholes?

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  29. That is wrong on so many levels!!! Really???withhold water???

    I think ALL your suggestions should take place...

    every.last.one.of.them!!!!

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  30. Yeah some of the yard duties as they're called at my kids' school have their heads so far up their backsides, I think they're breathing the air where their brains ought to be.

    My kids have come home telling me they've been put on the wall during a recess for accidentally pushing when playing tag, things like that.

    Not thrilled with that, but hey. I didn't see it happen and my kids like to bend the truth about their getting into trouble.

    However when my 8 year old had teacher issues last year cause she wasn't letting him out to the bathroom like...EVER and he had 4 accidents in class, in the first 2 months of school, you better believe I went down there and I raised some hell.

    With the principal...and the parent-teacher liason...and then the teacher got a very large, very unhappy piece of my mind at conferences that year.

    Sadly the issue didn't go away entirely, and I've seen declared that NONE of my children are getting that stupid woman as a teacher when they're in second grader. I've actually gone out of my way to get to know a couple of the other second graders so when my second oldest is in second next year, I can request one of the non-bitchy teachers.

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  31. Withhold Coffee....that's made me shudder!!! haahahahaahahaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  32. Pls post an update on how the Principal handles this. Or the school board if the Principal is a douchebag.

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  33. As a former teacher, I learned that hydration is necessary for good student performance. It only makes sense that if the brain is made up of more than 85% water, it would be good for the brain to drink pure water. Therefore, I always allowed my students to keep labeled water bottles on their desks and to fill them frequently.
    Perhaps this link should be sent to the school principal and teacher who obviously was lacking water herself:

    http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/hydrate-brain-717

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  34. I'd have, with a quickness, went to the Superintendent of the school and raised so much hell, I'd have needed tasered in order to calm down! You can bet that if any of us did that, we'd have CPS in our lives for the next six months and face possible removal of all the children.

    May I suggest letting the other parents know, if that's possible, then getting together and having those teachers ALL apologize to the children? In front of, oh, the school board or the Super? Also, send your child in with a water bottle and let them know that since you can't trust that the teacher won't be a douchebag again, they'll either allow the water bottle or face Children Serivces. =)

    Want me to come down there and help deal with them? LOL

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  35. Alert the media if you don't get a satisfactory result. Satisfactory result being the withholding of water FOR THEM while they're teaching for the rest of the year.

    Wow. Is this school, or some bizarre prison in a third world country?

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  36. Usually your blog makes me laugh - this one made me nauseous and I actually put my lunch away...

    I am a preschool teacher and I am pushed to my limits every freaking day by the kids or worse, by their parents. It's part and parcel of the job. Deal with it. Seeing as how I can act like a responsible adult who really does love her job, I will not lose my cool in front of these highly impressionable and highly needy little beings. (Yes, I admit I eat copious amounts of dark chocolate, indulge in big-people-timeouts and drink my coffee to maintain my sanity - whatever works right?) I certainly would not withhold the necessities of life as a method of punitive behaviour modification. Reeks of abuse to me.

    I'd love to be the fly on the wall when they get shit from all their superiors (and I'd find a way to make sure all of the upper management team found out about this behaviour or post about it on every damn social network I could, if it didn't.)

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  37. This has me seeing red! Hmm, I think this will be added to my list of considerations when we decide to homeschool or not. Please keep us updated as to what happens. I think, in addition to being a place to rant, your blog also gives some parents more confidence to really stick to those that are douchebags to their children.

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  38. Uh, it's recess??! Hellooo. That's when they are ALLOWED to be loud! That's crazy!

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  39. Uhm - as a current teacher (see anonymous :) I second the person who said to go higher than the administration in house. The principal may not have to report outside of her building unless you make it an issue. And I agree with the other person who said if this happens, what else goes on?

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  40. Unbelievable! I am still upset that my child is not allowed a snack during half day K. She was telling me her stomach starts to feel like it's burning when she hears (and probably smells) the older kids go for lunch.

    I would think you would want 6 year olds to be loud and run around as much as possible at recess! (the comment about too much running) So children are supposedly so obese and unhealthy and now TOO much running at recess (or no recess at all in our case)? No water, after all the whining I hear about soda drinking? Talk about mixed messages here.

    The no potty privileges comments are killing me. I am hoping for a poop room in hell for that teacher. How does a child get away from an incident like that w/o changing schools? This sounds like the stories I tell from 25 years ago when I was in school, I can't believe this stuff goes on in 2010.

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  41. The scary thing is that 3 people went along with it, not just one. It's awful that poor judgment could be so easily embraced and executed. I live across the street from my son's future elementary school. I will have to restrain myself from spying on him all day to make sure he's ok!

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  42. Not cool. At all. What teacher thinks that is a good idea?

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  43. Absolutely unbelievable. What were they thinking? Wait, never mind. . . .

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  44. You never know what goes on when you're not there...I have taught preschool/Kindergarten for 13 years, and have seen a lot of teachers who have no business teaching. My own son was abused by two different teachers (on different occasions)in the building where I was working just down the hall! By people I knew and trusted, who just could not handle the pressure of working with kids all day. Both times they were caught by me happening to walk into his room to check on him--makes me sure I missed so many more things!
    Moms, drop in on your child's school often, and make it your business to know what's going on! Things like this story happen ALL THE TIME.

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  45. As you pointed out this is wrong on soooo many levels! I wonder what said teacher would have done had one of those kids passed out from dehydration and this came to light. I would love to know how this teacher is reprimanded for this, as she very well should be (and harshly so). As another poster said I would have gone all momma bear, I probably would have demanded a meeting with the teachers on supervision that day. If I didn't homeschool I would probably be the parent no teacher would want LOL!

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  46. I am pretty sure, as not only a teacher but also a parent, I would have Child protective services called if I withheld water from my children....

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  47. This is awful. Nice to know that there are such nice, warm, fuzzy teachers in first grade who care so deeply about those little six year olds. I would be furious.

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  48. Would it be considered wrong if I wanted to see that "bathroom teacher" buried neck deep in an ant hill made of dung?

    Or if I wanted to just plain smack some sense into that "water teacher"? Just asking.

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  49. I remember in high school when a teacher who didn't like one of the students wouldn't let her go to the bathroom when she asked. She even admitted to him that she had a UTI, and he still threatened to write her up for going. She left anyway, and I don't know exactly what happened, but I remember that the administration was not helpful until she brought her parents in. You would figure that letting a girl with a UTI go to the restroom would be common sense enough that the admins would rule in her favor as soon as they heard the story and got confirmation it was true...

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  50. Also? In Texas? That wasn't legal.

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  51. In elementary I had my 4th grade teacher take away my bathroom privledges. as in, no going to the restroom AT ALL during the school year...

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