Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Writing=Punishment

Why is it that authorities, in school or out, never assign equations or accounting problems as punishment? Nope, when a student is "bad" then authorities assign an essay, a book report, or just random writing, such as "I will not disrupt bus duty" for 500 times. That last example stems from a misguided special ed teacher assigning my then five-year-old son writing as punishment, during the first week of school, before his kindergarten teacher ever taught the letter "A." Unfortunately, public school got worse for him, not better, and we have decided to forgo any "services" from the local school system.

During my tenure as a high school English teacher, I often cracked jokes about the typical use of writing in public schools; what else could I do? I was obligated to teach writing, and the only way to do that is for students to write. Still, every time I made an assignment, I knew that some in the class were wondering, "What did I do to deserve this?"

I'm blessed to be away from high school, both as a teacher and as a parent, but government officials are still punishing students with the written word, as is mentioned in the news story that links to this post. Oh, most folks will read the story because it is ridiculous to arrest a middle school kid who doodles on a desk with a pen. But after the arrest and the handcuffs, the real punishment was finally levied— writing!

Sad, isn't it?

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