Another way to handle discipline

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s when I ranted about seeing too many students in the office at Columbia Elementary.

The principal and I had been having a chat about a grant that Southwest Fresno is getting (that’s where Columbia is located) and she had asked me to sit in on some meetings to discuss how the monies would be used. As I step out of her office, there sits a small boy whom I recognize from my travels around the campus. When he sees me, he looks away, hoping to be invisible. I go over, sit down next to him, and start chatting. It’s a kindergartner and he’s “in trouble.”

“What did you do?”

“I punched Philip in the stomach.”

“Oh, dear. That doesn’t sound like a good thing to do.”

“He called me @&($#.” I won’t say the word and am not even going to type it. 

“So, you punched him?” He nods his head.

“You know, there are better ways to handle that. He shouldn’t be calling you such bad names, but hitting him is not the answer. You need to tell Philip that you don’t allow people to talk to you like that. I don’t allow anyone to say things like that to me. I stand up to them and tell them not to say that. If they continue, I walk away. You need to walk away and tell a teacher.”

Mrs. Brown, the principal is listening to this, nodding. She walks back in her office and I continue this chat with the little guy. I’m thinking the whole time, why didn’t the adults in charge have this talk with the two boys? How did it end up with one in the office and other one no where to be seen? Both boys should be there to work this out.

By now it’s time for me to go to lunch with the first graders so I tell this little guy he will have to wait for Mrs. Brown to bail him out. I don’t know what she did after I left, but I’m sure she was like me, this should never have made it to the office but rather been handled right where the “crime” took place. I don’t think the other boy, who fired the first “shot,” will be changing his ways any time soon, and the hostilities will just be simmering.



9 responses to “Another way to handle discipline

  1. You handled that so well.

  2. Putting this and your last post together, seems to me the school needs to set up a seminar with you teaching the teachers how to relate to and talk the children through these situations.

  3. I am just grateful that you are there at all, even if it is one child at a time who learns from you. You are a treasure, I won’t ever stop saying it. 🙂

    • We’ll see if any learning actually took place. Maybe next week I can check on this little guy at lunch and see how he’s doing and perhaps he can point out the “potty mouth,” and we can have a chat, too.

  4. Your counseling probably helped this child. Too bad the other kid was not there, too.

  5. It seems the capacity for teacher’s to discipline, doesn’t exist anymore. Whomever saw the “fight” should have handled it right then and there. If need be, BOTH boys needed to go to the principal’s office. Back in the day, the Kindergarten teacher would have taken “bad mouth” to the sink and washed his mouth out with soap and “puncher” would have had to stand in the corner.

    • Yes, it should have been handled “on site.” I have been in the cafeteria during the kindergartner’s lunch and have had to separate small children and have a “discussion” with them. It would never occur to me to haul one of them to the office. Even kindergartners can talk out their differences and come to terms. But, it takes BOTH parties. I think the teachers are so overwhelmed that they just can’t do it.

  6. You handled that perfectly. We all need to practice our communication skills in this country. Talking, asking and listening are skills that can be taught and learned. Good job!

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