Should Teachers Use Humiliation as a Discipline Technique?

Julie Ryan Evans

dunce capThere's a line between being strict with children and humiliating them, and a school Florida crossed it big time. A teacher at WJ Bryan Elementary in Miami pinned a 7-year old boy's "poor" progress report to his shirt.

Joshua Innocent says he was embarrassed by this act and told WSVN-TV: "At the time I got into the classroom, the kids started laughing at me." Not to mention the holes she could have put in his shirt!

The teacher says she did it because previous progress reports weren't making it home, but it seems we have technology a little more advanced than a stapler if that was the issue. If not an e-mail, or a phone call, how about a letter in the mail? Joshua's mother said there were other ways this teacher could have handled it:

She could have called me. We have our number in the school system. She could have called me, she could have called my husband, to say, 'OK, well, your son has been misbehaving in school, talk to him when he gets home,' but not humiliate him.

And really, what 7-year-old couldn't remove a stapled note from his shirt?

The school says the teacher did put a sweatshirt over the shirt, but Joshua still doesn't want to go to school. "I don't even want to get one step in the classroom when I go to the school," he said.

I have a 7-year-old son, and I know how much something like that would upset him. It reminds me of the old-school dunce caps, which were eliminated for a good reason. I would definitely be upset if a teacher did this to my kid, but I'd reserve some of that frustration for my kid who was otherwise disposing of his progress reports too

I don't think children need to be coddled or their feelings handled with kid gloves, especially when it comes to them acting out, but there are better methods than this. Humiliation doesn't help anyone.

Do you think the teacher was out of line in pinning a progress report to this boy's shirt?

Image via Candie_N/Flickr

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