As parents of school-aged children, we are stunned at the actions of some teachers and administrators. Child abuse is not "discipline," though that's what some people in our schools like to call it. It is the very opposite of discipline. It is the absence of discipline.
True educators know how to set high standards and to model those standards by applying them to their own behavior. They are skilled and caring. They earn respect because they give respect. They enjoy the admiration of the students, and their students learn.
Incompetent educators, on the other hand, only know how to control children by asserting authority over them. That's the behavior of a bully. It doesn't take thinking or training or intelligence, just superior size. The main lesson children learn from such educators is that school is a place to get away from as soon as possible.
Here is a short list of abusive practices used by incompetent educators: grabbing children, smacking them, shoving them, denying their use of the bathroom, allowing bullies to torment them, forcing a child to run laps or do push-ups as punishment, screaming at a child or at a group of children, using fear of punishment to motivate or control a child, insulting a child about poor performance, humiliating a child in front of peers, getting angry at a child for asking too many questions, threatening a child, and judging a child by the child's clothing.
It is time for parents to insist on basic professional standards in their schools.
Parents must make it crystal clear that no one has a right to hit, threaten, humiliate, degrade or otherwise abuse their children. Parents need to remember that their children have only them for protection.
Alan and Carla Hooper
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TO THE NEWSROOM?