The days of the dunce cap are long gone (correct me if I’m wrong), but isolation punishment, it seems, is alive and well in schools today.
At Joaquin Miller Elementary School, it takes the form of “The Box.” It actually sounds scarier than it is; it’s a timeout on the 4-square court, a last resort used to avert suspensions.
The Box is not a new disciplinary tactic, but it recently came under scrutiny. Some parents complained that it was being used as a consequence for missing or incomplete homework. The discipline policy changed as a result, and incomplete homework is no longer a Boxable offense.
Joaquin Miller, like other schools, also has an elaborate rewards system for good behavior, offering Lucky Buck$, Happy Grams (notes home) and something called Free Time Friday.
At Lincoln Child Center, a non-public school in Oakland for emotionally disturbed youth, each kindergartener had a cardboard superhero which corresponded to them. The better they behaved, the higher their superheroes moved on the wall. Teachers also offered Bonus Bucks for good behavior.
On a visit to Lincoln, I also observed the other end of the rewards-sanctions continuum: The Quiet Room. It is a padded room where out-of-control kids are sent to calm down for a few minutes before they can hurt themselves or someone else. Then again, maybe that’s more of a safety measure than a form of discipline.
What are other examples of rewards and consequences used at schools do to keep the peace and motivate kids to behave? Do any of them go too far (or not far enough)?