Dunce caps, “The Box” and other forms of scholastic punishment

dunce.jpgThe 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. Continue Reading


Checkpoints at Oakland schools

It has just come to my attention that at least two high schools in Oakland scan students — and, presumably, visitors — for weapons. This isn’t news, I admit, just news to me. I visited most of the high school campuses during the last year, and saw little more than security cameras. In fact, kids at the now-defunct East Oakland Community High School complained about those.

I mistakenly assumed Oakland Unified was metal detector-free.

But Dewey Academy, a continuation school near the OUSD central office, does indeed have a checkpoint.  The school decided to adopt metal detector wands to make sure no one — including non-students — brought weapons to campus, said Hattie Tate, the principal.

“It just became necessary Continue Reading