Youth on violence: Mismatch between school punishment, behavior

August 12, 2012 

Ashley Barlow

School is a place for academic achievement, though it is clear that some students still want to disrupt the flow of the school day.

Troublemakers are everywhere, and each county, state and country has a different way of punishing those who insist on misbehaving — whether by fighting, using bad language or in other ways.

Through my experience with Kentucky schools, the punishments that are given don't work. Also, the parents need to be informed sooner of the child's behavior, otherwise the behavior will just continue and, oftentimes, worsen.

Students are given a code of conduct book at the beginning of each year and are expected to read it, but no one does. If you were to read through the book you would see that the punishments don't match up well with the behavior.

For example, students are suspended two days for refusing to hand over a cell phone. It may be because I am a teen or because this has happened numerous times to me, but it seems very unfair.

A student could also be suspended for 10 days for fighting, which achieves nothing. All schools are doing is sending kids who don't want to be in school home to Facebook and TV. That isn't a punishment.

The one that makes the least amount of sense to me is this: students get two days in SAFE (a detention program during school hours) for flashing. Isn't that a crime out in the real world? How do you expect kids to act like adults if we aren't treated as such?

Among the apparent flashers in SAFE are also kids who are late to class. Who does this help? Teachers are sending kids who want to be in class away and making them miss valuable instruction.

I understand if they are several minutes late, but I have seen people sent to SAFE over a few seconds.

How does any of this help the student and the schools in the long term? It doesn't.

I think the problem children should be kept in school, not sent home. At school they can be monitored and stay caught up on schoolwork.

Whatever happened to after-school and Saturday detention? We should be taking their free time away, not giving it to them.

Ashley Barlow, 17, attends Bryan Station High School and enjoys writing creatively and for the school newspaper.

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