Saturday, September 8, 2012

Principal's Pedestal of Shame

Last week, I was supervising the upper yard of Chabot Elementary. I was watching three 4th grade girls mind their own business. They were simply conversing with each other. This 3rd or 4th grade boy comes up behind one of them. He's holding a basketball. He's got this devilish smirk on his face. He chucks the basketball at one of the girl's backs. He runs off. I point straight at him and yell for him to come over.

First, I ask him why he threw that basketball at that girl's back. He says, "Because...," and then I cut him off mid sentence. "Actually, you know what? I don't care what your reason is because there is no reason you could give which would justify you throwing a basketball at her back. Go to the lower yard. If you do that again, I'm taking away your ball." Just then, the principal sees me talk to him.

He says, "Mr. Auto. He's in Adventure Time." I reply by telling him that I wasn't talking to that male student about whether he was in Adventure Time or not. I was talking to him because he threw a basketball at a girl's back. So then, I point him out to the girl's back that was hit. After that, the principal snapped. He seemed genuinely pissed about the whole situation. You could hear it in his voice, wide gestures, and hard stares at the boy.

The principal asked for the boy's reason for throwing the basketball. Unlike me though, he actually listened. The boy's reason for throwing the basketball was because his friend had done it to him before. That made him feel justified for throwing the basketball at a girl's back. That upset the principal more. He had a series of responses to that "justification."

"Someone hit you with a basketball and so now that gives you license to break every rule?! You can't think like that! That's stupid! You're not going to get anywhere in life thinking like that! This has gotta stop! You're better than this! We need to talk to your mom."

He basically shamed the student for 5 to 10 minutes. I don't think the principal needed to go that far, but nonetheless, he was pretty effective in putting a guilty look on that student's face.

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