When teachers go too far with "punishment"

So today, Olivia walked off the school bus and immediately burst into tears. I thought something BAD had happened on the bus.

"What's wrong?"

I got a highlight today because I forgot to put my name on my homework last night.

Now, for those of you who don't know what a "highlight" is....it's a nice little tool the teacher uses to keep kids on the straight and narrow. If you're bad or doing something bad or rude or inappropriate you get a HIGHLIGHT. It's a negative thing.

And now, apparently, forgetting your name on homework is just as bad as talking out of turn or using bad manners or being rude.

You forget your name and you get a highlight.


In light of all the BAD THINGS that kids can do at school - bullying, name calling, fighting - teachers are going to punish a child for FORGETTING TO WRITE HER NAME ON A SHEET OF HOMEWORK?

What. The. Hell.

Olivia is a great student - she has earned straight A's all year - and she is kind and generous and helpful and NEVER gets in any kind of trouble. So to have her come home in tears because of something so trivial as writing her name down? That is unacceptable to me. These teachers should be focused on TEACHING the students how to be successful in school, and should stop worrying about punishing them for forgetting to write down a name.

The teacher called yesterday (I emailed her last Friday). She said she felt "terrible" about giving Olivia the highlight and it broke her heart to have to to it (she noted that Olivia is one of her best students). But she didn't feel that she could give Olivia "special treatment" just because she's a good kid. She apologized for how upset Olivia was and said that she had talked with her one-on-one when the highlight was given that day. While I appreciate the gesture, I still have an issue with punishing a child for making a mistake. In my mind it would be more appropriate to discuss these things with the kids rather than making them feel as if they did something "wrong." We all make mistakes but not all mistakes require punishment. 


  1. What boggle my mind is that there were no real warnings for the kids. As a teacher, you have to clearly state expectations and make sure they understand that IF they are not all putting names on there will be a consequence. No need for a punishment, especially something that means SO much within the school. The highlight seems beyond drastic for the entire group. Perhaps a reward system for those that do put their name on. You know actually focus on positive reinforcement instead of the negative for something like this.

  2. Wow...just wow. Seems a little excessive to me. Being punished for not putting your name on your paper...hmm.. I mean I get that she is trying to teach responsibility,however your child is as she said, one of her best students. Why can we not allow for a little human error sometime?

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