A fourth grade student in a New York City school has been suspended for two days for placing a “kick me, please” sign on the back of another student.
With the city’s anti-bully policy in full force, the school says it basically had no choice but to suspend the student. Since 2008, New York City has officially banned bullying from its school system.
According to The New York Post, school Principal Darryl Alhadeff explained his reasoning behind the decision:
“This incident is in violation of the Discipline Code and is classified as ‘infraction A37′ — engaging in bullying behavior — and will result in a Principal’s Suspension for a period of two days,” he wrote.
The principal apparently followed procedure, held parent conferences and offered counseling.
The child who was suspended is nine-years-old.
Some parents are saying that what the child did was malicious while others believe it was a childish prank that could have been easily handled by the teacher. The incident stands to force us to contemplate whether we are becoming so hypersensitive to the tragic stories of school bullies that we are on high alert and possibly taking child behavior and misinterpreting it. If anything, we need to put pressure on the kids who are really bullying and tormenting other kids in school. We also need to stay on top of it as the kids get older and enter their tween and teen years, when bullying is at an all time high.
I remember this very same sign being used when I was a kid in school. Typically, the teacher would either put the student in the corner, give them a punishment assignment or send a letter home to the parents. While it’s not proper behavior, I’m not sure I would categorize it as bullying.
While a two-day suspension is not the end of the world, is it excessive? Don’t teachers have control of their classrooms anymore and the ability to reprimand a nine-year-old student with a written report or a time-out, or both?
What do you think? Is a kick me” sign an innocent prank or it is really bullying?