Chapter Ten: Crime and Punishment

       It is revealing to look at what is considered a crime in the Public School. It’s even more revealing to discover what the punishments are. By putting your little one into the Public School you would be giving someone else the responsibility and authority to teach your little one about the consequences of his actions. I’m sure you’d agree that few lessons are as important as a little person grows. You would be giving the right and the responsibility to teach this lesson to people that could never care for him as you do. They can never be as engaged as you are. I hope this section will help you think twice about giving your little up to the Public School.

Copying Dictionary Pages. This is, of course, the reason that dictionaries were written. What an excellent way to teach the little people to disdain books, especially thick ones! What an effective method to teach children to loathe learning and language! As a punishment, copying dictionary pages will help little people see that the dictionary is something to take very seriously. It must not be associated with silly things like learning and discovery.

       This is still a widely used punishment. It has been used for generations of Public School teachers. It shows just how thoughtless and lazy the staff at public schools can be. It can be given with little thought to the crime, what caused it, or what might have prevented it. It teaches children that writing is a punishment. It is just more repetitive, tedious, boring busy work.

Writing Sentences. This punishment can be carried out on the black board or on paper. “I will not talk out of turn”, written one hundred times will at least keep the little offender out of the teacher’s hair for a while. Teacher job security is one of the main benefits of this punishment. Here’s how: writing will be associated with punishment. The criminal will often have to stay in from recess. So loss of freedom is also connected with writing. This will cause the desired exasperation in the little offender. In this way every time the he has to complete a writing assignment he will feel that same exasperation. This will give the teacher the opportunity to work one on one with him, more and more often. Since the punishment is needless, pointless busy work, penmanship will suffer. And last of all the repeat offender will learn to hate English. More work will need to be done with him in writing, penmanship and English. Extra work means job security, right?

       I challenge any teacher to prove to me the effectiveness of this punishment. Why do so many kids hate to write? BECAUSE IT’S A PUNISHMENT, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

Detention. What exactly is a little offender being detained from? From being detained? How effective could detention be to a little person that has already been held in a desk in the same room for hour after hour? Except when it involves those precious moments of freedom out in the pen, then detention is cruel. See below.

Withholding “Free” Time.  The ability to move around freely is restricted in the Public School. The only time kids can move around is at recess. Of all forms of punishment this is the most counterproductive. It is cruel. Is it possible that the little offender receiving this punishment is behaving badly because of forced confinement? Teachers that withhold relief from this confinement cause ever more bad behavior. Many children will trade anything for a few moments of freedom. They will “act” however the teacher wants them to. So when they do behave, what the teacher will see is exactly that, an act.

Extra School Work. Most of this will have to be taken home. There isn’t enough time to get it done in class because of all the regurgitated mush that had to be eaten. If math problems are assigned for punishment, then Math becomes…wait for it… this will shock you… A PUNISHMENT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! When the very essence of their education is a punishment, should we be surprised when the little offender is behaving badly and also not doing so well academically? When the extra work is taken home, even more of the scarce time parents have with him will be stolen. Will the little offender’s attitude benefit from this?

The Principal’s Office. Why is this one resorted to so often? Because it’s not effective. What can the principal do to the little offender? Once he gets sent to the principal’s office and doesn’t die from it, what’s to fear? As a matter of fact, if the little criminal is starved for attention because he has to compete for it all through his formative years, the principal’s office is a soothing place. Even if the principal yells at him, at least he will get some attention.

Service. Do you want your little one to spend over 15,000 hours in an institute that sees service as a punishment?

Conference With Parents. This punishment is dreaded by most little barbarians. They know that when they sit down together with their parents and the teacher, there will be no one coming to their defense. It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t say something positive about the Public School at this point. If the little offender merits this punishment, at least he will be permitted to spend an extra fifteen minutes with his parents that day! Most parents will go along with what the teacher has to say in a conference about the little offender’s bad behavior. They need the teacher’s validation as much as the little offender does. They are products of the Public School system. The little offender will see that the school and the teacher are the authority figures in his parents’ lives too. These parents adopt the idea that the little offender will “get it” worse when he gets home.

       Another type of parents has the courage to really question what is going on. They may vaguely understand that the school itself is partly to blame for their little one’s behavior. What do you think the response will be if they bring this up in the conference? Do you think the teacher or principal will take any responsibility? They may console the parents and assure them that they will be watchful keep them informed. Do they realize that they spend more time with the little offender than his parents are allowed to? These parents will leave the conference frustrated and angry. We can only hope that it leads them to ever further investigation and eventually freeing their little one.

Suspension. The little offender might be evil enough to merit suspension. If he hates school enough to behave that badly, how will he feel about being suspended? Even if his parents are the “you’ll get it worse when you get home” type, at least he won’t have to be confined at the school, right?

Punish the Whole Class. If a teacher wants to shift responsibility from her shoulders to her class for punishing little offenders, she will make the whole class stay in for recess if a little person commits a crime. This way the class will actually do the “punishing”. The little offender will get untold grief for his actions. Both he and the class will learn warped lessons about justice and fairness when the most important person in their lives (no, not you, mom) gives out this punishment!

To receive one of those above life lessons, your little one might do the following:

Speak Out of Turn. Like movement, speech is highly restricted in the Public School. If you send your little one there, he would only be able to speak in certain ways at certain times. Since you have encouraged him to speak, this would be very difficult for him in his earliest years. You have encouraged him to question and learn. You never made him ask permission to ask you a question. He never had to raise his hand to respond to your questions. And that’s how it should be. Real education requires the unrestricted flow of information back and forth. The interaction with the teacher and the learner must be free.

       This cannot happen in a Public School classroom. But it can in your home! Why stifle that flow of information in his earliest tender years? Why stifle it ever? In the Public School it must be restricted so that order can be maintained. Restricting communication is a physical necessity when confining all the little learners into one room for hour after hour. But limit the exchange of information and you also limit education.

       You don’t want your little one to be disrespectful. You teach him how to interact confidently and politely with others. The Public School would teach your little one an artificial courtesy and respect. Speaking in a way that is not permitted or at a time that is not permitted is a misdemeanor that will be punished. Is that real respect and courtesy?

       Your little one will not be allowed to question. He may not question a concept. He will not be allowed to question a policy. He will not be allowed to question a teacher. The natural questioning that little people do to learn about the world around them is restricted and strangled. Learning in Public School means accepting information, and then, with permission, repeating the facts in the prescribed way. After being punished for freely questioning or learning the real, natural way, little people will adapt. They will suppress their natural desire to really learn.

Laugh. Is there anything more natural to your little one’s personality than laughing? Yes, there are appropriate times and reasons to laugh. But the school stifles the natural laughter that springs from the heart of the little people. They may only laugh when it is permitted. Otherwise they will be punished. Of course this is necessary to keep order in the institution, but is it natural? Is it right? Do you let your little one laugh? Is there anything that makes you happier than his laughter? Please don’t send him to the institution that will stifle it.

Get Out of the Lunch Line. Lines in the Public School are the standard way of moving from point to point. A little person has a “place” in the line where she must stay. This “place” is guarded as sacred. No one may take her “place”. And she may not enter someone else’s. If she does she will be punished. What a wonderful way to teach your little one to find his “place” in the world and stay there. Can you imagine the chaos if teachers just let the little barbarians go to the cafeteria without being in a line? Who knows what forbidden paths they might wander into if they weren’t neatly lined up behind the mother duck? How would they find their way? They would be like ants wandering about trying to find the trail!

Run. Since the Public School is a contrived world, running is seen as dangerous. How many untimely deaths have happened because children ran at school? How much of our national treasure has been spent for hospitalization and rehabilitation programs for the little criminal runners? In the real world, if your little runs and falls, he will scrape his knee. Lesson learned. In the real world a little person might get run over by someone that is running. Again, lesson learned. Children may only run out in the pen at recess, unless, of course, they have their freedom withheld for committing a school crime like running.

Don’t Do Your Homework. The greatest share of homework is given by mush-spitters that use all the class time up spitting up their warmish oatmeal. Then the little people are expected to take the learning that they should have done home with them. Parents are allowed to be with their children for precious little time. That time is further reduced when the little one has to do school work at home. The tedium and repetition of the Public School system is carried carefully back into the home. Parents willingly give up their family time so their little one can get more sparkling stickers. For the whole day, the teacher has been the little one’s parent and authority figure. Now parents willing give up what little time they have left to be the parent in order to please the little one’s teacher. They will get a pat on the back at parent teacher conference if their little one keeps up on his “home” work. Of course the little one sees and senses that it’s the teacher, not Mom and Dad that decides what’s best in his family.

       If the little one’s parents are so flippant as to use the time after school to take the family out and play ball in the yard, the little one will be punished the next day for not having his homework done. If the little one just wants a couple of hours free from the school, he will be punished the next day for not having his homework done. Good luck to the parent that hopes to use the little time allowed her as a parent. It will be used up by homework. It’s that or a punishment!

       Of course we could list many more crimes. Some of them are very serious and antisocial. The little offenders must be punished or they will think that the evil behavior is acceptable. But it won’t take long to trace most of these crimes to the school system itself. It stifles natural curiosity and smothers self-esteem. It denies little people of much that is human in them, like being able to create and discover. It confines them with invisible shackles to desks and rooms for hours on end. And the staff is perplexed why the bad behavior continues!