To the Editor:
An editorial in the Oct. 26 edition of the Islander ended with this statement: “Just as when a student is accused of breaking the rules, the board should have made a determination as to whether he violated policies and what consequences are appropriate.”
Appropriate punishment is acceptable. Administer the punishment and move on. Once you go beyond the appropriate punishment, it then becomes abuse. Unjust punishments have been handed out for years against students, minors who “have broken the rules.”
Under this system, civil rights of children are taken away, giving certain adults the ability not only to punish students but then “pile on” randomly excessive arbitrary punishments.
Now the police have been introduced into the equation. As Jane Nelson, author of the book “Positive Discipline,” said, “Where did we ever get the crazy idea that to make children do better, we must first make them feel worse?”
Excessive and vindictive punishment is known to makes kids lie more and devise sneakier ways to do what they want to do. Now our school board wants to continue the same bad policies, supporting the draconian methods of discipline and punishment.
Under the current system, there are serious concerns about the abuse of power. I question whether these officials have anyone’s best interest at heart, and that is at the core of determining appropriate punishment.
There is a deep need by this community to ask many hard questions about how we are educating and disciplining our children. The “school to jail” concept is something that now looks very real at Mount Desert Island High School. Other, more professional approaches recommended by many brilliant and educated people in our community have been disregarded.
Thank you to Caroline Pryor for voting against this system of inappropriate punishment. I stand with her and the science that supports her perspective and vision for the future.