Punishment or Reward?


A young man received 3 days of out of school suspension for cussing out his teacher.

Here’s what I’m wondering. Is it a punishment or a reward for him to be suspended?

He really doesn’t want to be at school. He certainly doesn’t want to be in my class. He is probably sleeping at home right now. Might wake up and eat and watch television. Or, more likely, he’s out walking around getting into trouble.

Now that he’s suspended. He may or may not be at home, burdening his parents. And, when he comes back to school, he gets the right to make up all of his missed work, which he probably won’t ask about. But, if he does, the teacher has to provide it and take it later and grade it later.

Additionally, he will feel that the teacher gave him OSS when he earned it on his own accord. He will likely be even more spiteful and ugly when he returns to class next week.

I know, if my kid were suspended (well, we know that’s not going to happen), but if it did, she would have even worse punishment at home. It certainly would not be a vacation from school. And, I would be up at the school getting the work for them to complete at home (and I would request extra work, too).

So, out of school suspension: punishment or reward?

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  1. Definitely reward. WE had kids just like that in my school who WANTED to get OSS just to have a few days away. I think they should have to sit in a desk next to the principal wielding a big fat paddle for 3 days. Any lip and WHACK! across the behind. Sometimes old school is the way we should go!

  2. I say that depends on his home life. Sounds like he is acting out, probably out of deep hurt. “Bad” kids aren’t usually as bad as they think they are, they are usually just hurting on the inside. Sometimes they have no idea how to work through it all so they act out in anger and defensiveness and they hurt others before they themselves can be hurt again.
    Bless you for working there I pray that you would have the strength to love these kids through their tough walls.

  3. If a kid is acting out like that, I have a hard time believing there is any strict order at home to teach him any sort of appropriate behavior. This may not be the case, but this is how I’m taking it. So his being home, sadly enough, probably is more a reward to him.
    But in the long run, it will become a punishment (in life) if he continues to act out this way.

  4. They should make him stay in school extra hours 🙂

    I would say it is totally a reward. Our school only had in school suspensions, so you still had to sit in a special monitored room.

  5. It is probably a reward for him. Number one, he probably has no home life. His parents obviously don’t give a damn or else he probably wouldn’t be at a high-rick school in teh first place. He probably went home, laid on the couch, ate chips and watched TV all day. Punishment? I think not.

    However, if I had ever been suspended I would have gotten my ass beat and everything would have been taken away. Difference is… I had a home life. He does not.

    I hope you are on Zanax or something to deal with that BS all the time. I would have to be MAJORLY medicated.

  6. Oh did I mention that Calob got suspended yesterday again. So now the kid has a 4 day weekend. But you better bet your biscuits Richard has a list of things for him to do starting with picking up branches and raking the yard.

    Richard is going to call the prinicipal this morning and talk to her about them suspending Calob. Because we almost think that’s what he wants. We need a new plan.

    He just sits there and doesn’t do anything. He will not do his work. He refuses. He doesn’t talk or act out just refuses to do his work. He’ll be fine for a coupld of weeks and then one day something will trigger inside of him and he decides it’s a do nothing day.

    But with all that not doing anything he still made the A B Honor roll. How does that work?

  7. I have NEVER agreed with out of school suspension since the days my brother got it and would do the same thing…sleep in, watch television, goof off etc. In my opinion, the kids should serve suspension IN school somewhere, maybe sitting in the office, working on school work or reading all day.

  8. It sounds like reward for this student. In-school suspension definitely sounds more like punishment. I guess it also depends on the student.

  9. My vote is reward. My little Nephew has some issues (Learning disability issues) and well the school suspended him because he had a meltdown in class of huge porportions (4th grade) and well HE told his parents he was going to try hard to get suspended so that he could have off longer! Eventhough he was not allowed Tv and WII and all that he thought it was great spending the day in his room thinking about what he had done.

    I know it all depends on the home life but I bet THE TEEN is LOVING HIS little VACATION from SCHOOL! You are right he is probably home LIVING LARGE because seriously what are the parents really going to be able to do with him. They can punish him at home and take away every convience he has and I bet he still would not care and probably HE DOES NOT LISTENT TO A WORD HIS PARENTS say.

  10. Girl you deserve some major props for working with those conditions. I too know how you feel. When I worked in special education, I had the behavior children. It was more of a reward to get o.s.s. and the cycle kept repeating itself.

  11. I vote reward. If he doesn’t want to be there already, sending him HOME for something he did wrong was a reward.

    Love, Mere

  12. Sounds like a reward to me which is too bad. He needs to learn his lesson! I’ve never been suspended but I’m sure my parents would make it miserable for me! Seems to me like you should have some say in the punishment since you had to deal with the incident in the first place. Oh well maybe next time?

  13. I believe it’s more of a reward than a punishment for the same reasons everyone else does.

  14. Most likely he feels he is being rewarded for being a little snot! Maybe you could stop by his house and give him a big fat pile of homework to be completed before coming back??!! Although, stopping there may be a bit dangerous if he is like the rest of the little gangster wannabe’s!!

  15. Reward. I totally hear where you are coming from, too! But, unfortunately, his parents probably care as much about the whole episode as he does. And, he will end up raising kids (probably MANY more than ONE) just like HIM! Then that pattern will most likely continue…how unfortunate.

    You’re a brave soul though – I admire you!

  16. He is definitely being rewarded. I was learning about that in psychology. Basically, he hates school. By acting out, he doesn’t have to go to school. So, by giving him what he wants, they are most likely reinforcing his bad behavior and actually causing it to happen more frequently.

  17. For that kid, reward. For kids like ours…definite punishment. If my kids ever get suspended, they’ll be begging the school to let them back in! LOL

  18. total reward. i have never ever understood the thinking behind oss.

    and you my friend are a total saint for doing what you do.

  19. AND you work at a high risk school?! OMG! I give you SO much credit!!!

    It’s a reward 100%. In high school I was a huge trouble maker and I got OSS as often as I could! It was always a vacation! My friends would cut class and we’d have the week days to go do as we pleased.

    Most kids (not all) who are in high risk schools and on probation or juvenile parole have parents who aren’t necessarily that active in their lives. So, most of those kids do just spend there OSS sleeping in, hanging out with friends who were willing to cut class while they’re on OSS, etc.

    I’m not a fan of OSS and haven’t ever been. I think schools need to look into more ISS, because I hated that!

  20. First of all, you are an amazingly brave lady for being able to teach there! I thought it was something that you could even deal with high school kids, I didn’t know it was high risk too!
    I would say reward. Obviously, he must not be getting the discipline he needs at home so far, so I can’t imagine this would make any difference. I would agree that it should have at least been an in-school suspension. The extra hours sound better but would he show up early or would you be able to catch him before ducking out to stay late, I doubt it.

  21. I think they think it’s a reward. I know the kids I went to school with (a million years ago) that got suspended always thought they were super cool because it gave them a legit reason not to be at school.

  22. wow, that’s a great question. It totally is a reward for the kid. But what do you do? What’s the right answer? I certainly don’t have it, but it is a great question.

  23. Did he get the OSS because of what he did to you?? I think to him, it would be a reward… I doubt his parents are going to be home during the day, so he could do anything he pleases, including sleeping in and getting into more trouble… but I believe in Karma… who knows – maybe he will do something while he is on OSS and get thrown in jail or something?!?!

  24. I think that OSS is a reward…sleeping in, watching tv, no rules because the parents probably don’t care and/or they are at work. In high school they started giving In School Suspensions out more than Out of school suspensions. Making up homework…how is that right? It is like a mini-vacation for them!

  25. I think it depends on the kid. To me in school suspension is far more punishment that out of school. I never had one but a friend in high did and I heard you sit in a room all day looking at a wall. That would be rough!

  26. I never really understood the point of an OSS. Most parents work out of the home and are unable to take that day, or week off in order to dish out a punishment. So the child ends up doing exactly what you’ve described: sleep, watch tv, etc.

    I had an OSS while in Highschool. It was a one day thing. My mother took the day off and made me sit at the dining room table from 8am – 3pm doing school work (Accounting to be exact because I earned the OSS by skipping an entire month’s worth of Accounting classes). I was only allowed up to use the washroom. I was also grounded for a month. Gah, it was not fun. WHICH IS THE POINT!!

  27. There is something waiting for you over at my blog.

  28. Definately a reward…..just like what happens when my kids get sent to Discipline Alternative School. They come back with AWESOME grades!! What is going on there??

  29. MamaGeek @ Works For Us says:

    If that isn’t a reward I don’t know what is! 🙂

  30. Great for you doing high risk. Not so sure I could do it myself! “regular” high school was crappy enough!

    Oh yeah, and total reward. I too was cussed out, and hated that him cussing me out, got his “special” treatment.

    How is it that admin loose their mind and totally forget what it was like to be in the classroom the second they leave it. 🙂

  31. he would see it as a reward I’m sure. I did my student teaching in a school system kinda like yours. Not to that extreme…our kids were not on probation, but everytime I heard about a kid getting suspended….it would make me mad. Like great…give the kid what he WANTS!

    I hope next week goes okay for you! good luck!

  32. Reward.

    You know what I do? I worked in an urban school, dealing with similar issues, and it made me realize that I was a better parent based on my experiences.

    When my son, whom hated story time, and on purpose threw a fit to get out of the situation. WE STAYED. For punishment to get him through it.

    You are a better parent because of observing situations such as this. Have you ever thought about that?

  33. I have always thought that suspension for most of the kids who get it is a reward! I hope this kid isn’t out starting trouble, but the chances are he probably is. I didn’t realize you working in a high school like that, wow you are much more brave than I am and Kudos to you for that!

  34. Unfortunately I’m gonna go with bad idea. I think he should be at school, just in a detention like room for those 3 days. And all he can do is work on school work for those 3 days.

    That other just sounds like “paid vacation” to me…

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