School Problems:
“My son's school really blew it on this one.”

Dear Annie,

My son (10 years old) just returned from an outdoor education trip with his class. Apparently the boys were exceedingly noisy in their tents (12+ boys in each cabin/tent with no adult chaperone -- the teachers slept elsewhere). As a result, the teachers took away the boys' privilege of visiting the gift shops. (The girls in the class got to go.) Another tent of boys who also wouldn't settle down were told to vote out the noisiest person... they did and that boy was moved to another tent! I'm questioning the punishment for all because of the behavior of a few... what do you think? My sensitive boy was quite sad about the way this was handled and couldn't quite make sense of it.

Perplexed Mom

Dear Perplexed Mom,

I'm not at all surprised that 10 year old boys let their excitement of being all together in a new place without an adult in their midst get out of hand. How else would they behave? I'm wondering if they were informed of the expectation for quiet before they went to bed? Were they given any warnings when the noise levels first got too high? If this was really such a grievous and unacceptable infraction of the rules, then why wasn't there an adult in charge to prevent it from happening? I also don't see the connection between the "crime" and the "punishment". Makes no sense. I'm wondering if there's another side of the story. Maybe the adult who doled out the punishment was sleep-deprived and grumpy and was just being arbitrary. Not great role-modeling in my opinion.

As for the second case... Why would any adult encourage kids to single out someone for exclusion? Wow, that's just hurtful. And also, bad role-modeling. So, are you planning to talk to the school about what happened? And, how have you handled this with your son?

In friendship,

Annie

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