Suspended for cartwheels

An 11-year-old girl was suspended for doing cartwheels during lunch period at her Southern California school. School officials said the girl’s cartwheels and hand stands were unsafe; she’d ignored orders to stop. Her parents will teach her at home until they can find a school that tolerates playing on the playground.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. I know I want to send my kids to a school that orders them to stop taking chances.
    /sarcasm off.

  2. You can’t make this stuff up.

  3. I have two words for this: insurance liability. Not that the children could get hurt, but that the school will get sue when they do.

    Yet another facet of our litigious society.

  4. How about this, why don’t we have children ride around in wheelchairs with big rubber bumpers so they won’t get hurt? Makes perfect sense. I mean, walking is tiring, you could trip on those shoe laces, slip, twist your ankle, run into someone. Better yet, why don’t schools turn to tele-learning so kids never have to leave home? That’d save all sorts of bucks in insurance.

    Schools have to let kids be kids, and parents have to realize that the schools can’t control every little thing.

  5. Richard Nieporent says:

    I have a better solution, bubble wrap!

    Clearly, intelligence or even common sense is not a requirement for a school administrator.

  6. Well the news story does say they were “dangerous” cartwheels. Maybe she was doing them with a knife. I did go to public school and things weren’t this insane. Maybe that’s why I have my daughter in private school.

  7. Richard – Bubble Wrap, I like it! Hey, maybe someone could call it “Child Safety Wrap” and make some bucks.

  8. While the report suggests the administrators are obtuse, they also published it without talking to the administrators involved. This kind of journalism has become routine, but it’s sloppy.

    Look at the way it works. A TV station posts a provocative story/promo on its website with a come-on to watch the news for “more.”

    Then Joanne links to it so everyone can go “tsk-tsk.” All that for a story that wouldn’t pass muster in an introductory newswriting course. [And, yes, I’ve taught that course.]

  9. I just read this story on Drudge and said to my self, “I bet this is on Joanne’s site by now!” So it is…

    As a teacher, I see another side that needs to be discussed. The girl had been warned numerous times to stop doing cartwheels and handstands at lunch, and she deliberately disobeyed because she didn’t agree with the admin. Well guess what? She broke a school rule on purpose and deserves to be punished!

    If she disagreed with the school’s stand on the issue, she or her parents could have taken it up the chain of command, but instead she chose defiantly doing what she wanted. Today at school, I had a student deliberately defy me, and it made me mad. As a parent, if your kid didn’t agree with your decision, do they have the right to continue disobeying? Not in my house!

    I think that the school’s position on gymnastics is ludicrous, but the girl was warned that her actions would warrant punishment. I think she got what she deserved.

  10. “I think that the school’s position on gymnastics is ludicrous, but the girl was warned that her actions would warrant punishment. I think she got what she deserved.”

    I don’t the hoopla over this is over the fact that the girl was punished because she defied authority, but rather that the authority was doing something stupid. Kids should be held accountable when they don’t listen to teachers. Likewise, administrators should be held accountable when they ludicrous things.

  11. Maybe instead of suspending her they should have just zapped her with a taser and watch her cartwheels degenerate into a twitching mound. By other news accounts, that’s an acceptable form of discipline now.

  12. Correction on my last post: It should read “I don’t *think* the hoopla…”

  13. Mike in Texas says:

    I have to admit on the surface this story seems ridiculous but then again the article is only about what’s on the surface.

    Where was the child doing cartwheels? In the cafeteria during lunchtime? That would be a completely different story.

  14. Jill, do you, by any chance live at Parris Island? If you had only one student deliberately defy you today, you may be in the running for Teacher of the Year. Or perhaps you only know of one and there are another dozen you didn’t discover?

    This country was founded by people who no longer wished to obey stupid rules. You shouldn’t be surprised when their offspring display the same behaviour. The usual response is to stop making stupid rules. But if you prefer to appear the fool, that is your choice. I fear you’re burning out. I know I would burn out as a teacher because it is a tough job dealing with defiant little brats each day. But kids don’t seem to change till they have to get a job.

  15. Mr. Davis – No, I happen to live in Texas and teach high school. In my 15 years of teaching I have never had a student outright defy me until yesterday. I have students argue with me, then eventually back down, but never defy me and walk off. Fortunately she walked right to the principal’s office.

    I treat my students with respect and do not run a rigid classroom. Since they are high schoolers, I tell them that since they feel as if they are almost adults, I will treat them as such. If they act like children, however, I will treat them like children. The young lady in my class yesterday has been defying everyone lately and is about to been “sent somewhere” according to her mom. It really makes it hard as a teacher to call home saying there is a discipline problem in the classroom and the parent says, “We’re having the same kind of problem at home and we don’t know what to do.”

    I put up with a lot of childish stuff in my classroom sometimes, but there are some things I will not tolerate, and one of them is defiance. The girl in the article defied authority and was punished for it. Kids are more likely to defy stupid rules, but defiance is defiance.

  16. Richard Nieporent says:

    Adrian, you are correct. We are commenting on the stupidity of the school administrators for making such a ridiculous rule, and not on the fact that the student had defied authority. By changing the subject to one of disobeying an order, some of the posters are missing the point of our comments.

    Good try Mike, but the student was not doing cartwheels in the cafeteria! The story clearly states that it was outside in the playground.

    They said gymnastics on the playground creates an unsafe situation.

    “I thought they were absolutely weird, because I see other kids playing baseball and soccer and I think that’s more dangerous than gymnastics,” Faegre said.

  17. Walter E. Wallis says:

    We really do have to consider the insurance liability issue. Perhaps parents could purchase higher coverage on student insurance to allow such daredevil play as tag and cartwheels – students to carry proof of insurance at all times.

  18. The story clearly states…

    The story isn’t a story, as I pointed out earlier. This is a single source report coming from the kid and her parents. Maybe they got everything exactly right–but the report does not include any other source. The reporter did not talk to school officials. The report uses the child and parents as the source for what the administrators said and did.

    Now I don’t know exactly what happened about the cartwheeling student at this school, but neither does anyone else here. This kind of discussion gives blogs a bad name.

  19. John – Should something NOT be told simply because one side refused to say something? “Calls to school administrators went unanswered.” In my book this is not quite the same thing as just not talking to school administrators. Attempts to get their side of the story were made, but they were rebuffed. Do I think I’m getting the complete story? No, but I am acting on the information I have.

    “This kind of discussion gives blogs a bad name.” When you apply professional journalistic standards to the blogosphere than yes it does, but *bloggers aren’t journalists.* They don’t have the same standards of objectivity and fairness that the MSM has (though rarely complies with.) What makes the blogosphere work as a distiller of the truth is that individual bloggers bring their biases, opinions, and expertise in on a subject and a huge, heated, messy debate occurs. It is in this process that the wheat is separated from the chaff, and far more accurately since hundreds of minds were in on the process, rather than the relatively few hands which touch a story in the MSM.

    It’s a wonderful example of decentralized collective intelligence. A thousand minds each contributing a bit to a problem are far more powerful than a few individuals, even if those individuals are intellectual titans. The Bush Memo controversy at CBS is a perfect example of this. The blogosphere was able to draw on the individual expertise of military secretaries, typography specialists, and ordinary people curious enough to say, “what happens if I type this memo using MS Word Defaults?” Individually, these blogs were throwing out speculation left and right at first, but then people started to figure out piece by piece what was true, and that was distilled into the revelation that the memos were indeed fraudulent. Was the process messy? Absolutely. Were a lot of blogs wrong on the facts? Absolutely. Did the organ of the blogosphere find the truth that CBS missed? Absolutely. So the blogosphere works, just not in the same neat, centrally-controlled way that traditional news organizations work.

  20. Mike in Texas says:

    Richard, the article states:

    They said gymnastics on the playground creates an unsafe situation.

    It never says that’s where she was doing them.

    We recently had a similar story posted on the front page of a local newspaper. The story was about a mom who was angry b/c 5th grade son who had been caught with weed at school was detained by school officials for two hours. The article made it seem the school officials and local police were just shy of being Nazis and barely mentioned the fact the child had brought drugs to school.

    Sometimes newspapers don’t put in ALL the facts of the story.

  21. Richard Nieporent says:

    They said gymnastics on the playground creates an unsafe situation.
    It never says that’s where she was doing them.

    You are kidding right, Mike? The very next sentence states:

    “I thought they were absolutely weird, because I see other kids playing baseball and soccer and I think that’s more dangerous than gymnastics,” Faegre said

    What can be clearer than that? Either you are incapable of understanding a simple sentence or you teach sophistry.

    Except for the fact that it concerns a student and a school, what does your story have to do with this one, and why are you so determined to support the school administration?

  22. Richard Nieporent says:

    Go easy on him Adrian. If you go onto his website you will see that John L. is still in mourning from the election.

  23. A Red Mind in a Blue State says:

    I’m weighing in with the school here– the issue is does an 11 year old have the right to disobey school authorities after 5 warnings? I don’t think so.

    And if her continuing was an act of civil disobedience, then let’s all remember that part of civil disobedience is accepting freely (and without whining) the punishment. We are so used to “civil disobedience” rallies, handcuffing to fences etc., with no punishment being meted out, that we’re surprised when a protestor suffers after breaking the law. It’s part of it.

    Kid shoulda listened.

  24. Richard Nieporent says:

    A Red Mind

    As Paul Newman said: “What we have here is a failure to communicate. I am not disagreeing with you. Please go back and read my (and Adrian’s) previous posts. For example:

    Adrian, you are correct. We are commenting on the stupidity of the school administrators for making such a ridiculous rule, and not on the fact that the student had defied authority. By changing the subject to one of disobeying an order, some of the posters are missing the point of our comments.

    I will say it one more time and then I will shut up. Nobody is saying that the girl should not obey the school. Of course she should. All I was commenting on was the fact that the school should not have made such a rule in the first place.

  25. All I was commenting on was the fact that the school should not have made such a rule in the first place. [Posted by Richard Nieporent]

    There you go again. It’s not “a fact” that the school made such a rule. There’s no authoritative source in the story for what the rule was.

    Let’s say that parents expect school authorities to exercise reasonable precautions on the playground to minimize injuries to students. Let’s say that performing gymnastics without pads to fall on or without a spotter to catch you is beyond the reasonable risks that parents in general would tolerate. In that case, the rule wouldn’t be “no cartwheels”–the rule would be: don’t put yourself at risk of injury when I (the playground supervisor) will be held responsible.

    My guess is that if the girl had injured herself doing gymnastics on asphalt, her activist parents would have been all over the authorities for neglect.

    This story is a story only if you already firmly believe that all school administrators are born idiots.

  26. >My guess is that if the girl had injured herself doing gymnastics on asphalt, her activist parents would have been all over the authorities for neglect.

    I’ll quote myself on this one: Schools have to let kids be kids, and parents have to realize that the schools can’t control every little thing.

    It’s not JUST the school administrators who are responsible for stuff like this, also litigious parents who think the school should be culpable for everything that happens on campus, whether its the school’s fault or not.

    What I’m annoyed with in this story is the fact that a girl was told not to do cartwheels in the first place. This reeks of overprotection on the school’s part. When she had to be told five time, she earned whatever punishment she got.

    As for what is fact in this story, I’m considering what the girl says factual until it is brought into doubt by a rebuttal from the school. So far, the school has not chosen to speak on this, to my knowledge, and therefore nothing is in dispute.

  27. Adrian, please…. A self-righteous 11-year-old girl is to be assumed to provide a “factual” report on a matter of self-interest? I’ll assume you’ve never had children.

  28. John – Should have said “the girl and her family” in my last post. An omission on my part.

    As for the factuality of whether she was told not to do cartwheels, the parents probably heard that from both the school and their daughter, and that’s why they’re backing her on this. If she’d told them one thing and the school another as to why this whole thing started, she probably would have gotten a big lecture about lying.

    Again, I’ve said this before, the school is free to rebut any- and everything the girl and her family has said, in which case I’ll weigh the evidence differently.