The other day, I received a call from my daughter’s school. Since it was the middle of the day, I knew this wasn’t a good thing. Perhaps, she was sick or hurt. I was surprised when it was the principal on the other end of the line. Another little girl said she was going to a secret hiding spot and invited my daughter to come. My daughter went along with it and hid under the teacher’s work room desk with the other little girl…during lunchtime. Her teacher immediately noticed the girls weren’t on the yard and her, along with a bunch of the other staff, started looking for her. They even said the girls’ names over the loud speaker. Finally, my daughter decided to come out. Then, she had to go to the principal’s office. It was then that I got “the call.” Here are a few tips on what to do when your child is sent to the principal’s office.
It’s important to get to the bottom of the who? what? when? why? and how? Find out where the event happened and with who. Was there proper supervision on the playground? How can we prevent this from happening again?
Although I wasn’t too happy that my daughter went missing, I tried to be supportive. What my daughter did was wrong. As an experienced teacher myself, I had situations when kids would physically hurt another child…without being provoked. It always amazed me when the parent would try to make excuses for their child or try to get their child out of the punishment. If you do feel the school was in the wrong, you should make it known and have a meeting with the principal.
Since my daughter is in kindergarten, the school isn’t being too tough on her. She has to spend some time in the principal’s office talking about her behavior and missing lunch playtime. However, she also lost some privileges at home and I had her write apology letters to the school staff.
When the Issue is Serious
While I was teaching, I had students who acted out through violence such as hitting or slamming down desks. We worked with these children so that I could have a positive relationship with them and help them work through their anger. When your child is sent to the principal’s office for fighting, stealing or defiance, it might be time to seek outside help, especially if it happens more than once. One intervention that I like is called social and emotional learning, or SEL. According to yesmagazine.com, SEL, “develops students’ skills in recognizing and discussing emotions, relating to and empathizing with others, and defusing and resolving conflict.” This can help students talk about their emotions in a safe environment.
The event is done. My daughter is generally well-behaved so I’m hoping this is a one time thing. I’m not going to hold a grudge and I don’t think the staff at school will either. When your child gets in trouble, don’t treat your child like a bad kid. Talk about it, give a consequence and then move on.
Take Preventative Measures
One of the biggest things I wanted my daughter to understand was what she did was dangerous. She could have gotten hurt and no one would have known. Then, I went through some other possible scenarios that kids might urge her to do (for example, what happens when a child asks her to leave campus or have a water fight in the bathroom). Most importantly, we talked about saying no and not following other children’s bad examples. With younger kids, it’s important of them to realize there is a time to play games (like hide and seek) and a time not to (don’t hide when no one is playing hide and seek).
When I was about five, I was in my father’s class for summer’s school. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to pull the fire alarm. While the fire department didn’t come, I did have to go to the principal’s office. I started thinking how my daughter was following in my footsteps. I was a good kid. In fact, it only took one visit to the principal’s office for me to realize I never wanted to go back. Then I remembered some of the other times I got in trouble or did some less-than-smart things. I’m wondering what other not-so-great behaviors my daughter might have picked up from my gene pool.
Payback can be a real….well, you know.
More from Melissa:
5 Characteristics of Good Elementary Schools (and How to Spot Bad Ones)
What Do Teachers Really Do After School?
4 Reasons I Don’t Want My Kids to Grow Up