Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Classroom Crayons

Around mid-afternoon the phone rang. Matt, just in from a business trip, picked up. From his tone, I could sense that something was wrong, but just couldn't figure out what. It wasn't big, like illness or death, but more like something he was surprised about. At the same time he was using his "I'm taking this seriously" tone. I don't hear that combination so often.

"That was the office at Baxter's school," he told me. Asthma problem? I immediately thought. "Ummm, Baxter was sent to the Assistant Principal for...breaking classroom crayons." Why did I immediately smirk? Breaking classroom crayons?? "There was a sub, apparently, and the sub sent him to the office." Oooo-kay. Can I remind you that the child is 6? "He had to write a note about it, and he'll bring that home."

I spent the hour before Baxter got home trying to decide if I was supposed to be upset. But the phrase "breaking classroom crayons" only made me crack up. I like the emphasis on them being classroom crayons - as Matt pointed out, these weren't his own crayons from home he was breaking - oh, no, they were the classroom crayons. (Which we parents had to purchase at the beginning of the year, incidentally.)

Now, I'm not in favor of destroying others' property, and I don't condone the breaking of classroom anything. But, seriously, these are very young children!

Baxter said he and a friend just started mindlessly breaking a few crayons at the Writing Center. He doesn't know why. As far as he knows, there was no warning, no substitute asking them to stop before sending them to the principal. So we didn't make a big deal about it; asked him what it was like, how he felt (he didn't seem too upset by the whole thing), and then took him to the store where he bought some new classroom crayons with money from his piggy bank.

Matt found his note in the backpack tonight. It reads:

"I am in the office because I broke craons in shool."

So tell me: is this type of vigilance good because it nips bad school behavior in the bud at an early age? Or do you see it the way I do, that a child young enough to spell like that is too young to be sent to the principal's office?


Shan said...

Oooh, sad. Tiny kids are tiny kids. They deserve to be told, "We don't break crayons at school." I would think that would be sufficient. Sheesh! Why treat a 6-year-old like a defiant teenager? Ridiculous.

Christopher Tassava said...

Man. That's unbelievable, like the kindergartener who was arrested after she caused a ruckus that the teacher couldn't control.

In this case, I think it's the sub's fault - s/he clearly didn't know how to handle this very minor situation. (Heaven help the kids if someone has a serious problem, medical or behavioral - s/he'll probably call the Department of Homeland Security or something). Since this is hardly "bad behavior" (except to the most martinet-ish substitute), I'd say this "vigilance" is overreaction. But I do like your remedy of making B. pay for replacement "craons."

Becky said...

seriously? the principal's office? this says much more about the sub's inability to manage a situation than it does about the appropriateness of Baxter's behavior. And way to go Baxter--it took me until my senior year of high school to have the principal's office call my parents!

kristen said...

This gave me a bit of a chuckle. My five-year-old son has a pretty bad fine motor delay and his occupational therapists are always telling him to BREAK THE CRAYONS!! So he does, without fail—regardless of who the crayons actually belong to. (short crayons help isolate and strengthen the muscles needed to properly grasp a pencil).

Thanks for stopping by my blog tonight. I look forward to reading more on yours!