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A Violation of Bullying and Corporal Punishment Policies? (Read 714 times)

    I had the same "this is ridiculous" reaction as everyone else, so I did a Google search to see if I could find more details because nothing about it sounded like bullying or corporal punishment to me.  But, if this Education Week blog post  and the Des Moine Register article are true, then it leads me to believe there's more to this story than making a kid run a couple laps.   The Des Moine Register article includes past complaints about this guy and he sounds like a jerk to me, but maybe this is typical high school football coach stuff.

     

    This is kind of what I was thinking --- that we can't really judge without knowing the whole story.  Punishing a coach for making kids run a couple of laps would be extreme, yes.  But --- this seemed to be 30 minutes of hill sprints and calisthenics that this kid alone was asked to perform, not a team punishment or a punishment of kids who slacked off or messed up a play on the field.  Again, 30 minutes might not be too much, but we don't know the details.

     

    I think there is a real tendency --- encouraged by the way media presents certain cases --- to denigrate efforts to prevent bullying based on seemingly extreme cases, and I think it's something to be careful with.  The problem is that we don't hear about the many, many cases of the asshole coach who does bully kids because of his or her own issues.  We only hear about that sort of thing when a kid ends up in the hospital.  We don't hear about the group of kids who make the lives of other kids at their school miserable --- until as happened some years ago in Cleveland the bullied kid ends up killing herself and the bullies come to the funeral to mock her and her family.  The kinds of situations that I'm talking about are not harmless teasing, but rather behavior that among adults would be rightly called criminal and dealt with by law enforcement.  Often, these situations can't go on without the at least tacit permission of other adults, and this is what needs to change.  Teaching kids --- including bystanders --- not to accept bullying but rather to work through proper channels to get it resolved IS preparing them for the real world, because that's how the real world is supposed to work (and often does if you have the guts to stand up and confront it).

     

    This has nothing to do with being tough or asking a lot from kids.  I ask the young runners I coach for a lot of effort, and they are delivering.  At 9-10 years old, they are running at least 5 miles at practice 3x per week, and most are running extra on weekends and/or doing other sports.  The reason that I'm coaching this year is that last year, they had an XC coach who had them running much less volume, but almost all in the form of suicides and other sprints designed to be unpleasant.  Practice was 90 minutes of this guy screaming at the kids that he didn't care if it hurt, they had to be tough and if they were injured then it meant they were weak and they were letting their team down (keep in mind these are 4th and 5th graders).  I and several other parents complained to the administration, and this guy was asked not to coach any more.  At our first meet this year, the boys team won more individual and team awards than they did all of last year, and they are all running faster and having much more fun (yesterday we did strides on grass after our run, and the kids liked them so much they kept asking to do more).  So I guess I think I'm doing more to prepare these kids to succeed in the real world than the guy who screamed at them. 

      Great post, Mark. 

        I'm impressed that you can get a group of 10 year olds running 5+miles at a crack.  It's probably not easy to get a group of kids interested in that.  But once you've got the momentum I'm sure they will appreciate the rewards for their efforts. 

         

        I hope nobody says you are being cruel and extreme in doing that.

         

        My wife and I did pull our son out of 9 year old flag football one season.  That's the last he ever played football.  He lost all interest in it.  An assistant coach was getting to the point of mocking and belittling the kdis for poor technique.  When we told the head coach why he sighed and said we were not the only ones to complain about this guy.  And yet he still was an assistant because his son was one of the better players.  I certainly did not expect that from a 9 year old flag football league.  You don't build those kids up by trying to embarass them for being in the wrong place on a play.  My son had a great 9 year old baseball coach by comparrison.  I almost never heard "Don't do that", it was more "Do it this way". 

         

        But a teenager can learn different lessons than a 9 year old. 

        In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

        http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

         

         

         


        Queen of 3rd Place

          Some eye-opening posts here. Mark, your story about the funeral is horrifying. The connection you make from that to a sadistic coach...ouch, it sort of sticks. You've made a good case for being diligent. 

          Ex runner

             

            This has nothing to do with being tough or asking a lot from kids.  I ask the young runners I coach for a lot of effort, and they are delivering.  At 9-10 years old, they are running at least 5 miles at practice 3x per week, and most are running extra on weekends and/or doing other sports.  The reason that I'm coaching this year is that last year, they had an XC coach who had them running much less volume, but almost all in the form of suicides and other sprints designed to be unpleasant.  Practice was 90 minutes of this guy screaming at the kids that he didn't care if it hurt, they had to be tough and if they were injured then it meant they were weak and they were letting their team down (keep in mind these are 4th and 5th graders).  I and several other parents complained to the administration, and this guy was asked not to coach any more.  At our first meet this year, the boys team won more individual and team awards than they did all of last year, and they are all running faster and having much more fun (yesterday we did strides on grass after our run, and the kids liked them so much they kept asking to do more).  So I guess I think I'm doing more to prepare these kids to succeed in the real world than the guy who screamed at them. 

             

            Most definitely! 

             

            Glad to hear your coaching is going well!

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