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Mother: Son’s punishment at school was inappropriate

Published: Tue, June 26, 2012 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



A mother of a Market Street Elementary student addressed the school board about what she felt was inappropriate punishment given to her 7-year-old son.

Heidi Thompson wrote the board a letter saying her son, a first-grader at Market Street Elementary, was sent to a conference room off the school office as punishment for twisting a spoon wrapper in another students’ face.

Her son remained in the conference room without any learning materials, such as a book, for about five hours until Thompson arrived at the school at 1 p.m. for his school picnic June 8, the last day of school, Thompson said.

“The thing that I find the most irritating is there was an announcement made that morning that said if anyone [was] caught misbehaving, they would be sent home,” Thompson said in an interview with The Vindicator.

“I’m not against discipline. My thing was being appropriate with it and being fair and consistent,” she continued, saying the parents of other children who misbehaved were notified and could pick their children up early.

Her son, who was allowed to leave the conference room to use the bathroom, was “shaky and upset” when she picked him up, Thompson said.

Thompson asked the school board Monday night for a response to her letter, and board President Fred Davis said he had mailed his reply earlier Monday.

“We agreed with [the principal]. We didn’t see any neglect on his part. There was adult supervision,” Davis said.

Davis asked Thompson to read the board’s letter and make an appointment to meet with him, the superintendent and the school’s principal.

Thompson said she planned to do that, but that she was not satisfied with the board’s response Monday.

She said her son is planning to attend a different Boardman elementary school in the fall.

In other business, the board approved a three-year contract for Cynthia Fernback to serve as high school assistant principal.

Fernback has 22 years’ experience in education, teaches high school English and is the current summer-school principal in Boardman.

As assistant principal, she will draw an annual salary of $65,780.

With the hiring, the high school will have two assistant principals again.

The position was eliminated at the end of the 2010-11 school year when the person who had the post retired, said Tim Saxton, high school principal.

“Through other retirements and shuffling of other positions, we were able to reinstate that position with a $35,000 savings,” Saxton said.

The two assistant principals handle disciplinary problems for the high school’s roughly 1,600 students, Saxton said.

Fernback said she looks forward to taking the position and also serving as a role model for female students.

“My goals are really to assist the other administrators and to help take care of the little things, like tardiness and dress code,” she said.

The school board also scheduled a 6:30 p.m. July 12 special meeting to discuss finances.


1zz3(877 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I think this is why our school systems are so jacked up. Why not just let the kids write down on paper what they would like to do for the day to make them happy!!!! Get real. Good thing you weren't growing up in the 60's where you were paddled on a regular basis if you needed it, your neighbors disciplined you( and your parents made sure they did), I went to a Catholic school and you would think that was a torture chamber. Guess what?? We all did OK and survived, learned respect, learned discipline, parents disciplined us (no new wave friend crap), and our generation of kids had respect. Take a look around, do you see any respect or discipline from most of the kids today?? NO! That's because the parents of these children think they are above discipline. My opinion: the school did good. Check out the Niles Police Chiefs latest where he's holding the parents responsible for the misconduct of their kids KUDOS to him and I hope others catch on.

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2tlm14(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I am a parent of 2 Market street students and I can not say enough wonderful things about this school and our principal! When did we change our parenting strategy? Why are the kids always right? I knew if i got in trouble at school I was getting it 10 times worse when i got home. I was present the last day of school and this was not a ridiculous punishment. Who knows how the child behaved up until the point of punishment? We need to stand up for our teachers too. I am 100% in agreement that we need to advocate on behalf of our kids, but we can't lose sight of the fact that they are kids and screw up! Come on parents get your head out of the sand...

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3Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm just wondering does the kid have a farther or a man in the home
He was shaky and upset because he had to set in a room for 5 hours .
Maybe he should be home schooled

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4janeyblue(227 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

If the boy is only six,how did he make the decision to go to another school next year on his own ?" She said her son is planning to attend a different Boardman elementary school in the fall. " That's some mature thinking for a six year old. Mommy doesn't say how many times the boy was asked to stop his behavior. It's too bad we don't live in Laura Ingalls Wilder's era. The boy would be in the corner with a dunce cap on. if only the parents were made to do this...

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5beach4life(11 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

My son was a student at Market Street and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about that school. The principal is fair and I personally don't feel the punishment was inappropriate. I would question whether or not this student was in trouble before? It amazes me how some parents jump to blame the school when they need to be looking at their child and his/her behavior.

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6ncst(9 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Ridiculous. Mommy should be sent to the conference room for the day. The kid misbehaved and needed punishment!!!!!
Give me a break mom!

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7Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Wow I have never seen so many people agree on something . If it is not a first , it must be close .

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8AnotherAverageCitizen(1172 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I am guessing this child will run out of schools to attend by 12th grade.

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9bsdtwd(40 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

A perfect example of the new "blameless & shameless" generation. They can do no wrong as well their children. They've become smartphone robots who would rather stare at their stupid phone than properly raise their child. We're left with their kids who expect the world and expect nothing of themselves. Good luck America. The next couple generations aren't going to go down as one the greatest anytime soon.

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10shswildcat(9 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Can anyone tell me why our kids get SENT HOME for misbehavior? And the school, who deems the kid needs disciplined can't punish the infringement that was committed in their building against their rules?

Being sent home for bad behavior sounds like "paid vacation" to me, especially if parents are working and the kid is unattended at home once dropped off. Surprising that more kids Ain't Misbehavin'!

Aren't there any toilets that need cleaned at the school? The military, in my day and age, loved to have problem recruits scrub toilets and clean shower stalls/floor tiles with TOOTHBRUSHES, and if not done up to par, the problem children needed to re-do the job until done right. (Can you imagine the lawsuits in that scenario if this or some similarly unpleasant but necessary chore were implemented as punishment to problem children in our schools?)

Scrubbing toilets seems to be a much less violent punishment than the PADDLE! (doesn't it?!)

I'm laughing in writing, but I seriously want to SCREAM or CRY every time I see or hear a parent rebel "privately" or publicly against a school's attempt at discipline within their 4 walls. WHAT ARE WE TEACHING OUR KIDS?

Bottom line, we adults need to support each other in teaching our kids right from wrong, Whether it's teachers, neighbors, police, or other parents involved in that process, let's GET REAL and quit defending our kids who don't follow the rules made for their own good.

I always told my kid, back in the day, when my kid, his friends, or other parents felt the punishment at school was too severe or unfair--WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, IT'S A LOT SIMPLER TO FOLLOW THE RULES THAN TO BREAK THEM.

It may take awhile for our kids to grow up, but consistency in having and enforcing consequences for misbehavior in all environs of a young person's life might, just might, make a big difference for the better..

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11USMC0331(150 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

My child would have been shakey and upset too. After the ass whooping he would've received. When i went there you got paddled and i'm not that old. They should bring that back.......oh wait we wouldn't want to hurt the future burglars, robbers and killers feelings.

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12nupanther(18 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't see where this kid was left unattended anywhere in the article. In fact board president Davis says there was adult supervision

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13tebo12(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

There is much, much more to this story.

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14Old_School(39 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@tebo12. What more to this story is their? The kid misbehaved and got "sent to his room" Big deal, been there myself and have sent my kids often!

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