Mom Furious at School's Creative Punishment for Student Who Refused to Be Quiet in Class


A bit of old fashioned hard work can go a long way in building character — but when it comes to doing chores as a punishment, how far is “too far?”

That’s the question a Florida school is facing after teachers allegedly told a student to scrub floors with a toothbrush.

According to KPHO News, a 7-year-old elementary student who was repeatedly misbehaving was given a menial task that some are questioning as excessive.

“Family members say she was forced to do this throughout the day and was not able to participate in regular classroom activities,” reported the news station.

“The family says they were not made aware of the misbehavior or the punishment their daughter received. The parents only found out after their 7-year-old was complaining of back pain after school and they asked why she was in so much pain,” the outlet continued.

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Ashley Kirpech, the child’s mother, indicated that she might have understood a less demanding punishment, but that the hours-long physical task crossed the line.

“She could of rearranged your bookshelf, sorted the books in ABC order, she could have done any of that but on the floor was just unacceptable,” Kirpech said.

The girl’s father expressed similar frustration with the school.

“You would think when you send your child to school that this is going to be the last thing you would hear happening to your child, but here we are,” Kenneth Gamble said.

Was this punishment appropriate for a 7-year-old?

Officials from the school district acknowledged that they were looking into the issue.

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations regarding two teachers at Lake Alfred Elementary,” a statement from Polk County schools explained. “We have begun a formal investigation, and both teachers have been placed on administrative leave.”

While that investigation is still ongoing, the district admitted that if the punishment happened as the parents allege, it almost certainly was against school policies.

“Our schools are required to follow a Code of Student Conduct; it is expected that all disciplinary measures be handled in a manner that is respectful to the student and preserves their dignity,” the statement continued.

“If true, the allegations described at Lake Alfred Elementary are completely unacceptable.”

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In many ways, a bit of “tough love” would go a long way with today’s youth. Learning the value of hard work — and the consequences of one’s actions — are lessons that are sorely lacking in modern culture.

With that said, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to teach these lessons. Discipline and learning about chores should come from the home first, and it seems that the parents were the last people to know about this issue.

By the same token, school policies exist for a reason. Making sure that disciplinary actions are even-handed and appropriate is the administration’s job, but they may have dropped the ball in this case.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.