Your child is one minute late to school. No biggie right? You drop him off, thinking nothing of it – only to have him come home crying and humiliated.
Later you learn he was punished for his tardiness and forced to eat lunch alone. And get this! Behind a cardboard divider, at a cafeteria table with a cup marked with the letter “D” for detention. How traumatizing!
This is what happened to a 6-year-old boy named Hunter at Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon. His mother Nicole Garloff – who, according to Daily Mail, suffers from osteoporosis and has frequent car trouble – dropped him off one minute late to school that day. She says her condition is painful and makes it hard for her to get up in the morning.
There are no alternatives to get to school, adds NewsWatch 12 in Southern Oregon. Hunter reportedly lives too close to the school to ride the bus, his parents told the TV news station, and can’t walk to school due to busy roads.
After Hunter’s grandmother, Laura Hoover, posted photos of him on Facebook eating alone behind the screen, the public became outraged and complained to the principal. The principal responded quickly by arranging a meeting, Daily Mail noted, which was held soon after to reach a resolution.
NewsWatch 12 says Superintendent John Higgins explained there is “no district-wide tardy protocol” and that each elementary school principal sets a system. He adds that the focus of each program is not discipline but to get students caught up on what they missed.
Some commenters, like Frank Johnson, point out that tardiness impacts other students too. “Coming to school late disrupts the class he goes into, causes extra work for the teacher, school staff and administrators – all because the parents are irresponsible. I have been there as a high school administrator, and it is usually the same late person – not once or twice but 15, 20, 30 times,” he says.
However, like many who flooded social media with backlash, Bob Thomas feels this was outright wrong. “A 6-year-old child has no control on what time his parents get him to school. It is harassment and bullying by school officials to make that child be put on display and made to eat by himself,” he argues on the NewsWatch 12 article.
Hunter’s parents agreed, according to NewsWatch 12, which notes, “Sometimes Hunter isn’t ready, but most often the tardiness is not his fault.”
While Higgins says the program is to get students “caught up,” it’s clear the outrage has made an impact. In fact, the district posted an explanation to Lincoln Elementary’s website, that it’s “reviewing alternative approaches.”
Good. Because those Facebook photos don’t show any missed classwork. They only show a boy being publicly shamed for something he had no control over.
I drop my daughter off late to kindergarten sometimes and I can’t imagine her being isolated during lunchtime for my poor time management skills. It’s never her fault because she is a minor and I should be more responsible as a parent.
You parents who have driven your child to school late before: How would you feel if this was your child?
Photo from the Facebook account of Laura Hoover