Remember back in the day during your younger years when it seemed like a good idea to taunt your fellow classmates with things like spitballs, punching them in the hallway on the way to class, or giving them atomic wedgies? Or when you thought it was a good idea to pull those senior pranks because all the cool kids were doing it?
Well, you were probably lucky enough to get away with it most of the time, but when you weren’t and got caught, you likely had to clean the blackboard at best, or at worst go to the principle’s office for detention. When it was an absolutely egregious offence you might have even had the pleasure of a stay at home suspension. Those were the good old days when kids could get away with nearly anything from shaving creaming each other, to goldfish in the stairwell to cherry bombs blowing up the toilet system. Today it’s a lot harder to be a kid, from helicopter parents, to metal detectors in high schools, to endless meaningless testing— the stress builds until they decide to cut loose like you did back in the day for way lamer reasons.
And while kids have always been, and will continue to absolutely be a pain in the ass to deal with from time to time, especially in high school where they have the advantage of numbers in their favor, that doesn’t mean teachers can do whatever they want to restore order. Unfortunately, this urge to maintain discipline has led some educators to go beyond the limits of reason with the punishments that they dole out for bad behaviour.
Here are 15 of the most overboard school punishments that went way too far.
15. Wipe That Smile Off Your Face
Remember all the fun you used to have when taking a yearbook photo, the dressing up, the glitz, the glam, the good times smiling and all? Well, for one fifteen-year-old student, her smile was too powerful for the yearbook and after seeing the first draft of prints, the school decided to eliminate her from the final copy. Despite her elimination from the yearbook, she was allowed to use the same photo for her school ID. Interestingly, the school informed her that if she wanted to be in the yearbook at all, that she would need to take another photo as a replacement. At least for the second photo the school offered to pay for it. It’s still not clear as to the motivations of the school for making her redo the photo, but the suspicion is that her smile was too bright for the boring administrators. Jealousy is a powerful thing.
14. Pop-Tart Gun Suspension
We all play with our food from time to time, and kids are more guilty of this than anyone, but one student, Josh Welch, went too far for his teacher to handle. Josh was eating his pop-tart and trying to turn it into a landscape shot of a mountain. This is pretty hard to do with a pop-tart, and his first attempt looked so much like a gun, that Josh decided to roll with it, and started pretend shooting his fellow classmates with the pastry weapon. The teacher couldn’t deal and so Josh was ultimately suspended for his violent bakery creations. In a further step of insanity, this incident actually made it to court, and the suspension was upheld by county circuit court judge Ronald Sikworth further proving that schools and teachers have gone completely insane.
13. Get In The Duffel Bag
A nine-year-old student with autism, Christopher Baker, was misbehaving in class, and in order to get him to tow the line, he was stuffed into a duffel bag and had the drawstring pulled tight and tied up around him. Later, when Christopher’s mother, Sandra, came to pick him up from school as usual, she was almost as traumatized as her son was when she heard his voice coming from the tied-up duffel bag. As if it wasn’t bad enough to realize that her child had been stuck in a bag for an undetermined amount of time, the most appalling part came when she noticed that the teacher’s aide was just nonchalantly standing there watching. Fortunately, Sandra had the wherewithal to complain to the district and an investigation ensued.
12. Lunch On The Floor
Charles Sumner Elementary school in New Jersey was the site of another ‘memorable’ incident. Some time in 2008, a student spilled a water jug on the floor of the lunchroom. Because of the punishment these students received, we’re going to hope that they did this on purpose and weren’t being punished for an accident. When vice principal Theresa Brown saw what had happened, she made 16 fifth grade students eat their lunch off of the floor— for 10 days after the incident occurred.
After learning of Brown’s lengthy and unethical disciplinary tactics, parents of seven of the students sued the school and won a settlement of $500,000. Even more ridiculous is that students who weren’t even present for the initial water-dropping episode were also forced to eat lunch off of the floor when they returned to school.
11. What Happens When You Disrupt Class In Texas?
Turns out that there are many states in the union where it is still perfectly and fully legal to discipline students with corporal punishment. Texas is one case where that legal loophole is still in place. But then again, we’re talking about Texas, so it’s less surprising that they would go their own way. A mother was outraged when her son came home with bruises on his rear-end. She then learned that he was paddled three times by his teacher at Robert E. Lee elementary school. Not only is the method questionable, but they also got creative with the way they delivered the punishment. The boy was beaten with the paddle three times for each occasion that he disrupted class, and the quantity of paddle lashes increased with each incident.
10. Don’t Fight, Hold Hands
Sometimes principals aren’t any better at properly disciplining students than young teachers are. Here, we look at one first year principal who caught two kids fighting. As a punishment, he forced them to sit in the middle of the quad and hold hands with one another. One can presume that his logic was aimed at promoting love and peace between the two boys (or something like that). We hope. Other students inevitably started insulting the pair of brawlers using homophobic slurs. Anyone who remembers what it was like in high school, at the height of immaturity, could have expected such a reaction and would have taken a more… traditional route. The event went viral on social media and when the parents caught word of the incident, they called for the ousting of the principal in question.
9. Child Threatens Peers With Bubbles
While many of the entries on this list are from Texas where there is a certain degree of pride in being lawless, this incident happened in Pennsylvania where a five-year-old kindergarten student was accused of being a terrorist when she threatened another student with her bubble gun – a hello kitty bubble gun no less. A school authority overheard the incident and decided to search through her backpack where no deadly weapon was recovered. Despite this, the kindergartener still received a ten day sentence for her audacity at bringing such a terrorist weapon to class. When her parents learned of the suspension, they hired a lawyer and the sentence for being a patriotic Hello Kitty supporter was reduced to a two day stint instead.
8. Stop Playing With Your Hair
Getting on the nerves of the teacher can be a sure-fire ticket to the principal’s office, or sometimes even home. Unfortunately for seven-year-old Lamya Cammon, when she wouldn’t stop playing with her braids in class, instead of being told to stop, or being sent away, she was called to the front of the class. What happened next is virtually every girl’s nightmare. Her teacher took a pair of scissors and snipped off one of Lamya’s braids. Apparently this was a fitting punishment for a fidgety child. Later, Lamya’s mother confronted the teacher about the incident, and was given a lackadaisical middling apology for the act. Lamya was eventually moved to a different classroom and the teacher was suspended without pay.
7. Child-Eating Monster Closet
Remember when you were young enough to believe that there might actually be a monster in your closet or under the bed? Well, some pre-kindergarten teachers in Houston, Texas decided to capitalize on this fear and exploit a janitor’s closet where they placed some unruly four-year-olds, as if that’s really a thing, and tell them that monsters were going to eat them. They then barricaded the door with their feet so when the kids would try and escape they could really drive the point home that they were in charge. One boy reportedly cried so hard he vomited. Fortunately these teachers were let go, but not before completely traumatizing an untold number of students.
6. Dog Cones Are The New Dunce Caps
One teacher in Florida (why this crap always happen in Florida and Texas, we may never know) decided that the best way to handle her unruly class and discipline the students that weren’t towing the line was to make them wear dog cones around their neck. While these cones are used for keeping dogs from chewing and licking away their stitches after a surgery, in this case, they were used to make her students feel less than human. It’s still not clear how this teacher thought she would get away with this kind of activity in the age of camera phones, because the students in the class started immediately taking photos of each other in the new age dunce caps and posting them to their social media accounts. When the parents and the school found out about this new take on an old form of punishment, the teacher was suspended without pay.
5. Tardiness Will Get You In Jail
Diane Tran was an honors student working as a full time student with two part time jobs on the side to support her family. And as it turns out being an overachiever is a crime in this part of Texas because due to her insane schedule to help her family and achieve for herself Diane missed 11 days of school in a six month period. State law requires that there be no more than 10 unexcused absences in that time, and for her punishment Diane was charged with a misdemeanor and jailed for 24 hours. Later a judge did in fact drop the charges,and no word yet on what happened when she missed work while spending time behind bars.
4. Dress Code Violator Sent Home By Police
Being a student is never easy, and it only gets harder when you’re a student who’s family lacks the funds to help you meet certain social requirements. This fact was made all too clear for a particular five-year-old student who wasn’t wearing the right color shoes. The child was taken out of class and brought home— by the police. The child’s parent’s couldn’t put together the cash for black shoes that fit the dress code, and so his mother took a pair of red and white shoes and painted them black instead. Some of the ink likely came off revealing the ruse, and due to the overwhelming severity of this color crime, the boy was forced to be traumatized in front of his classmates by being extracted by the cops and taken home.
3. What’s Wrong With Matt Bonner?
When you start punishing students for their choice (albeit ridiculous from time to time) of haircuts, you’re really splitting authoritative hairs. And that is exactly what happened to one twelve-year-old middle schooler named Patrick Gonzalez in 2012. Patrick decided to get a portrait of his favorite NBA player Matt Bonner etched into his head. This haircut was just too much for the school and so they decided to suspend Patrick for his artistic hair choices. Despite having the haircut cleared by the school prior to getting it cut, Patrick was still not allowed to return until his head was buzzed clear of the likeness. Fortunately for Patrick when the Spurs heard of the Matt Bonner hairdo, they gave him free tickets to the playoffs as consolation.
2. The Search For Ibuprofen
We all get headaches from time to time, but for Savana Reading getting a headache was the least of her problems when a fellow student ratted on her for having prescription grade Ibuprofen pills in the school. Ultimately, while this is the equivalent of two normal sized Advils, this apparently required a strip search from school administrators. After not being satisfied from illegally searching her backpack, school authorities sent Savana to the nurse’s office where they proceeded to strip search her person for the assumed offence. They made her remove her bra, and then checked under the elastic of her underwear. After learning of the incident later, Savana’s parents took the case to court to try and restore some sanity to the situation.
1. Learn To Read, Or Else…
Negative reinforcement is never a good route to take for training anyone or anything, but when fourth grade teacher Summer Larson decided to use this technique to help her students learn, she found herself facing some negative reinforcement of her own. In trying to get her students to reach their reading goals, she allowed those that passed to draw on the faces of those who hadn’t as a means to convince them to work harder and learn more. She presented the lagging students with an ultimatum after they didn’t pass. They had the choice of skipping recess, or allowing the students who did pass to draw on them. Six of the nine failing students didn’t want to give up their recess and allowed their peers to draw on them.