The Oklahoma Legislature proposed House Bill 1989, in an effort to replace mandatory out-of-school suspensions with alternative punishments. Lawmakers say the bill would better protect classrooms and provide help for struggling students.
House bill 1989 would require schools to use restorative practices or alternative punishment areas instead of out-of-school suspensions. The bill also would require the students to apologize for their actions and complete community service, such as in-service activities.
“If we can help these children early on, I think we can set them on a different path,” said Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs.
The proposed legislation also would call for students to get counseling or treatment by a licensed mental health professional.
Some representatives believe the bill, if passed, would change the trajectory of troubled children and make them better citizens. Others representatives, like Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, say this bill would take local power away because each school would have to consider “alternative punishments first.”
Oklahomans have a hard time when it comes to taking corrective actions. The outcomes are either too extreme or handled so delicately that there’s almost no decisive outcome. I agree, there need to be consequences to actions which break the rules of society. Giving a student out-of-school suspension is much like telling an monkey to not fling their poop at the wall while feeding them their high-fiber meal.
Below, I have proposed 5 options for lawmakers to consider for alternatives to suspension:
Social Media Shaming
Why do students break the rules? For the most part, children act out in order to seem cooler. Every person who has ever lived has attempted to be one of the popular kids by doing something one shouldn’t do. This said, why not teach students the lesson of humility as soon as possible?
I propose a day-long online roast session for each student who faces suspension.
Imagine trying to flirt with classmate in the hall before class starts. As you gain the courage to make a move, you accidentally shit your pants. The mustard fog fills the lockers. Everyone traces the smell to the stain gaining cover on the backside of your pants.
Suddenly, a phone emerges from the crowd. The click of a camera fills the shocked silence. Soon, you can hear nothing but the deafening sounds of camera clicks as you run.
What would you do? Better yet, what would you do if the rest of the school was required to join in and they did?
Humility would be achieved by the days end.
Review the musical Oklahoma!
If the student is going to be punished, why not educate them in the finer arts?
After the schools carefully explain to the young Oklahoman what “theater” is, the teachers will shuffle the child into the auditorium. Be warned, the student may still be confused that this show is not a football game or a barbecue cookout. Please remove any foam fingers, light beer, or cowbells from the student.
The student will be equipped with a notebook and a dull pencil in order to take extensive notes on the musical production of Oklahoma! Through the cowboy thrills and the over-used musical numbers, the child must remain seated throughout the show and participate in sing-along portions whenever necessary.
School officials will monitor the student as the musical continues. If faculty believes that he or she does not feel, “the winds sweepin’ down the plain,” they will be asked to sit through the following matinee showing. In case you never performed in theater, the audience for matinees consist of elderly people barely conscious and fidgeting children on an undeserved field trip.
Cosplay as Guy Fieri
There’s only one Mayor of Flavor Town. The student who breaks the rules will be nothing more than a weak imitation of the Food Network celebrity.
For one day, a suspended student will have to dress and act like the chef who embodies a mid-life crisis in action. The required attire will include the following:
- a bowling shirt with dragons, flames, or a combination of both
- 10 lbs of rings and necklaces
- Bleach-blonde tipped hair (must be dyed)
- Large sunglasses on the back of the head
The offender will also have to go in public areas and say signature catchphrases such as, “That’s da bomb.com,” “Now, that’s makin’ the bacon,” and “Buckle up, buddies. We’re in flavor town!” Embrace the experience of walking past drunks in Bricktown and still being the most obnoxious human being known to mankind.
If this lesson doesn’t teach mercy by the end of the day, perhaps the student is emotionally incapable of holding any beneficial emotions.
Teach technology to the elderly
There is a common expression in education: “If you can teach it, then you know the subject.”
In this suspension alternative, offending students will be required to teach retirement Village residents the inner-workings of modern technology. They will be taught patience, as they struggle to teach a 96-year-old grandmother what an app is. Many students will endure obstacles, while lessons on learning Skype will devolve into a three hour lecture over how “things were better back when we were your age.”
The end of the punishment will happen, when one elderly person can send a text message without a single error, typo, or misuse of an emoji.
As an alternative, students may have the chance to learn how to overcome the overwhelming smell of Dove soap and Bengay.
Sit through the Dust Bowl
Ken Burns documentaries are not for the faint of heart. This alternative punishment is meant for some of the more severe cases.
Documentarian Ken Burns has covered a wide range of topics from the Vietnam War to Prohibition. His relaxing style can soothe the rough edges of history’s greatest atrocities. While his work is wide-ranging, it’s superior in one genre: sleep.
Any student assigned to this punishment must take extensive notes on Ken Burns’s The Dust Bowl. Relive the lively moments of desperate Oklahomans trying to survive the state’s worst drought. Relish in colorful masterpiece of brown, grey, and darker grey. Attempt not to become what some critics call, “blissfully bored.” This is an effort to teach the students history as well as the ability to remain focused in difficult times. The child must stay awake for the duration of the shows.