Putting Education Reform To The Test

This Week In Florida School Shaming

Marc-Andre Lariviere / Flickr

Florida parents and teachers are finding new ways to embarrass students.

The parents of a South Florida seventh-grader forced him to wear a sandwich board to publicize his poor grades and preference for cracking up his classmates, according to WSVN television.

Michael Bell Jr. is standing at a Kendall intersection wearing the sign.

As other students enjoy their spring break, Michael will be out holding his sign. “I got an F in most of my classes, so as a punishment, I’m supposed to stay here for the whole spring break,” said Michael.

Michael’s father hopes Michael will learn a lesson and understand the importance of getting good grades. “I don’t know any other way, I’m trying to reach him. He doesn’t want to be reached, and this is my last resort,” said Michael Bell Sr.

In addition to the bad grades, Michael’s teachers told his parents he is a little bit too much of a class clown. “If you don’t do right then you get a lot of stuff taken from you,” said Michael.

Tampa’s Bay News 9 reports that the parents of a Lakeland middle school student are not happy that a teacher forced him to wear a sign after he was out sick for the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

The teacher made the student wear a sign that read: “I decided to come to school today but I didn’t come to school during the FCAT.”

The teacher has since apologized to the student, writing she meant it to be a “friendly correction” and not to ridicule the student.

The student provided a doctor’s note to the school for his absence.

What’s your reaction to these stories? What’s an appropriate use of shame when motivating students?


  • SoFLaGaL

    Having your kid wear a sign to humiliate themselves because of failing grades is not a solution to the problem. Perhaps looking into the family dynamics and getting to the root of the problem should be the alternative.

    Looking back at my childhood grades recently, I was not surprised to see all of my failed subjects and poor behavior. I can’t believe I had failing grades for several years and the teachers never held me back. I never liked going school and hated going home. I couldn’t hold my attention for too long either.  I, (as many children do), came from a very dysfunctional family. Fighting and screaming was the norm. I was only eleven when many times I dialed 911 to  report a domestic dispute because of the physical battery my father imposed on my mother. How could I possibly be interested in learning when my head was always somewhere else.  

    I’m not saying all kids with low grades and poor behavior come from dysfunctional families. I do think trying to get to the root of their issues is important enough to remedy the situation for the long haul.

    After 18 years of my family dysfunction, my parents finally split up. I became a second mother to my little brother. I taught him that school and learning never ends. Just because you make it through high school doesn’t mean your done. After high school is college, an under grad program, then there is a graduate program or law school or medical school and learning will always continue in life. More importantly it’s important to find interests and learn about careers when we are young so we can begin to work towards career goals too. I wish someone had spared me and taught me that because I never went to college and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I’m now 50. I’m happy to say that my brother grew up to become an Orthopedic Surgeon and loves what he does. It’s all good!

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