Running as a form of punishment for kids?

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

Day 2 of the blog challenge is a toughie!! If you have heard about this story, then I hope that this post is as thought provoking for you as it was for me.

In Great Britain, the Education Secretary recently laid out a new set of guidelines he wants to see in all schools.  These include bringing back “tried and true discipline techniques such as loss of privileges, students coming in early and staying late to copy text or to weed the school grounds”.  The report goes on to add additional forms of punishment such as “extra physical activity such as running around a playing field” (You can see a copy of the actual report here, the line about running is on page 8).

I am a product of a Catholic school education and these “tried and true” forms of punishment were doled out on a daily basis.  Students who misbehaved had to stay late, wash chalkboards and erasers, clean the bathrooms, etc.  No one thought much of it and believe you me, those forms of punishment were nothing compared to what we got at home when we had to explain to our parents why we were late.  There was no blaming of the teacher or of other kids.  From my parents it was “you are accountable for yourself.”  To this day, I thought this was how things were done at every school.

One thing I never had to do was run around as a form of punishment.  I think for schools to do this as a form of punishment isn’t as feasible unless you tell the kids to bring gym clothes.  Running in a skirt or jeans or dress shoes?  Everyone realizes there is no faster way for someone to get hurt.  For the younger kids running around outside is a better reward than a punishment.  My 6 year old nephew just had a fundraiser at his school where he had to run around a track as much as he could.  He, and all of the kids, had an absolute blast!  They didn’t want to stop!

The most interesting thing about this whole brouhaha was everyone was up in arms about running as a form of punishment in schools, but many seemed to have forgotten running is frequently a form of punishment in many organized sports.  Even at the professional level, basketball, football and soccer all “run laps” or even worse “run suicides” as a form of punishment.  This is completely acceptable to everyone, including parents of school aged kids who are participating in organized sports.  Running ultimately helps these athletes become better at their sports, that is my only guess as to why this is acceptable as a form of punishment.  There are even lots of images with this sentiment emblazoned for all to see as a form of pride for cross country and track athletes:


After much thought, I absolutely agree with Secretary Gove on almost all of his recommendations.  I do disagree on “running outside” as a form of punishment.  This is a time for kids to play, to be free and to release some endorphins!

Enjoy the Run!


Question: What do you think about Secretary Gove’s recommendations?


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