'Bermuda Triangle Award' Sparks Conversation about School Recognitions

A Barrow County parent had expressed concern about an award given to her daughter and we want to know your thoughts.

A Barrow Patch story about a local parent's concern regarding an award her daughter received has lead to a discussion on school awards. 

Sherry Hatcher, the mother of a  student, said her daughter was so embarrased by the award she received to mark the end of the school year that she cried and asked to go home. 

Hatcher's child received "The Bermuda Triangle Award" for "the desk where things go in but never come back out." 

County Line Elementary School Principal Chris McMichael met with Hatcher to discuss the award. 

"(I) expressed to her that neither the school nor the system condoned or approved the award, no matter what spirit it was given in," McMichael wrote in an e-mail to Barrow Patch. "I truly don’t believe the teacher meant any embarrassment or harm, but it is not something we should ever see again."  

The certificate was presented as part of the individual classroom teacher's end of the year celebration and was not an official school award.

One Barrow Patch reader commented:  

I personally think it's a shame that teachers feel the need to give each and every student an award. When I was growing up the only students that got awards were the ones that earned an award. I think it teaches kids to work harder for what they want if they don't get an award for EVERYTHING. Just my personal opinion.

A Facebook user commented on the Barrow Patch Facebook page

You simply can not give out fake awards. These kids grow up without consequences. Then hey move out and can't understand why society isn't handing them everything on a platter. Positive re-enforecement only works when it is deserved. This mom has a thin skin and probably believes their child is perfect. Honestly they shouldnt give out any awards in Kindergarten except a graduation certificate.... Also, It is not sheltering a child when you teach them right and wrong or by giving them consequences for not performing well.

also weighed in on Facebook, writing: 

I don't think this award should have been given at this age. The kids are not old enough to get "funny" awards and they take it to heart. I also don't think every child should get an award. My son cried through his kindergarten graduation because he did not receive an award which broke my heart, but it gave me a chance to teach him that everyone won't , and when he finally does get an academic award it will be deserved and greatly celebrated! I still remember getting my very first award in school. It was the end of 3rd grade and I got most improved. I worked so hard that year to pull my grades up and was so proud. I was honor roll for the rest of my school years and took home the most awards my senior year. Awards, when given for the right reasons at the right times can be huge inccentives to kids. If given for the wrong reasons or at the wrong times, I think they slow a kid down or dampen their drive.

What do you think about this particular award? What do you think teachers should consider when giving awards to students? Tell us in comments. 

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Maureen Ruiz June 05, 2012 at 02:05 PM
When my youngest son was in kindergarten he received an award for "Best Nap Taker", he was thrilled that he got something. At 5 years old every teacher can find something positive to say about a child. Messiest desk was not positive but hurtful. My son is now 41 and is still the best napper!
N. Matthews June 05, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Long before this 'award' was given it could've been addressed or remedied by conversations/conferences with the parents about the student's work ethic or lack thereof. Bad judgment on the teacher's part! That teacher should be REQUIRED to meet with the student & their parents to formally apologize, explain that they shouldn't have done that including why, and explain that they used bad judgment. This would at the very least, maybe, alleviate the child's distress. These are the little events in children’s lives that they carry with them forever. Something like this can easily create a defeatist attitude within the child that 'I'm not good enough and never will be, so why try'. I'd be interested to see if this child ends up being a Barrow Co. dropout in high school Let's hope not!!!
N. Matthews June 05, 2012 at 03:17 PM
SHERRY HATCHER June 05, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Thanks for your comments but my baby will not be a barrow county dropout ..as we have moved out of barrow county just last week and she will now be going to the schools I went to as a child Jackson county ..she is doing very well as this time has passed we have discussed that this was not her fault and she is happy thanks
Miss Teacher June 06, 2012 at 11:41 AM
As a teacher, I can tell you that the decision to give every student an award isn't made by us, but by administration. On that same note, as a teacher of young kids, I know that there is something good and positive about every one of my students that I can acknowledge and reward. It is obvious that this teacher meant this award to be humorous, but most Kindergarten kids don't get this kind of humor and sarcasm, which makes it inappropriate. Older kids might have understood and found it funny, but I can get why this little girl cried and was upset. Not only that, but if every other kid received an award for something positive, then her "messy desk" award would have definitely stood out.


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