Parents outraged over 6-year-old’s punishment for being late, school issues apology

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon school district is reviewing its tardiness punishments after a picture posted on Facebook of a 6-year-old sitting behind a cardboard screen in the lunchroom generated widespread outrage.

The Grants Pass School District issued a statement saying it “is taking the concerns raised very seriously,” and the punishment “was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.”

Nicole Garloff says her son, Hunter, was upset when she dropped him off late at Lincoln Elementary School, so she checked on him at lunchtime. She found him sitting behind a cardboard screen. She took him home, and posted a photo on Facebook. So did the boy’s grandmother.

More than 115,000 people have shared the photo Laura Hoover posted on Facebook of her grandson.

On Friday, Lincoln Elementary  issued a statement saying from now on, students being punished for chronic tardiness will do their catch-up work in a separate supervised room.

The boy’s parents told The Grants Pass Daily Courier ( ) they got an apology from principal Missy Fitzsimmons on Thursday and were confident no more kids would be `placed on display” like that again.

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    • Mr Hacked Off

      @Fanniemac…what part of PARENT did you miss. That was SINGULAR. Not two. One. And we are talking a few minutes, not half an hour, not absent. A few minutes. Learn to read whole story. Now we have a moronic editorial comment about a heartless administrative action. Watch the brainless pile on…….

      • ThetownCrier

        Can you people read? He has a mom, dad, grandma and other adult FAMILY in his hood. This happened to his SIX times, and what did his parents do…took him to school late Again! But they could show up to take a photo? Does LOGIC EVER enter an opinion with people? The school was wrong, the PARENTS..TWO and TWO cars were wrong …they allowed the humiliation SIX TIMES!

    • Roy Baty

      I agree with Fannie, this “car won’t start ” routine is stupid. Its not Minnesota. Besides, I doubt it was once or twice. Discipline is good for kids especially boys. Spare the rod, spoil the child.

      • Jon B.

        And what exactly are you teaching the child by punishing him over something he has no control over? Other than that we live in one of the most judgmental and irrational societies on the planet?

        He’s six years old. If there is a problem with his tardiness, talk to the people in charge of bringing him to school.

      • Emily

        To those of you who are saying that the school was in the right… that “rules are set in place for a reason,” “kids need to be disciplined and learn respect” and blah blah blah… you’re all right and all, but you overlooked one important little detail before pounding away at the keyboard to post your ignorant comments. The boy had an issue with tardiness due to NO FAULT OF HIS OWN because his mother was having car problems at the time resulting in the boy being a MINUTE OR TWO late school. There, I spaced out the words for ya all so that it would easier for you to read.
        I can understand if this was a case of the mother having a difficult time getting the child out of bed on time and moving, and/or he throws a routine temper tantrum every morning because he doesn’t want to go to school, but the article mentions that the boy DOES enjoy going to school and WANTS to be on time. Unfortunately, mom’s car doesn’t seem to want to cooperate, and assuming that she is a working-class citizen living from paycheck to paycheck like most us, I imagine that she probably doesn’t have the time or the money to make an immediate trip to mechanic every time the car has a problem or just needs a simple oil change. Think it wont ever happen to you all you like, but anybody and everybody who owns a car is going to experience car trouble at some point in their lives… all over the country… all over the world… not just Minnesota.
        But regardless of whatever excuse she could have given the school for her kid being late, it’s only one or two minutes. In elementary school, the first one or two minutes, the teacher is still trying to get the class settled down and in their seats, so I’m pretty sure there isn’t much that kid has been “disrupting.” Second, public humiliation is a little unnecessary and extreme for children of his age. Junior high and high school maybe, but not elementary. If disciplinary action is to be given, then the proper way would be to put him in a classroom by himself to eat his lunch and utilize that time to catch up on assignments he’s behind on, not to make a mockery of him in front of the rest of his classmates by putting him behind a cardboard shield. If you’re gonna go that route, why not make it just a tad more humiliating and make the child put a paper bag over his head? YEAH, that will teach him!
        Those of you who are saying that boy deserves to be discipline over something that is actually mom’s problem, you are incredibly cold heart and sure hope you don’t ever have any kids of your own, or if you do, don’t be surprised if they grow up to be just as cold heart themselves. Because YOU taught them to be that way. “You’re going to be late to school again, Jimmy. It’s YOUR fault because mommy’s piece of sh*t car wouldn’t start up right away. I’m taking away your allowance and you’re grounded for a week!” Riight… makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

  • Theresa Parker

    They said that the punishment “was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.” What a joke! They put him at a table by himself (isolate) and blocked his face with a piece of cardboard (stigmatized). How else was this six year old suppose to feel. Shame on them. Shame on anyone who had anything to do with this little boy’s treatment.

  • RobertG

    #Fanniemac—-U R dumb as a rock and should be punished ur self!!!
    As for the school the teacher that did this should be FIRED and never be able to teach again!!!

    • Concerned Parent

      I have to say that I agree with the school. There are rules set in place for a reason. If the parent’s car doesn’t start right away then start it earlier. I’m sorry but I’m tired of everyone thinking they need special treatment. The school can’t punish the parents, it’s not their job. It’s to make sure the kids are doing what they’re supposed to and one of those things is be on time. Plus every time this kid comes in late it disrupts the class and ruins the experience for the other kids. At the school my kids go to, I’ve seen kids show up late and then the teacher has to stop what she’s doing and get this kid caught up with the rest of the class. What my kids should be punished because you can’t be responsible and get your kids to school on time?

      • Sarah

        While I do believe children should be on time to school, and I agree it disturbs the rest of the class when a child is late, I do not agree with this punishment or that the parent can’t be held responsible. The principal could have called the mother in at any time to discuss the issue. And treating a 6 year old like this is not the answer. The article said the boy was upset and wanted to get to school on time, and was crying at lunch behind that shield. The punishment was breaking that little boy, but the behavior of his mother had not changed. And since when does a good consequence include “If you do this again I am going to punish your son”? I will admit that I have never gotten my children to school late, but I believe stuff happens and maybe someday they will be late to school, and when that day comes I would hope the school would choose deal with me rather than make a spectacle of my child.

      • momof5shortstuff

        @concerned parent, it doesn’t sound as if you truly are, a ‘concerned parent’. If this had happened to any of my kids (I’ve got 5 of em), I’d be AT the school, dealing with the problem. My kids schools, know who I am, and they know better than to cross me… anything stupid like that to any of my kids. The original article, stated that the parent had problems with their car starting sometimes. That’s the parents responsibility, not the child’s problem. At the same time, the parent may not have the ability to take care of the problem. I know, I certainly don’t have the money to deal with any mechanical issues on my vehicle. With the many times during the day, that the average classroom is ‘interrupted’ on a daily basis, the interruption done by this child coming in late, by no fault of his own, the school is so completely WRONG, for dealing with him in this way. If your child is affected that badly, by this type of disruption, then maybe your child is in the wrong class. Maybe you should be looking at a ‘special class’, to protect them from daily life. Thank you for taking the time to read this, God bless you.

      • Emily

        We’re not talking about a high schooler or a junior high schooler. The child is 6-years-old… in ELEMENTARY school. He relies on either his mother/dad or a school bus to get him to school. Either the mom chooses to take him to school or there are no school buses (that is a possibility) and driving him is the only way. And if the mom is having car problems, how exactly is that the boy’s doing? This isn’t about getting any kind of special treatment and not having to follow the same rules as any body else, this is about how it was handled by the school. I’m sure the mom has expressed this issue with the school regarding why her child is having tardiness issues, and the principle should have had a meeting with the parent to discuss as resolution. But no, the principle decided to punish the young boy anyway, and in a rather cruel way, as if he has anything to do with the car not starting up in the morning.
        Not even the method of punishment was okay. There was a time when I was in elementary school that I had troubles getting to school on time, A LOT more than just a minute or so late. Sometimes it was my doing, being a pokey kid who didn’t like getting up early in the morning or even going to school, and sometimes, it was my dad’s doing. My school did have school buses, but I often missed them. Do you know how I was disciplined for being late? I was made to miss recess. That was it. I was allowed to eat my lunch in the cafeteria with all the other kids, not put in isolation, and when recess followed after lunch, I was made to sit in a classroom with a teacher to supervise, and I would be working on school workbooks that I was behind on. Sometimes I would be the only kid in there, other times there would be another kid there who was also being punished for something.That is how it should have been done. Hell, that’s how they do it in high school! Except, it’s called detention, and because there’s no recess time in high school, it takes place after school.

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  • PJS

    It’s insane to punish a 6-year-old for being late. They are not the managers of their time, the parents are. What is wrong with people, and why are people like that allowed to be in charge of children? These are people that revel in the power they have over those weaker than themselves.

  • Darren Nickerson

    Wow. It is good to know that this school has the child’s social and educational well being at heart. Nothing like being ostracized and, later, teased for something well beyond the child’s control. It is unfortunate that a college education still can’t fix stupid.

  • Kel

    “Going forward, a separate, supervised classroom has been designated for necessary catch-up work. The District and Lincoln Elementary will continue to work with families on an individual basis to encourage and promote student attendance.”

    The point of the issue is that they were punishing innocent children for circumstances beyond their control. They still are. Putting them in a separate room is only more isolating. It is a retributive, punishing tactic that is shameful. As educators they are tasked with using positive reinforcement to educate and empower children. Yet the policy only emphasizes punishment, and not even just punishment. The underlying attitudes and issues have not changed.

    This is a shame and an embarrassment to the educational community as a whole. I hope the community does not stop at this but continues to hold this administration responsible. Don’t let this go, the policy is still wrong!

    • gwen


  • vesta44

    Exactly how much work is missed when a child is only a minute or two late to class? Surely not enough that it has to be made up at a later date and time in a separate room. If a minute or two makes that much difference in classwork, then too much information is being pushed on kids in too-short an amount of time.


    It’s absolutely outrageous . Six year old boy , you got to be kidding me. It’s absolutely disgusting what they did to this boy.

  • Mrs B Turcotte

    Hello…how else is a child suppose to view this punishment other then to make him feel badly…this principle need to re-evaluate his ways of doing things… and the parents aren’t at fault..the school system is getting away and displaying more behaviour that is NOT to the childs, any childs welfare. Happening like this really destroys any faith l have in the SYSTEM…

  • Jacqueline

    i have to say how irresponsible this principle is to punish s a small child because his or her parent is running a minute behind! Happy to know this will not be permitted but seriously why even punish a child at all its not their fault!!! Not like they can drive themselves

  • Former Administrator

    The punishment violates School Board Policy and Professional Conduct by the administration. Parent should file a grievance against the administrator and the district. Civil Rights were violated, as well as Title IX.

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