Letter: Misguided approach to student behavior

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To the Editor:

I am writing in urgent response to the article "Here's the Scoop" appearing on the front page of the Bennington Banner's edition of Jan. 4-5. It highlights the Bennington Elementary School's Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Program. Every month each teacher nominates two students to be selected to join the ice cream party based on positive behavior.

Lest parents reading this think that rewarding children with ice cream scoops is a plan worth adopting, I hasten to caution all adults living or working with children that the goal for long term positive development is for all of us is to learn the internal discipline of positive behavior even when no one is looking or no rewards are at stake.

Learning how to live a life of integrity and inner satisfaction without external bribes or dangling incentives is a lifelong achievement.

The notion that children in our schools are given scoops of ice cream if they displayed good behavior is abhorrent to those of us who strive to see our children grow into adults who need to gain inner satisfaction from behaving honestly, kindly and cooperatively. We all need to count on ourselves to do the right thing in all circumstances even when no one is watching.

The act of lovingkindness, honesty, and working together in harmony is indeed a worthy goal. Solving tough problems so we can live together peacefully is its own reward. Scoops of ice cream melt away. Inner discipline needs to last forever.

Miriam Silver, Ed.D.,




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