Schoolyard punishment sparks debate among parents

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VENICE, Fla. (WTSP) – A Venice parent is speaking out about a form of punishment being implemented at Venice Elementary school, sparking discussions about the merits of walking laps.

Venice Elementary students who misbehave are told to take a walk -- a few laps around the field -- before playing with friends during recess. Some kids choose to run it out.

“My son was made to do laps the other day for talking in the cafeteria. I’m all for it.” And when Lisa Goodson’s son Andy complained about the punishment, she told him: “You play outside at recess, never complain how hot it is…that’s fine.”

It appears Andy’s learned his lesson. “If you do things wrong you should be punished for it.”

Venice Elementary has been making students walk off unruly behavior for about eight years.

“These students are not being taking out of class, it’s all part of recess time,” says school district spokesperson Scott Ferguson.  Officials say the punishment is acceptable. “Seems to have good results; kids get to let off some steam, resume activities on the playground.”

But when a parent posted an anonymous letter on the Venice Scoop Facebook page, she struck a nerve -- more than 200 people commented.

She tells 10 News: “What concerns me running laps is the heat the time of day.”

Most parents support the school.

“It’s not abusive. I think we’re handing kids too many passes in life.”

According to the Sarasota School District, Venice Elementary’s Principal says she gives parents the chance to opt out of this type of punishment. But the principal tells the district until now no one has.