Is it legal for school teachers or sports team coaches to make their students exercise as punishment?If so, then to what extent?  To the point of failure? slight discomfort? Enough to make a...

Is it legal for school teachers or sports team coaches to make their students exercise as punishment?

If so, then to what extent?  To the point of failure? slight discomfort? Enough to make a point? 

 

Elsewhere, I started a discussion as to whether this could be counterproductive and make people hate exercise.  I received a lot of comments, so now I'd like to address the question of whether this dim-witted practice (in my opinion) is legal

This past summer, there was an incident where a player collapsed and perished after doing too many wind sprints; the coach was acquitted.  In light of this incident, and the laws governing student rights, is it legal for coaches/ teachers to force their students to exercise? 

[If you want to, check out the discussion by typing a keyword into the Search box (for example, "push-ups" or "punishment" were both common words featured in my question as well as in the responses I received).

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10 Answers | Add Yours

lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think the most important thing for a coach to keep in mind is to make sure the punishment is related to building sport specific ability.  I have no problem with a reasonable amount of punishment for my own children in athletics so long as it builds ability.  My daughters play soccer, and running is a necessary part of soccer.  If the coach wanted to punish them by making them condition, I'm ok.  Since upper body strength isn't a huge part of soccer, I would have a problem with a coach making my daughters do push ups as it isn't a sport specific skill.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It is accepted practice to have players run laps or do push-ups as punishment. There is nothing illegal about it as long as it's not excessive. The children will be asked to do these exercises anyway, to condition them for their sports. Only the reason they are doing the exercises changes.
lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

If the student is an athlete they are voluntarily a part of the team. If they don't like to have to run as a consequence of doing something incorrectly they have two choices: do it right or leave the team. Athletics differs from a PE class or other classes in that the students are participating because they want to, not because they have to. All that said I do believe a coach needs to use discretion in the amount of running assigned as punishment, it should be enough to invoke a change in behavior and not punitive.

leabc's profile pic

leabc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I'm not sure where a teacher would be able to use exercise as a legitimate punishment.  For a coach, the end result is that the student has learned a lesson and is in better physical condition because of it.  A classroom teacher is supposed to be teaching curriculum.  A more appropriate 'punishment' might be in writing an essay.  Unfortunately, to use that type of punishment makes the student connect the essay with punishment and no longer wants to write.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The topic is quite relevant.  There are more stories in the news media, especially as off season camps in football begin to take hold, of where that line is present.  I think that a coach has more discretion to use exercise as a measure than a classroom teacher.  This is not saying that the former cannot do so, but I think there is more of a base of questioning such a decision in the classroom setting where some students might not be able to perform such tasks.  On a field of athletic play, such as a basketball court with athletes on a basketball team, it is easier to make the justification of running or other exercise as a punitive measure.  I think that with any use of physical measure, there has to be some reasonable standard invoked.  Making any young person run three miles in triple digit temperatures at the height of the day's sun might not be reasonable.  Being reasonable and attune to the expectations of the community might be the critical ingredients in this formula and a coach must be able to understand this.

acompanioninthetardis's profile pic

acompanioninthetardis | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

this depends on he severity of the students actions and how much the punishment is. it mainly depends on the students health problems, if they have a weak heart or asthma and the coach asks them to run 50 laps around the field for talking during class or for loosing a game (which is ridiculous) then it is not okay. but if a person has sexually harassed another student or if they have purposely harmed another student and have no medical problems then its fine. if they do have health problems, and have committed these things then i would go with suspension or some other strict source of punishment. 

mikebav53's profile pic

mikebav53 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

If the student is an athlete they are voluntarily a part of the team. If they don't like to have to run as a consequence of doing something incorrectly they have two choices: do it right or leave the team. Athletics differs from a PE class or other classes in that the students are participating because they want to, not because they have to. All that said I do believe a coach needs to use discretion in the amount of running assigned as punishment, it should be enough to invoke a change in behavior and not punitive.

Thank you for your reply re: the use of exercise as punishment.

You seem to suggest that if the athlete doesn't like it, he should change HIS behavior or leave the team.

But my question is, maybe the coach is the one who should change?

nerdinstudio's profile pic

nerdinstudio | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

Yes!  And it's the same thing with exercise!!!  The student will associate exercise with punishemnt!!! Do we want that?  -- at a time when half of our country is struggling with weight, do we want our kids to have negative associations with exercise?  I hope not.

reetas's profile pic

reetas | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Exercises are only for physical and mental uplift. Force and imposition have nothing to do with it. And punishment? That is a far-flung supposition! No way.
dovev's profile pic

dovev | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

For sports team coaches, it is legal to make students excersize for punishment and to an extent that students learn and to not do anything again. I believe a slight discomfort is what sports coaches try to get from students.

I don't think it's force, the coach tries to discapline students,but it can depend on how the coach is.

In Gym class in my school, if my class is being roudy or rude then we get punishment laps or push-ups/sit-ups and to a slight discomfort too but mostly its fine by us.

 

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