Grandfather Objects to Schoolyard Practice

Students were told to walk with hands clasped on the top of their head, which is a practice used in prison yards

Tony Gonzales was picking up his grandson at Meadows Elementary this week, when he didn’t like something he saw on the playground.

Children were walking in a circle with their hands clasp on the top of their head.

“What got me is they had their hands on their heads. So I looked and I said you know what, it's pretty degrading to have the kids walk around like that.”

The Vietnam Veteran said it reminded him of images of prisoners of war, or of a prison yard.

“On top of your head? It kills you. I got a grandchild here. I wouldn’t want him to do that all day. Its crazy," said Gonzales.

Gonzales’ granddaughter, Irene Nevarez, was with him that day.

“Walk them like this, where they look like prisoners because you go to the media and that’s all you see, is prisoners walking like that,” said Nevarez.

It turns out that the students were part of an after school-program called Coral, run by Catholic Charities.

Coral is designed to help students with literacy.

“Usually when you're walking with children, you want order, not touching or hitting. It’s not common practice to have kids put their hands behind their heads,” said program coordinator America Aguirre. “To us, it’s something we'll look at differently, and something we won't do any more.”

The school’s principal, Magdalena Moore, told NBC Bay Area she was unaware of the practice.

Moore said she was bothered to hear what was happening, so she told the Coral coordinator to stop having the children walk like that on her campus.

Gonzales said he’ll be watching to make sure the kids are treated like kids.

Contact Us