mash: parenting / education / Opt-Ed
Schools are not parents: it isn’t a school’s job to parent a child. It’s frustrating to hear the constant news items that keep popping up about parents with unrealistic expectations of what a school, and it’s employees, are supposed to do.
Schools are partners with parents in educating their children, not raising them. A school is an institution designed to teach students so that they can take a place in society. Period. While there definitely is an ethical responsibility of a school to show children the path towards being “good citizens”, ultimately it is up to the parent and guardians to mold that child into a positive, responsible adult.
To think that a school can be held responsible for the moral decisions a child makes is asinine. A recent article about a mother mad at a school because her 12-year-old daughter used an iPad on loan from the school to read erotic literature is about the silliest thing ever. In a classroom full of students who all have iPads (the girl was part of a program that lent the devices out to all students) a teacher is supposed to know what site every child is on at every moment? Yes, there was software installed to block such sites. However anyone who is even slightly literate about the internet knows that new sites, and new ways to get around such blocks, come up daily. NO software is 100% guaranteed to block all banned content, every time.
So instead of grabbing this opportunity to talk openly with her daughter about the changes her body is going through, sexuality, the importance of obeying rules (even if you CAN break them), and responsible use of technology, this mom blasts out the school in the media. Sorry: parenting fail. The school did everything it could reasonably be expected to do. Ball is your court mom.
Some parents don’t even realize the effect their whining and complaining about things that aren’t the school’s fault, and shirking of responsibility, has on their kids.
And speaking of not-so-bright parents with technology, how about the 4-year-old who was expelled from a private Christian academy over mom’s post on Facebook. Basically mom seemed to be mad that she didn’t know about picture day. The school said they sent a notice home in his agenda a week prior, a notice mom says didn’t get. Mom got mad and took to Facebook, calling the staff of the conservative private Christian academy “ignorant” on social media and tagged the school (that’s the not so bright part). The results could be predicted. It is after all a private, conservative Christian school.
Who knows, the school personnel could have been lying and not sent the form home. However, still not bright mom–especially when you signed a form that said you wouldn’t do something that could be viewed as controversial in relation to the school. In honesty, it sounds like the school had issues with her before and just used this as an excuse to get rid of a trouble-causing parent. Once again, schools are institutions, and they have rules and human staff. If you don’t like the rules, or think the staff is ignorant, don’t send your kid there.
Some parents don’t even realize the effect their whining and complaining about things that aren’t the school’s fault, and shirking of responsibility, has on their kids. The student who subcumvented the school’s rules on the iPad had already put the entire project in jeopardy (other projects had be cancelled for similar issues). However, now that a magnifier has been placed on the issue by the mother, chances are this program will have a major blow as well. No school district wants negative press. Not only has the girl probably lost the freedom to use technology in the school district for a long time–a bunch of other students might lose access to it also. And in a society that is so technologically driven, this really is a lose for these students’ education.
And as for the boy expelled from preschool, poor little chap. Do I think the “Christian academy” handled this well? Probably not. However, it’s the mom’s handling of the escalated situation that did the most harm. If you see the story about the incident it not only lists his first and last name–it shows his picture. Now not only will his next teacher look at his face and think they’ve seen him before, they can Google him. And any mom who doesn’t realize that their cute son now enters his new classroom with a cloud of gloom-and-doom shaped oddly like her (at least in the mind of his teacher and administration) is sadly mistaken. The poor boy not only paid for moms poor choice by being kicked out of what was apparently on the surface a good school (it was private, and the mom did chose to send him there after all) but he will continue to pay for her grandstanding with some of his teachers in the future who that might recognize who his mother is.
In the end, we don’t know all of the details of either story. However, both are great reminders that the actions of parents can affect their children’s education, and that schools are just institutions. Schools are not parents: they aren’t responsible for moral teachings, ethical training, or emptying your kids bookbag when they get home.
Are you a parent? When is a good time to broadcast your feelings of displeasure with a school? Have you ever had a problem with your child’s school? How did you handle it?