Sunday, September 5, 2010

I'm Glad We're Not Their Problem (Any More)

My son was homeschooled after his fifth grade year, and now he is in college. So it's been quite a while since we've darkened the door of a public school for any reason not involving governmental elections.

But when my son was in grade school, I spent a few years with our inner-city school district, teaching kindergartners to read and sometimes dealing with the EBD (Emotional/Behavior Disorder) kids. I spent some of that time in the Principal's office, dealing with the kids sent there by various teachers for disciplinary issues of one sort or another - disruption of class, fighting, stealing, cutting class, refusal to participate, sassing or hitting the teacher. There I often had the privilege (koff, koff) of meeting the child's parents/guardians, and listening to their interchanges with teachers and with the principal himself.

My experience is that for the most part, kids with discipline and/or EBD issues have absolutely no problem functioning well when given an environment in which there are consistently applied expectations and boundaries. Even kids with neurological issues - although many of the kids with EBD/discipline problems were actually very bright, indeed. In fact, the disciplinary problems were usually the sharp-witted ones.

It was unfortunately a rare occasion, indeed, where the parent called into the principal's office behaved better than the child in question. Once or twice a year a parent would sit quietly through the explanation for why they had been summoned, then apologize and offer an explanation for the child's state of mind, or ask for advice. Occasionally the parent would offer excuses having to do with a neurological condition, often blithely stating that nothing could therefore be done about the issue. But for the most part, the parent would blame the teacher, school policy, other kids, the homework, the babysitter, the government - anyone but the adults who theoretically were actually raising the child in question.

Usually this blaming process involved raised and snarling parental voices; sometimes it also involved banging or flinging of objects and pointed flouncing from the premises with the added punctuation of a slammed door. And unfortunately everyone was aware that it would probably involve the child ending up back in the office many more times before their school career was done.

Which is why the following comes as no surprise. Except in its honesty and lack of political correctness... I can't imagine the litigation-fearing schools of the U.S. would dare do any such thing.

Thanks to Susan T.R. for bringing this to my attention!


mrspao said...

It is sad that people don't seem to want to take responsibility for their own children :(

Nancy K. said...

I saw that on Facebook. Isn't it awesome?!

I couldn't agree more...