Monday, June 25, 2007

Leaving Freedom at the School's Front Doors

A 13-year-old seventh-grader is sent to the school office for the crime of hugging his girlfriend in school. After agreeing that he's way too young to have a girlfriend at all, we are left with the fact that he got in trouble not because of PDA specifically, but because there is no touching of ANY kind allowed there--no hand shakes, no pats on the back, no high-fives. The school he attends is yet another place where the theory of zero-tolerance is embraced.

Zero-tolerance believers are the reason a first-grader once got suspended for pretending his chicken nugget was a gun. Zero-tolerance is loosely translated as "we can't assess anything without having to form a committee, so we'll just say no to everything."

Beyond the silliness (and laziness) of zero-tolerance proponents, what I found most disturbing about this story is this:

Hal's troubles began one day in March when he got up from his assigned cafeteria table and went to a nearby table where his then-girlfriend was sitting. He admits he broke one rule -- getting up from his assigned table without permission -- and he accepts a reprimand for that. "The table thing, I'm guilty," he said.

He has an assigned seat in the cafeteria? He has to ask for permission to get up from it? Wow---I well recall how little freedom we had in school when I was a kid, yet we had much more than some of today's kids have. Never having sent a child to school, I'm just not up on these things, I guess.

But just for the record, at our house, being homeschoolers means we allow hugging in our school, no one has an assigned seat, and no one has to ask for permission to leave their seat except our youngest, who is still expected to ask Dad to be excused from the dinner table.


Rona's Home Page said...

Interested...the title really caught my attention. You post the most facinating news stories.

I'll definitely keep you posted on Marcus' virtual school experience.

Barbara Frank said...

Thanks, Rona! I can't wait to read about it :)

Jane said...