(Image courtesy of Prawny at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
As providence would have it, I awoke today with the plans to write this specific post today and, upon reading the front page of our local newspaper, found that things are, indeed, as bad as I have been saying for quite some time now. According to this report, our local school district reported nearly 3,000 incidents of violence just last year alone. Of these 3,000 incidents, the police were involved 500 times and students were arrested almost 300 times. Again, this occurred in one school year.
Lest you believe these incidents are few and far between, this is not the case. Whereas teachers of yesteryear had to worry about “serious” infractions such as gum chewing, talking in class, and speaking out of turn, today’s teachers are faced with the threat of assaults against them and their other students, sexual assaults (unfortunately, we have had several of these in our district- some including the assaults of elementary students by other elementary students), weapons being brought to school, drugs, bomb threats, and far too many more to list. Suffice it to say, sending your children to school everyday is a risk.
In fact, the very first line in this article tells of a third-grader who became so angry at another student that he wrapped his hands around the child’s neck, as if to choke him. As sobering as this may seem, what was reported next was even more startling. This was the child’s 14th discipline report in 7 weeks. My question is, why was he still even allowed in the school?
This story is not surprising to me. Several years ago when my children were still attending public school in this district, my daughter, who was in 2nd grade at the time, would come home everyday telling me tales about a boy in her class who would hit the teacher and rip her jewelry off of her, run around the classroom dumping out all of the bins of books, and would cause the entire school to be put on lockdown over and over again. My daughter, a good student who absolutely adored her teacher, would come home worried sick everyday and, frankly, afraid, because all she would ever hear was the teacher screaming at this boy day after day. There was no learning happening. It was quite impossible. Yet, the school did nothing about this situation.
The final straw came when my daughter arrived home to tell me that this child had thrown a desk that day and hit her on the leg with it. That was it for me. I called the district and asked to speak to the superintendent. I was told that I had to go through the chain of command, starting with the teacher. Since I had spoken to the teacher several times about this because I was very sympathetic to her, I called the principal. I was given the explanation that they had to “follow certain protocols.”
What?! Protocols?? Why does it seem that the disruptive students are being catered to while all of the other children are being terrorized everyday? This should.not.happen.
Interestingly, about a week later my daughter informed me that she hadn’t seen this boy in a few days. I believe he was gone about a month, and when he came back, my daughter said he was a completely different child. I suspect it was my phone call that jump-started the disciplinary action to be taken, but why was that even necessary? It was quite obvious the child was violent and disruptive, yet the administration dragged their feet on doing anything about it.
And, again, unfortunately, this is not exclusive to our district. Read any newspaper at random, and you are likely to see at least one school incident reported several times a week.
What bothers me the most is that parents are aware of these situations, and yet they unhesitatingly send their kids off to school everyday without a second thought. Is the compulsory school mindset so ingrained in the minds of these people that they are failing to see the problem?
(Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Homeschooling provides a safe alternative to these dangerous situations. Kids who are placed in stressful situations are less likely to learn anything when they have more important things on their minds- like making it through the school day unscathed. Additionally, the amount of time spent reprimanding these disruptive students is taking precious class time away from the children who actually do want to learn.
Parents of homeschoolers are often accused of sheltering their kids from the “real world.” If sheltering our kids means keeping them safe from harm, then okay. I’ll take that label because this is one parent who will not gamble with the well-being of my children by placing them in these precarious situations. That is one risk I will never be willing to take.
Join me next week when I address the issue of personalized learning in the homeschool environment. Thanks for reading!
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