Last night, my son brought home a stack of paper work for me to fill out; paperwork from his Jr. High School. That’s right, he goes to school and I get to do the homework! OK, it’s not the paperwork, per se, that has me hacked off, it was the content.
First of all, it turns out that five of the “forms” I had to fill out, were all from one teacher for a single class! One form went on about class conduct and behavior while another pointed out that the computer equipment is expensive and that the students, by signing the form (as if before they signed the form no such responsibility existed), agreed to treat it with respect.
Really, I need to sign a form that says I understand that my child is responsible for any physical damage he causes to school property? Has our society degenerated so, that we must sign legal documents stating we have a personal responsibility to take care of expensive equipment entrusted to our care?
When I was in school (oh man did I just write that?) the principal still had a paddle that he, boldly, hung on the wall directly behind his desk; and he used it regularly! We didn’t need our parents to fill out stacks of paperwork describing our “personal responsibilities” for public property; WE KNEW OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES and if we forgot the paddle was a great reminder!
I remember when this BS all started, for me it was 6th grade (1978), the program was called “The Positive Reinforcement” plan ( or something like that, come on it’s been a few years). The plan called for each student to be tracked all year with regard to behavior and if you had not received any “cards” ( of varying colors ) you could participate in the “positive reinforcement” which was to be something like a dance, a field trip or some other “whole school” activity. This lasted one year. At the end of my 6th grade year, all the “eligible” students were treated to a movie in the Gym (The Nutty Professor staring Jerry Lewis; it was in black and white!). My 7th grade year, the decision was made to keep the negative aspects of “The Positive Reinforcement” plan -- the colored cards that were handed out when you got in trouble—and do away with the “costly” positive reinforcement ( the cheesy movie ), now that is liberal thinking and policy at its finest, bait and switch!
I recall a 7th grade teacher who used to love to wax nostalgic for the days when the school could leave playground equipment out on the playground overnight and on weekends so that children could use it after school; those days were gone even back in the 70’s. He used to tell a story about how, at the beginning of every year, he would take a .50 cent piece and drop it next to one of the desks and NOBODY would pick it up, and if they did, they’d bring it to him to see if he knew who had lost it; the lesson being that each child knew it did not belong to them and would naturally figure that the owner would, sooner or later, discover it missing and come to claim it. By 1979 those days were LONG GONE. I have to admit, had I found a .50 piece laying on the floor, I’d a picked it up and turned it in too, only I’d a turned it in at the snack bar in exchange for a candy bar!
What have we become? We now live in a society that is so “sue happy” that our own public schools ( schools and equipment we pay for with our taxes) must send home reams of paperwork for students and parents to spell out their exact responsibilities with regard to personal behavior and respect for others and their property. I think it’s time for some parents to get involved well before their children start school! It’s time to return to our Christian heritage and start teaching our children about the founding principles that made this country the greatest the world has ever seen. At the very least, imagine the number of trees we’ll save!