Thursday, August 30, 2007
Were the students harassed? (I taught elementary school for nine years; I never recall hearing a student use the word "harass" even though I taught in at least one very multi-ethnic school). A couple of students complain, no one checks to establish the legitimacy of the complaint, but voila, the game of tag is now banned. The vice principal feels justified because only a couple of parents complained about the ban.
Let's consider this event in a larger context. First, life is competitive. No amount of coddling on the part of parents or schools can remove this fact. Sometimes people win, sometimes they lose. Tag has numerous benefits including releasing energy, yelling, and temporarily being "it." If you were "it," you went after someone else and they became "it."
Second, parents who complain on behalf of their children or children who have learned to use certain words (oppress, harass, bother, etc.) will have a huge awakening in the real world. Then again, they may never figure it out.
Third, life is not risk free. People have accidents, get hurt, and all of us will die. We are doing our youth an incredible disservice by protecting them from all things negative.
Fourth, we are teaching our children to be irresponsible. If they do not learn accountability for their actions, they will lose.
Fifth, as indicated in this post, we are also giving the school systems a free pass on enforcing rules, teaching accountability, and helping students deal with uncomfortable situations. We teach the whiners and complainers that they can get away with their form of bullying.
I would hope the parents in this school would challenge this ruling and that the vice principal would look for the culprits instead of punishing an entire school. Who knows, the whining bullies may have made up the charges. And we wonder why juvenile diabetes and obesity are on the rise?