Friday, October 14, 2016

Rights And Wrongs

In response to a post which reported that high school students were expelled in punishment for their Facebook posts supporting neo-Nazis and the murdering of Jews I posted:

Talk about a mixed bag!

1.  The postings were disgusting. There is no excuse for them. It's clear that at least some if not all of the parents were shocked by their children's behavior. I repeat, there is no excuse for this. I make none.
2. Once informed of this, Facebook correctly took down the posts.
3. This is exactly the kind of hate speech the Donald Trump calls politically incorrect. It is exactly what he has authorized and made acceptable again.
4. The school was completely and totally wrong and punishing the students for these actions.

How can I say on the one hand of the actions deserved punishment and then immediately add that the school should not have administered punishment? The answer is very simple. This was none of the school's business.

Once we begin to allow schools to punish students for actions taken off-campus and after school hours, we have given schools an unbelievable excess of authority over parents and children and at the same time we have put upon schools a terrible and impossible burden.

Should schools also punish children for talking back? Not eating their dinner? Not cleaning their rooms? Parents are in charge of the children when their children are not in school. It is been traditional, and  may still be a cultural fact, that Japanese teachers are superior to parents. Parents  traditionally bowed more deeply to teachers than teachers bowed to parents. Teachers were considered to be failing in the duties if they did not spend at least some nights checking to make sure the lights in students' bedrooms were on well after normal bedtime. This was accepted as evidence that the child was studying hard. If a teacher felt parents were not doing their duty, the teacher was expected to give the parents a stern lecture. Parents were expected to listen and comply.

I do not think this would be appropriate in America.

This  also places  a ridiculous burden upon the schools. Every teacher in the high school is to be held accountable for disciplining their students for their behavior of those children after school hours?  Only the principal? So he's now responsible for all the students in the school?

Discipline and lessons are clearly in order for these children, but since these activities took place off-campus and after school hours, the school should not be involved in individual responses unless the parents ask for assistance. The school is responsible for being aware of this conduct and making it a part of lesson plans to prevent such actions as a part of educating our future adult citizens.  This, however is a general action not specifically aimed at individual pupils.

As a parent I did not want the government, not even in the form of the school system, taking responsibility for the actions of my family outside of school hours and activities. As a parent, I will deal with my children.

As an retired educator I would have objected to being required to deal with private disciplinary problems which should be in the hands of the parents.

There is one possible excuse for the school's actions. While the article strongly implies the students were expelled for being a part of the group and for the posts, it also mentioned that at least some students reported being threatened and harassed by members of the group. Such behavior, if it took place on school grounds, would be a valid reason for the expulsion of the students who actually threatened or harassed other students.


The report about parent teacher relationships in Japan is from Samurai's Ghost, a book written by an American who taught in Japan for a number of years.

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