Comment of the Day: “Facebook Wars: Parental Abdication, School Abuse of Power”

The Comment of the Day is from Joshua, from the lively thread on the post “Facebook Wars: Parental Abdication, School Abuse of Power.”

“….School sphere of influence should only be on school property. Any area outside of that influence should be a place the school has no power, period. I believe schools have abused power long enough. Especially after ‘No Tolerance’ was enacted.

“No Tolerance is a terrible and poorly used ruling. Every single situation is different and no “rule of thumb” can decide perfectly for each situation. I bring forth a couple of examples. The high schooler with an accidentally placed paring knife in her lunch box had a very bad run in with school officials. A kindergartner was in trouble with his school officials after gluing toy soldiers, the 99 cent bag of plastic mold soldiers, to a hat for the Fourth of July and for his dad. What about the school that remotely activated school issued laptops at night in the students’ homes?

“I’m sure you can find even more examples. It gets more ridiculous every year with schools.

“I’d like to add in that I do not believe it is the school’s job to “raise” children. I believe it is the school’s job to educate. The minute the school is attempting to raise our children to think, act, and respond in certain ways in a purposeful manner is the minute parents lose their rights to raise their children as they see fit…”

9 thoughts on “Comment of the Day: “Facebook Wars: Parental Abdication, School Abuse of Power”

  1. Well, public schools right? Cause Private Catholic schools were created for the sole purpose of having a wider sphere of influence and parents pay a premium for those schools to raise their kids and instill the morals of the church, right?

    Public schools are Government owned and operated, so it makes sense that they educate kids to obey laws and be sheeple. Wouldn’t want to let loose a string of individuals that challenge the government. It would be biting the hand that feeds you.

    The post is absolutely correct that “No Tolerance” in almost any setting is horrible. I hope that paragraph is why this is “comment of the day”, and not the rest.

    • What a confusing reply–I can’t tell where your tongue is placed.
      First, I picked the Comment because it is clear and conveys a coherent point of view. Second, no school has a right to dictate thought and behavior off of school grounds, any more than everyone in society, which is partially responsible for re-enforcing cultural norms.

      I am uncomfortable with teachers, public or private, passing along their ideas of proper conduct and thought, because 1) they aren’t that smart 2) I don’t trust them, and 3) my kids are my kids. Punishment goes beyond teaching to enforcement…what is appropriate on school grounds is not necessarily a standards I have to agree with, or see my child punished for violating.

      By the time a child heads to college, he should have some resistance to enforced thought-policing. I would be more likely to see expanded school authority against bullying if I wasn’t certain that what my generation called “teasing”, “kidding,” and “hassling” would be ground for suspension.

      • I’m perfectly fine with private schools having extended reach, so long as they make clear what their reach is. If a Catholic school wants to say you have to come to church on Sunday and you can’t go to San Francisco, so be it. So long as there is informed consent, it’s just like any other valid contract.

        The issue is public schools reaching outside their boundaries.

  2. What you are talking about Tim is indoctrination. Indoctrination is extremely dangerous. There is never a reason to indoctrinate anyone at any time of their life. The strength of America is in the diversity of America.

    By enrolling your children at a private school, you are signing a contract with that school to allow more or less control of your children by that school. You sign a contract with the rules clearly outlined. You do not have to enroll your child in private school unlike with public school. And still at the end of the day, that school has no power outside of school grounds, especially a private school.

    I have had first hand run ins with teachers, my teachers, trying to force their views upon me. Do you have any idea how much trouble I got in because I did not want to believe as they believed? I was removed from my fourth grade class because my teacher tried to humiliate me because I didn’t see the world as she saw it.

    I have a very strong dislike of your line “obey laws and be sheeple.” Obeying laws does not make you a sheep to the government. Obeying ideas and philosophical mentalities dictated to you by others is how you become a sheeple. One must make up his or her own mind about life and the many hardships it carries.

  3. “What you are talking about Tim is indoctrination. Indoctrination is extremely dangerous. There is never a reason to indoctrinate anyone at any time of their life. The strength of America is in the diversity of America.”

    The US public school system is by definition, indoctrination. If you don’t like it, you can home school. I understand Mr. Marshall is among this nation’s many homeschool parents. What did you think you were learning during any civics class, social studies, world geography, or history class? You weren’t learning a balanced objective view of the world and government. No. You were learning about America, American history, and the history of the victor. That is indoctrination and it happens every day. But that’s not what I was talking about was more tongue in cheek, but that was lost on you.

    “By enrolling your children at a private school, you are signing a contract with that school to allow more or less control of your children by that school. You sign a contract with the rules clearly outlined. You do not have to enroll your child in private school unlike with public school. And still at the end of the day, that school has no power outside of school grounds, especially a private school.”

    I agree with the first part, but when you start saying that a school has no power outside of school grounds, and especially a private school, you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether you like it, or in your case, you don’t, schools hold power. Just because you don’t want them to have power doesn’t make them powerless. Additionally, if you asked 10 parents if they wanted their child to have a safe learning environment would they allow the school to investigate alleged threats to student safety or to contact authorities when appropriate, they would say “YES” at least 9 times out of the 10. That’s not a study, that’s my own opinion.

    “I have had first hand run ins with teachers, my teachers, trying to force their views upon me. Do you have any idea how much trouble I got in because I did not want to believe as they believed? I was removed from my fourth grade class because my teacher tried to humiliate me because I didn’t see the world as she saw it.”

    You have my sympathy. But unless they were trying to educate you on why it’s not acceptable to create embarrassing lists of the girls in your class based on rumors and widely distributing that list to as many of the student population as possible, you’re childhood trauma is a separate issue and is a complete disconnect and misdirection from the original article.

    “I have a very strong dislike of your line “obey laws and be sheeple.” Obeying laws does not make you a sheep to the government. Obeying ideas and philosophical mentalities dictated to you by others is how you become a sheeple. One must make up his or her own mind about life and the many hardships it carries.”

    The “AND” in my line is a conjunction. It connects two separate ideas. I didn’t say “be sheeple by obeying laws”. You shouldn’t have fought with your teacher and refused her vision of conjunctions. Knowing that, you would have realized that the rest of the paragraph we agree on and went without saying.

    • I agree with the first part, but when you start saying that a school has no power outside of school grounds, and especially a private school, you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether you like it, or in your case, you don’t, schools hold power. Just because you don’t want them to have power doesn’t make them powerless.

      What authority do schools’ have outside school grounds. Can you point me to a governing document giving them any such power? I can’t think of one.

      Additionally, if you asked 10 parents if they wanted their child to have a safe learning environment would they allow the school to investigate alleged threats to student safety or to contact authorities when appropriate, they would say “YES” at least 9 times out of the 10. That’s not a study, that’s my own opinion.

      Yes, school’s have a duty to create a safe-learning environment. They can ban the list in the school and they could suspend or give detention to kids referencing the list in school. If they hear about outside school activity, they can pass it to the proper law enforcement body. They can investigate everything that is going on in their domain (School grounds, field trips, buses, bus stops, even walking to and from school), but that’s that. If they find out Bobby hit Jimmy at home, they can tell the cops, tell the parents, and monitor Bobby and Jimmy in school. They do not have any authority to punish Bobby.

      What parents want has no bearing on what schools should do or are even allowed to do. 9 out of 10 parents of middle schoolers might want MTV to not exist. Does that give a government entity the power to get rid of MTV? What if 9 out of 10 parents didn’t want kids to learn about evolution? Should it be stricken from the textbooks?

  4. “What authority do schools’ have outside school grounds. Can you point me to a governing document giving them any such power? I can’t think of one.”

    I didn’t say they had authority, only power. Influence is power. Volunteers, community members, and PTA are examples.

    But to move on to what I do want to comment on. Everyone’s assertion that the school can only punish based on what occurs on school property or during a school event and nothing more.

    In this article, a school did exactly what you suggest. They looked at what was occurring during a school event and they punished the girl’s misconduct appropriately because she wasn’t living up to her duties that were required for her position. There were other things that happened off campus that the school did not account for in their punishment of the girl. I take it, this is the desired result?

    I’m running on empty here and this post is page two fodder now with no attention or possibility that I’ll get any support. Considering I’ve had no support for my views thus far, I can only assume that I’m way off base and am an island unto myself.

    But just to recap what we are actually discussing with the original post (not this comment of the day praising post…)

    A male student created a list that was hosted as a public page on Facebook identifying women, rating their attractiveness, exposing their rumored sexual proclivities, and their school.

    The school reached out to local authorities to aid them in getting the list removed from Facebook and their influence with the authorities resulted in a successful removal of that list. The author, while identity not confirmed, suffered no punishment from the school.

    So to recap: Jack said what they did was wrong because they went outside of their domain.

    What you say they should do and what they did was actually quite similar.

    They used their influence to encourage authorities to remove a Facebook page that was quite possibly* causing emotional distress to a number of their female students. I’d think there’d be a case for Hostile Work Environment if the role of “school” was changed to “business”, but I am no expert. (*I say quite possibly because I don’t know for sure, but I assume the school didn’t stumble upon this page themselves, I assume the page was brought to their attention.)

  5. The school bringing inappropriate material up to the proper authority is fine. It should just be the same as if a church, parent, or boy scout troop were acting in the role of the school, but likely with a little more deference than if it was an individual.

    If Facebook or the police gave in inappropriately to the school, then it’s an ethical issue for Facebook or the police. If the school threatened the power of the government, then the school would be acting beyond the ethical boundaries of their influence. If the school brought up this was an issue to an authority, the authority determined that it was a general issue, and that authority that caused the removal, then everyone is in the clear.

    It looked to me like you were using power to mean authority, not influence. Schools clearly have influence, but they need to make sure they know the difference between influence and authority. The way you wrote up this event, it looks like the school could be acting ethically, but how they interacted with the actual authority would matter.

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