How Parents Are Playing Russian Roulette With Their Children

Whenever I discuss an incident of astounding incompetence and idiocy by school administrators, I receive indignant protests that such incidents tell us nothing about the trustworthiness of the schools generally, and that any system, even the very best, have anomalous examples of misconduct and poor judgment. Admittedly I am somewhat conditioned by the experiences of my son, which convinced my wife and I to home school him, not for religious reasons, but because we were horrified by the inflexible, often cruel conduct of his teachers, the deceit and cowardice of various school administrators, and the accumulated impact of the inept teaching and oversight on our son’s attitude toward education, authority, institutions, and life in general. Yet even that was before I began recording the steady drumbeat of teachers seducing their students, teachers indoctrinating their students in their own ideological beliefs, schools punishing students for technical violations of badly written and overly broad rules and harshly disciplining children for their communications and activities outside school grounds, in their private lives.

I now believe that any parent who entrusts the welfare and upbringing of their children to today’s schools is playing the equivalent of Russian Roulette, allowing people who have inadequate standards, inadequate training, inadequate judgment and inadequate values to have an opportunity to warp, debase, confuse or otherwise harm the young. I believe this because I am convinced that the public and media are aware of only a small percentage of the misconduct schools and their employees engage in daily.

Take, for example, the experience of photographer Jess Michener. Two of his children were going on a school field trip. It was a sunny day, and his children are fair-skinned and prone to sunburn—one especially, because she has a mild form of albinism. When they came home, the two were so painfully sunburned that he had to take them to the hospital. He writes:

“After seeing the kids upon returning home from work, I immediately went to the school to speak with the principal. Her response centered around the school inability to administer what they considered a prescription/medication (sunscreen) for liability reasons. And while I can sort of wrap my brain around this in theory, the practice of a blanket policy which clearly allows for students to be put in harm’s way is deeply flawed. Not only does a parent have to take an unrealistic (an un-intuitive) step by visiting a doctor for a “prescription” for an over-the-counter product, children are not allowed to carry it on their person and apply as needed. Had my children gone to school slathered in sunscreen (which they did not, it was raining), by noon – when the sun came out – they would have needed to reapply anyway. Something as simple as sun hat might seem to bypass the prescription issue to some extent. Alas, hats are not allowed at school, even on field day.”

Praise is due to Mr. Michener for his calm and reflective commentary. I doubt that I could have been so circumspect. I believe I can refer him to some excellent lawyers in his community who will sue the school, the administrators and the teachers to an extent that their next calculation of whether to allow children to blister “for liability reasons” won’t be so simple. I, of course, would also yank my children out of this den of fools, contact the local newspaper and Congressman, and dedicate myself to hounding the so-called “professionals” responsible for my kid’s pain to the End of Days.

Michener again…

“Staff need to be awake to possible threats or safety issues and be able to take action. Prolonged sun exposure leads to burns: either put sunscreen on or, at the very least, remove the child from the sun. A simple call would have brought me to that school in minutes to assist my kids.

Wow, what a concept! Who would have thought such a thing?  This is what is wonderful about America, you know? The education profession operates for centuries, learns along the way, acquires theory, innovation and wisdom, constantly striving for improvement under the guidance of dedicated lifetime practitioners, and yet there is always room for improvement, always a useful new approach that may arise from the imagination of someone not even in the educational field! Look out for the safety of students, and be able to take action!!! Don’t let kids burn up in the sun!! Why, school administrators all over the United States must be smacking themselves on their foreheads with the flat of their hand, saying, “Why didn’t we think of that?”

We can’t trust such people, you know. The fact that there are not sufficient good options to playing Russian Roulette with out children’s health, safety and education doesn’t change the fact that is what entrusting our kids to people like Michener’s principal is. And it is irresponsible. I don’t care to hear politicians in bed with the teachers unions telling us that the solution is to devote more funds to underwrite the Russian Roulette either, until I detect systemic acknowledgment that the schools are untrustworthy, real accountability for them getting this way, and standards that prevent disgusting conduct like that which sent Jesse Michener’s children into the broiler.


Pointer: Advice Goddess

Facts: Jesse Michener’s Blog

Source: Free Range Kids

Graphic: QLP

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at

14 thoughts on “How Parents Are Playing Russian Roulette With Their Children

  1. I still have a hard time comprehending why such things are even an issue. Are school administrators so doctrinaire by nature and so terrified of “liability” that they consider the welfare of their young charges secondary in importance? Just what IS the prevalent attitude among these people as to the physical and spiritual worth of these children?

    • I get why they don’t want the kids taking their own sunscreen to school and applying it themselves since they might share it with somebody who could have an allergy to some additive in it.

      Why they don’t simply let the kids take any kind of medication, prescription or not, under supervision with just the parents permission is beyond me though. Either school administrators are morons or the legal system is screwed up enough that the school could actually be found liable for some drug reaction even if the school just does what the parents asked them to do. I think both possibilities are equally likely.

        • I’ve said enough in the bus monitor thread, so will self-restrain here, like SMP in the “bashing-temptation” thread. What more crappy, corrupt, user-unfriendly, perverse non-system of (non-)accountability, (abused) authority, and (ir)responsibility could be found, than is found in New York public schools? Aw, shucks: for a minute there, I blanked-out thoughts about Congress and the Obama Administration.

        • It isn’t liability, it’s control. They can’t allow students to do things for themselves without permission. Sorry, that doesn’t really get to the motivation. They get to DISALLOW the children from applying their own sunscreen. This makes them a bigger person.

  2. In New York we face the same problem. A prescription is needed in order for someone at the school or my children to apply sunscreen. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but administrations are rock solid in their defense of not allowing the use of sunscreen without a doctor’s order. I’m not sure where it originally came from, perhaps a fear of teachers slathering lotion on children’s bodies, but there is no wiggle room, at least in NY.

  3. I checked the requirements for nearby schools and most require sunhats to be worn during the hotter months.
    The website for the school up the road also said “Remember to also apply sunscreen in the mornings before leaving for school. Sunscreen is also available in all classrooms for student use.”
    It must work because I don’t recall seeing any of the local children being sunburnt.

  4. Pingback: Signs of the Times | The Blog of Salvo Magazine

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