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: Continue reading