Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stand Up and Deal With It!!!

My youngest son got suspended from school today. It is the first time any of my children have gotten anything more than detention so it was really somewhat surprising. I say somewhat because I understand how school rules/politics work, and the consequence was inevitable for the crime committed. Let me explain.

The charge was fighting, and he was suspended for five days. (I see the lightbulb going off in your head at this point!) Still, when I explain the situation in its entirety you may be forced to draw some of the same conclusions that I have.

My son shoots verbal insults back and forth with the kid in question pretty much every day when they have a PE class together. It is usually good-natured fun. Yesterday, my son made a similar comment. Unfortunately, the other kid must have been having a bad day. He impulsively sprayed deodorant in my son's face, at which point my son took a blind, impulsive swing at him. It probably would have ended there if not for the fact that a third kid was standing there and made the comment, "Are you just going to take that?", at which point the kid, not wanting to lose face, swung and hit my son in the face, bruising his cheekbone. My son reacted with, "What did you go and do that for?" although he did not hit back.

I understand that nowadays any kind of fighting--even if you are only defending yourself--means an automatic suspension. That doesn't mean I agree with it. Think about this. The policy of automatic suspension encourages both lying and more violence. They lie because they don't want to get in trouble. They become more violent because they know that if they don't fight back they will be bullied and if they do defend themselves they will be suspended anyway! Then there is the fact that the only conflict resolution that is done is signing some *bleeping* contract saying they are "on probation" and need to watch themselves! If my son and this kid were actual enemies, the problems would only escalate.

I will say this: the vice principal at my son's school who dealt with the issue is wonderful! She knows my son and likes him. She knows he has never been in trouble, nor has the other kid. She stressed that fact to the principal, who normally suspends kids for ten days when they fight and then calls the police to have them each arrested to let the courts sort it all out!!! She even listened patiently to my complaints as listed above (although I was not angry or upset when I talked to her and acknowledged I understood her hands were tied).

Granted, the punishment given was less severe than the principal normally gives, but five days is still pretty extreme considering the circumstances. One or two days would have sufficed. All this with no conflict resolution. How can any of this help?

My other thought is, science has fairly recently concluded that the brains of teenagers are still growing. It is thought this is why teenagers can be so impulsive and so such stupid things without thinking about the consequences. Even though I was upset with the thought the other kid sprayed chemicals in my son's eyes, I also understand it was a thoughtless, impulsive, teenage move! Yes, they should be in trouble, but impulsivity should also play a role in the sentence! After all, there are kids who have actual ongoing, long-term battles who hurt each other deliberately!

How is it that we as a society are so complacent that we allow ourselves to be bullied into accepting punishments that don't fit the crimes? Why have we given up the right to due process to allow limited, one-size-fits-all consequences?

Our schools are just mirrors of our society at large. We allow ourselves to be nuked and fondled at the airport in the name of "safety". (How many terrorists do you know personally? Are any of them old people with catheters or children under four still in diapers?) We seem to have no problem with the fact that government agencies are allowed to monitor all our private communications with no warrant (let alone suspicion of crime!). Our taxes go to pay back interest on a national debt that can never be repaid (and was secretly designed to be that way), all the while putting the poor and middle classes into deeper wells of poverty.

Our society is failing because we have allowed it to fail! It is our apathy and our unwillingness to deal with our own problems that has lead to this state of affairs. We have entrusted power to those whose values we are persuaded are the same as ours, but in reality have very different intentions.

It is time for us, as citizens of the world, to stand up and deal with it! We need to look our problems in the face by asking new questions to gain new insights. We need to seek out all those hidden places that cause festering wounds and apply appropriate treatment. Most importantly, we need to expose all those who have been placed in leadership roles and used our power for personal gain at our expense. They are the true sources of our problems. It is only by taking back the mantle of responsibility that we can truly turn our laws, our economy, and our lives around. This is the challenge!



  1. Is that a picture of a bunch of dead rats? Yikes!

    I agree with you on the school policy regarding fighting. Its absurd and doesn't teach children anything. It also seems lazy, as administrators don't want to get involved. I've felt since the time I was in school that the person who initiated the fight should be punished, not the one acting out of defense. And bullying behaviour definitely should not be tolerated. All the more reason to consider home schooling!

  2. Yes, it is rats! It's meant to be disgusting because the way our society operates is disgusting! I believe that it can only get worse if we don't stand up and work to clean up the infestation!