Editor's Note | Jamie Stewart
I think I need a timeout
October 24, 2019 | View PDF
I recently wrote a piece about new legislation that makes it illegal for schools to suspend students for “willful defiance.” This phrase includes noncooperation, such as cussing out a teacher, sleeping in class, refusing to obey classroom rules and being disruptive. Before, a student could be suspended if he or she did not heed warnings given by teachers and administration. This new legislation recommends the use of positive reinforcement, or a “focus on healing, respect, support, and the general well-being of the student.”
Wow, that sounds great. We should bend over backwards to make sure that our students are respected and supported while they disrespect those trying to educate them. That makes a lot of sense.
Sadly, I really cannot say that I am surprised. For this generation of kids, this is just the next domino falling in a series, reinforcing a sense of entitlement that we are to be blamed for.
They have not had to face the realization that being disrespectful to their parents, teachers, and even fellow students, will have consequences. The children of this generation have grown up getting rewarded for mere participation.
Yes, I am talking about the infamous “participation trophy.”
They have not had to learn how to lose with dignity or accept defeat. They have never had to pick themselves up and resolve to work a little harder. The same goes for that elusive feeling of rejection. No wonder there is such an uproar these days when a young person doesn’t get that job that they applied for or are told no after asking their crush on a date. Rejection is just not something they have had to deal with.
But this is not just the fault of schools. Much of the blame belongs to parents themselves. There are parents out there applauding this legislation, not because they hope it will have a more positive outcome, but because they won’t have to deal with their child being stuck at home for a week or have to make the time to deal with their child’s behavior.
Students today would absolutely freak if they could see a glimpse of what we faced in school – the paddle and the feeling of having to face your parents and teachers at that dreaded parent- teacher conference. Consequences are just not something this generation has to deal with, and it is sad. It is sad, not only for the kids growing up with this sense of entitlement and ignorance of what justice really is, but also for the teachers and administrators trying to educate these children with their hands figuratively and literally tied.
That old saying, “spare the rod and spoil the child,” is just as relevant today as in years past. But, now we have essentially given the rod to the children and are letting them beat us over the head with it.
Jamie Stewart is editor of The Shafter Press. His opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect that of the paper or its publishers.