In defending truth and right? While the enemy assaileth, shall we shrink or shun the fight? NO!
In this day and time, parents have many choices of where and how they want their children schooled. You've got Public, Private, Charter, or Home Schooling. I have decided, for now, to stick with public schooling for a variety of reasons. Being the conservative I am, some may wonder why I have chosen this path, as there are more and more liberal views pushed on students, and the funding of schools is completely out of hand. I have many friends that home school, or do charter schools. I would venture to say that we have come to our decisions based on thoughtful consideration and prayer because only WE know our children best, and what would best suit them. This post is not, in any way, about bashing one system or the other. As I said earlier, for NOW, I choose to go the public school route; that could change as the years go on. The current school year my children are in, in fact, has made me reconsider if I'm doing the right thing. Let me explain.
When Hunter (my oldest) was in the first grade, I had a very pleasant conversation with his teacher during parent/teacher conferences. I really liked her, she was a Christian woman of faith, with the same values I believed in. She spoke of how wonderful Hunter was, that he seemed like an "example" to others. What she said next made my day, and confirmed my decision of public schooling. She said, "We need more children of light, like him, in our schools". Now, that just warmed my heart to hear my son being spoken of that way. Don't all parents want to know their children are doing what they should be doing, when we're not watching?
For the most part, I have enjoyed nearly all the teachers my now 3 children, that are in school, have had. Yes, there have been instances where I may not have agreed with certain decisions that were made, but all in all, it's been a pleasant experience. That is, until this year. I have discovered that the temptations of the world are in full swing now, as my children are growing up. I knew it would happen. It's wishful thinking to assume it will not. We all as parents went through it, and knew our children would encounter it someday, but now that the time has crept upon us, I don't like it. And it just confirms to me now, how very different the world is, compared to when I was in school.
I've made it a habit to pray for my children daily that they will be able to withstand the temptations of the world, that they will be strong enough to hold tight to the word of God. I am happy to report, that they ARE trying with all their might, to do the right thing. Are they perfect? No. They are like any other family with children their age I know. They've got their quirks and mischeviousness about them, but they ARE trying.
This has been a tough year for Hunter. Not academically, just on the playground, or in the lunchroom. It's when all the kids are together, playing and socializing, that it's become tough. At lunch, if there are a few kids being roudy, or misbehaving, the whole table, or class, has to miss recess. Standing in line, in the hallway, if one or two children are talking or goofing off when they shouldn't, the whole class has to miss part of recess. Does that seem fair to an 11 year old? I would say no. In the staff member's defense, I would say that it's hard, when your back is turned, or there's simply too many children, to always know for sure who the culprit was, thus, sometimes it's easier to just say, "Okay, everyone's going to have to miss recess now if you guys can't be quiet". I'll admit, I've done that in my own home. I think we like to think we're teaching them a lesson that if you don't do what's right, it will affect other people. That is true, to an extent, but doesn't always have to be the case. I, personally, don't think it is fair that others should be punished because of an action someone else did. Our world today, doesn't see it that way. All around us, there are those that have to fill the void because someone else won't. But that's a discussion for another time.
Back to the school topic. Recess has seemed to be the hardest part of the day. Hunter has a really good friend that he likes to play with, and there are some other boys that enjoy bugging them, not playing the games right, following them around and so on. The boys do what they're supposed to do, tell the staff member that is out there, and they are hoping he or she can get these kids off their back. Not much has been done. That will change after Spring Break, according to the principal. They are going to supposedly install some new consequences for not so good behavior. We'll see how it all plays out. But the reaction these boys have been getting when they've tried to seek for help, has bothered them. They feel like no one is listening, and after all they've done to try to remedy the situation themselves, the problem is still there. I have told Hunter that there will be times he will just have to walk away, after all he's done appropriately, and if that means you just don't play those games, then you don't play them.
I've been very proud of Hunter this year. He has been a helper in the Kindergarten room all year, was nominated and went to a leadership conference put on by the High School leadership committee, has had straight A's, and has been a Self Manager all year long as he has each year. I asked Hunter the other day, how recess was going. He told me that the Friday prior, he and his friend got in trouble out on recess and the staff member on duty said to them, "You're pushing my $#%^ buttons.!". This person didn't say the whole word, just the beginning, but the kids knew exactly what she meant. Supposedly, the boys went to a window to see if their teacher was inside, and I guess they were not allowed to do that. I met with the principal about this, and what it has all come down to, is he said, she said. I guess there was an apology of sorts by the staff member to the kids, but according to the boys, she was back pedaling. The boys were accused of being 'VERY DEFIANT'. Well, if they were so defiant, why didn't I hear about this? These are not defiant boys. The story from the boys and the principal do not add up. I tend to believe my boys, and I will leave it at that. Regardless of whatever the boys may or may not have done, that kind of language is totally unacceptable to me. FOR ANY REASON. This is a place where children reside all day long, and to hear that those words are coming from their mouths is appalling to me.
Now I have talked to Hunter, and all my kids, that we need to make sure we are talking respectfully, not being argumentative, and that sometimes that will mean we are going to have to take it. But from my observations this whole year, it has become quite clear to me what is going on. This class is said to be the class that has the most problems with recess. When they are out there by themselves, there are no problems. I know most of the kids in Hunter's class, and they are good kids, trying to do what is right, and speak up when, in their view, they see things not being done right and call them on it. I'm not saying that the other classes are full of bullies. Hunter's own class has their own. But I was not the first parent to speak to the principal. He had just come off of listening to another parent in that class about the same problems. And unfortunately, from my perspective, they don't like that these kids and their parents are trying to stand against those they and we see as not doing their part to make school a safe and fun place to be. It is obvious to me that it makes them feel uncomfortable when we try to defend our kids and stand up for them, or when these kids try to stand up for themselves. Maybe the reason you are calling our kids defiant is because our kids have been seeking for your help all year long and you've done nothing about it.
I asked the principal at what point does my child have the right to defend himself, verbally, to a teacher, without being argumentative; when that teacher or staff member (not his teacher) tells him to be quiet, you're arguing with me, when all he's trying to do is defend himself and give his side of the story? He explained to me that many times kids, in the heat of the moment, will say things and it can come off as being argumentative. My response..."Just like the staff member outside, was in the heat of the moment when she used foul language to my son." I said it goes both ways, that we do not use that kind of language in our home, and I don't think it's right for my children to come to school seeing these people, who are supposed to be teaching them, using it. What kind of a message is that sending to them?
Okay, I realize that this is somewhat of an insignificant example. There are much worse things that can and will happen. But it got me thinking of what his first grade teacher said. Hunter is trying to do what's right. Is he perfect, no, and I know that. Are there things he could work on? Of course, we all can. But I don't want to see him ever shun the fight. Did I feel like yanking my kids out of school because it was clear to me that the staff was more in defense of themselves rather than my son? Yep, I sure thought about it. But I realized that I can't back away when things like this happen. What am I then teaching Hunter? That I WILL shrink the fight? I can't. And I realize that there are still many good and wonderful people there that do like being around our children and sincerely do want to teach them. Public school isn't perfect, I don't believe there is a perfect situation to be quite frank. If they can make it through school, they can make it through anything. If Hunter, and all these children just keep pushing forward, then FAITHFUL AND TRUE THEY WILL EVER STAND!