One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

My Photo
Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Schoolhouse Crock: We're Sorry, Common Consideration Has Been Disconnected

Before I start this....Obviously, school rules should be obeyed whenever possible. I am not saying that the young man in question is completely in the clear here.

But, as the old billboard once said....was this trip completely necessary?

From the article:

The confrontation Wednesday began after the 17-year-old junior got a call at lunchtime from his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, who left in January for a one-year tour with the 203rd Forward Support Battalion.....
When a teacher told him to hang up, he refused. He said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

What if it had been the local hospital calling to say his mom had just had a heart attack and was in a coma? Okay, they probably would have called the school directly, but still...

[Assistant Principal Alfred] Parham said the teen's suspension was based on his reaction to the teacher's request. He said the teen used profanity when taken to the office.

Again, not to excuse the young man completely, if this is true.....but I probably would have, too.

"Kevin got defiant and disorderly," Parham said. "When a kid becomes out of control like that they can either be arrested or suspended for 10 days. Now being that his mother is in Iraq, we're not trying to cause her any undue hardship; he was suspended for 10 days."

Well, that's SOME consideration, at least.

Look, folks...I'm not saying kids should be allowed everything they want just because they want it. I would think that if the school didn't have good reason to disallow kids from talking on cell phones during school hours, then it wouldn't be an issue.

But if the article is correct, the student got this call---from his mom, in Iraq, whom he hadn't seen in MONTHS---during his lunch break. It's not like he was interrupting a lecture here.

This could have been handled differently.

For example, the teacher in question could have given the kid five minutes, under direct supervision, to complete a call that was not going to happen every day...

...and, for all anyone knew, might never happen again.

The school's website is listed at the bottom of the article linked above, wherein the email addresses of the principal and both assistant principals can be found.
(Disclaimer: I am NOT telling you to flame them. If this is a just world, they're already catching enough heat about this. But if you must speak, speak well.)

UPDATE: Apparently, there's a bit more to the story than I originally found in the AP article (I shoulda known better). My good buddy SupeDuJour led me by the nose to some VERY important follow-up from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer---in whose backyard this occured in the first place---that rather changes the situation.
(Oh---and remember what I said about not lighting up the principal's email address? Consider it retracted. You may fire when ready.)

UPDATE---May 9: I have learned that the school decided to lift the suspension and allow Kevin to return to school today. Glad to hear it.