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Outrageous Discipline at School

By end0parasite in Op-Ed
Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:39:27 AM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

Recently, while walking back to class after lunch at school and arguing with my friends about the presidential candidates, I said, "Go fuck yourself!" to one. Well, technically, I yelled it, and the teacher thirty yards ahead heard it.

Our school policy on the word fuck is this: if you say it, you get an in-school suspension. In case you didn't know, that's where you have to sit in the school office for the rest of the day. During my time in the teachers' lounge I looked through the student handbook at the rules.


I found out something interesting, and it made me furious! The penalty for saying 'fuck' is also the penalty for

Use of tobacco
Theft
Possession or distribution

Hello? Did I miss something here? According to my calculations, the latter of the four infractions all have one thing in common; a victim. They are also against the law. The word 'fuck' is not illegal to say, and by saying it no one gets hurt. So how does my school get off saying these infractions are the same thing?

In-school suspensions are for use with dangerous students. They are tools for the faculty to seperate the student body from harm. When a student gets an in-school suspension for saying 'fuck' the system has gone too far and said that saying such a word is just as harmful as possessing or distributing drugs. All that is being accomplished is that the student is missing the rest of the day's classes!

There is discipline and there is abuse. When you overdue discipline it becomes abuse. This is what has happened here.

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Display: Sort:
Outrageous Discipline at School | 82 comments (79 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Zero Tolerance - BAD (3.69 / 13) (#1)
by BonzoESC on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:31:31 PM EST

I think that most people will argue that this sort of Zero Tolerance policy is bad. However, there are still those who believe that such policies are responsible for the safety of the masses. Mostly, school administrators believe that zero tolerance is the only thing keeping their private empire from collapsing into anarchy.

Voltaire believed that people desire to make the right choice, and that is really what keeps schools working. 100 adults cannot control 2000 hormone-raging teenagers. However, most students know what is right, and, for the most part, do it. Therefore, zero-tolerance rules do not need to be enforced for curse words because: a) everybody already knows syntax and usage rules for curse words, b) if you swear, you're probably making an empty threat or insult that nothing will happen from, especially if you're in the company of friends, and c) infringing on student's rights to free speech can cause a lot of bad press.

My favorite teacher was the one who broke rules: he cussed, gave the whole class the finger, proclaimed Budweiser and Pop Tarts as the breakfast of champions, and openly mocked the administration.

--

Normally, my sig is an image.

Not the issue (2.66 / 6) (#3)
by Miniluv on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:33:31 PM EST

Free speech does not take precedence here, it's been ruled over and over in the courts that students do NOT have the right to say anything and everything at school without repurcussions.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily... (3.25 / 8) (#4)
by BonzoESC on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:39:05 PM EST

Elementary school - students don't know a whole lot, can't analyze the repurcussions of what they are about to say. Limit their free speech.
Middle/Junior High - students are arrogant and foolish. Limit them, but not as much.
High School - Students basically know most everything they need to for life, except specialized information for their career. Don't limit their speech, because they probably have something to say.
College - don't even think about it.

Remember, history is the best way to learn about making decisions, and the last history class most people take is in high school.

--

Normally, my sig is an image.
[ Parent ]

Ahh... the innocence. (3.57 / 7) (#10)
by canthidefromme on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 11:52:29 PM EST

I don't know about you. But in high school I was SUCH an idiot. I mean, I think back to high school and recoil at my idiocy. I mean.. I had NO idea what I needed to learn in life. I thought I was like the shit back in high school. I had the grades, I had my SATs, scholarships, and a programming job. But I did not even BEGIN to comprehend just how little I knew about the real world.

Moving hundreds of miles away for school and becoming independent (getting a job, navigating the Manhattan real estate market, going to school, paying for tuition) helped a little. However, I still consider myself a total flaming idiot.

-Jennifer

jf542@stern.nyu.edu
[ Parent ]
Me too... And... (3.40 / 5) (#14)
by Luke Scharf on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:28:39 AM EST

I don't know about you. But in high school I was SUCH an idiot. I mean, I think back to high school and recoil at my idiocy.

In the last year or so (I'm 21), I've discovered this self preservation instinct thing! I didn't have it three years ago -- or at least it certainly looks like that. I mean, how else could I average 80mph on my daily drive... Oh yeah, I didn't sleep eaither... And... And...

Anyway, you get the idea. :-)



[ Parent ]
Not the point... (3.60 / 5) (#18)
by Miniluv on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:53:33 AM EST

You're still missing the point. LEGALLY free speech is not an issue in the case brought up in this post. Making it into an argument just doesn't make any sense.

Maybe yer right about who to limit, maybe yer not...but that doesn't change the way the law is written and interpreted to this point.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Re: Not the issue (2.00 / 3) (#30)
by ksandstr on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 11:31:47 AM EST

And so, if the fucking court rules that "freedom of speech is irrelevant after you step through the door", that means that there is absolutely no reason to respect it? What kind of sick, twisted world are you people living in?

There are countries in which the freedom of speech isn't respected only because you can get bad press, you know.



Fin.
[ Parent ]
Free speech != free responsibility! (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by tzanger on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:52:12 AM EST

Free speech does not take precedence here, it's been ruled over and over in the courts that students do NOT have the right to say anything and everything at school without repurcussions.

No citizen can say what they want without reprocussions. Free speech does not guarantee protection from reprocussions.

A simple example: walking into a bank and shouting "This is a stickup!" will likely get you into some very hot water. Shouting "Fire!" in a crowded movie theatre the same. Interestingly enough, shouting "Movie!" in a crowded firehouse isn't as seriously dealt with. :-)

An aside: why is the subject not kept when I reply to a person?



[ Parent ]
Subject line in reply. (OT) (none / 0) (#63)
by whatnotever on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:52:54 PM EST

Well, I personally find that I already know due to the threaded view what the comment is a reply to. I find it *much* nicer if the responder writes a subject that relates to what they actually say. It makes it much easier to glance at a "conversation" and know what's going on, and whether I want to read it or not...

[ Parent ]
Strange... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by DavidTC on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:29:15 PM EST

How do minors not have the right to free speech?

It hasn't been ruled over and over, in fact, it's not been ruled that way at all. Most of the time it's been ruled that schools have some limitations they can apply, strictly to stop disruption, not broad sweeping powers to outlaw any speech they want. School hve gotten into plenty of trouble trying to outlaw, say, gay and lesbian clubs, or underground newspapers.



-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Consistency... (4.05 / 19) (#2)
by Miniluv on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:31:34 PM EST

It may be the mark of a small mind, but it's also the mark of a solid argument.

Who is the victim in the use of tobacco? Who is the victim in possesion or distribution of controlled substances? Theft is the ONLY infraction you mentioned with an unwilling participant, ie victim.

As far as the uses of in-school suspension goes? That's a discretionary matter for the school. I would hardly categorize an in-school suspension as "abuse". The big question here is, did you know the rule before you broke it? If you did, I have zero sympathy. As someone who tends to use profanity in casua conversation, I'm also quite capable of refraining as circumstance requires.

The issue of disciple in the school environment is one worthy being had at length, and repeatedly, but this is hardly the way to begin it. I would also HARDLY agree that schools are abusing their students, or that discipline is being overused. If anything the opposite is true. I observed this as a student, and I observe it now as the son of a school teacher.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'

I agree, but (4.40 / 5) (#8)
by Holloway on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 11:44:38 PM EST

>did you know the rule before you broke it?
>If you did, I have zero sympathy.

Now this doesn't make any sense. He seems to be talking about the rule existing, not that he was caught and broke it (that's what sparked him into it, though). I would hope he thought the law is as stupid previously. > I would also HARDLY agree that schools are abusing
> their students, or that discipline is being overused.

In my school we had angry, angry teachers. Throwing chalk at students, starting staring competitions and then yelling, even teachers stealing (oh, sorry, confiscating and never returning). Your blanket statement here that schools "HARDLY agree that schools" abuse students is a little scary. There's variations in any sufficiently large group, and I wouldn't say that of any profession.

I'm 21 now and I didn't realise at the time that teachers were going too far. Mostly though, people always thought the worst of students that they must have deserved it. It wasn't most teachers but it was probably about 20% that acted stupidly, and even then it wasn't too bad. Still, they shouldn't have done it.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

I'll agree to a point... (3.00 / 5) (#17)
by Miniluv on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:45:49 AM EST

What you describe is utterly unprofessional, reprehensible...and I goddamn well hope rather uncommon. It's also not the situation being described in the post I responded to. Had there been anything said like that, sure I would've agreed completeley.

And yeah, I was generalizing...but I haven't seen any evidence that it was an unfair generalization. I may be wrong, I am rather often...
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

There are victims (1.57 / 7) (#11)
by end0parasite on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 11:53:07 PM EST

The victim of use of tobacco is the user because they are raising the risk of cancer. The people who smell their breath is often a victim as well. :)

As for possession or distribution it's the same as above. They are also illegal (if you're underage, anyway).

Keep in mind this rule was just recently implemented; we used to cuss all the time.



[ Parent ]
Victims (4.00 / 8) (#15)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:03:10 AM EST

Bullshit. They're victims, but willing victims. Victimless crime laws are immoral.

But following your argument, there are victims when you say `fuck'. I don't want to hear the word fuck (just as you don't want to, say, smell cigarette smoke). 'k, so cigarette smoke increases your risk of cancer, but who's to say that hearing the word fuck, thus increasing my stress level, doesn't decrease my expected life expectancy just as much? And if you were to yell "Fuck you!" at me, it might really upset me.

I personally have no problem with the word. I do take issue with your logic, though. I think you haven't fully applied your argument.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

Willing victims (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by CentrX on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:36:29 PM EST

These are all WILLING victims. In other words, it is your choice to use tobacco and you are willingly undergoing the effects of it. The government and government agencies have no right to tell a person what they are allowed and not allowed to do only to themselves.

Also, keep in mind that there are no, not even willing, victims in possession of tobacco or drugs. NONE.


-- "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

and unwilling victims (4.00 / 2) (#67)
by ix on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:36:08 AM EST

Smoking is only ok in my book, IF, you pay your own medical insurance, AND, you dont subject other people, specially nonsmokers, to passive smoking. What you light up in a smokers section on a train or restaurant is your own buissnies, but dont expect me to tolerate you smoke in my lungs and your foul odeur in my clothes. And i certanly dont want to pay for your medical bills when you get cancer.

Goverments dont want you to smoke because they have to pay for it. Not only medical, but a lot of housefires are caused by smoking. Not to mention taxlosses from people dying at productive age from cancer.

If you respect my right not to be part of your tobbaco usage and take all the consequences from it, I will respect your right to smoke whatever you want.



[ Parent ]
Free Speech and Schools (3.11 / 17) (#5)
by aidoneus on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 10:02:39 PM EST

The freedom of speech is not a protected right for minors. Numerous U.S. Supreme Court cases have decided and supported this, and this is a good thing. When you are a minor in a school, you are there in a state of in loco parentis. The school (usually a representative of the state) is acting as your parent, and it is there responsibility to to monitor and control your behavior. That's why you were punished for what you said. As much as I am a vocal supporter of civil liberties, these are restrictions that make perfect sense.

Huh? (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by DavidTC on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:20:31 PM EST

I wonder what you're talking about? The supreme court has not only decided that minors have the right to free speech, they've decided that it doesn't end at the school's door.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do (3.22 / 9) (#6)
by Lance on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 10:24:49 PM EST

Once again, I am reminded of the book "Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do". If you say the word fuck in school, or anywhere else for that matter, it doesn't effect anyone else.

However, this kind of thing is indicitive of the school culture, and I dare say you were aware of the rule, therefore you probably need to restrict your usage of that kind of language when at school.

Editorial note: I probably would have given this 'Front Page' if the argument was consistent, but it was a little rough around the edges, so I only voted section.



Reply... (3.20 / 5) (#9)
by end0parasite on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 11:48:55 PM EST

I'm not ranting about my punishment, I'm ranting about the rule. I just joined K-5; that's why I'm just now posting this.

[ Parent ]
Similar story, but even worse... (4.26 / 26) (#7)
by katravax on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 10:34:11 PM EST

In 11th grade, 15 years ago, a boy in class was threatening me (I was an easy and common target for bullies) and said he was going to "beat my ass", "fuck me up", etc. I meekly replied to him "so kick my ass then", trying to appear unafraid. Well, the teacher of this room was his aunt, and ignored his comments, but I was sent to the vice principal for use of profanity. It just so happens the vice principal was another aunt of the boy, and she suspended me for (ready?) 7 days... the same fine as hitting a teacher or bringing a weapon to school.

The timing of the suspension was such that I would miss the final band concert (I was a first chair soloist) and some final exams... thus spoiling my perfect GPA. The principal stated that while he didn't feel the punishment was fair, he stood behind the decisions of his vice prinicipal. The band director was mad because he felt the suspension was actually directed at him because the vice principal was once the choir director, and the two never got along, so he took it to the school board, who reversed her decision and let me off with one day already served.

This same vice principal was in charge of seeing that students' college scholarship applications were completed and turned in to the common universities. The following school year (12th grade), I graduated second ONLY because the valedictorian had one honors class I didn't in 9th and 10th grades because I took a music course instead. I actually had better overall grades than the valedictorian. Anyway, the top 40 students got full scholarships to their college of choice. Though I graduated 2nd in the class, had the highest ACT score in the history of the school, had won the state physics competition and placed nationally, and won several other academic awards for the school, I did not receive any scholarships. None. When my mother questioned the vice principal, she "found" my applications which had been "lost". I was not a trouble-maker, and other than that one time, had never been in any sort of disciplinary action. Teachers liked me, and six (six!) told me after graduation they learned what the vice principal had done to my applications and were lodging a complaint, and offered to write letters of recommendation. Of course by this point, the closing date for applications had passed, and I never heard anything else about it.

So I guess my point is, they make the rules apply only to whom they want them to apply to. The petty people in school administration are weak-minded as well, and will even take out grudges against defenseless kids. So it's possible that they would have let you off if you were someone they liked. It could be some ridiculous case of an adult harboring a grudge against a teenager. It happened to me; maybe it's what happened to you.



Hilariously out of context quote (2.66 / 6) (#12)
by Holloway on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 12:12:09 AM EST

> Vice principal for use of profanity


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]
Very much so (1.00 / 1) (#64)
by Elendale on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:09:16 AM EST

I thought it was well known that teachers had favorites. While this can sometimes be good (the brilliant student who has a problem with swearing; or the poor, anti-social kid who just wants someone to talk to; etc) mostly 'the chosen' are:
  • relatives
  • football players
  • all of the above
This, unfortunately, is the way the school system has worked and works now. I say 'works', despite the fact i feel it is broken quite horridly. When the columbine shooting rocked the nation guess who the very first student to be 'questioned' (actually by a cop w/ warrant + three school deans) was, you guessed it, me! At the time, i was told there were numerous accounts of me 'making threats' and 'acting out' (totally falsified, but that apparently doesn't matter when you are obviously going to shoot up the school) and several parents called to warn about me specifically (also false). When my dad rang up the principle and yelled at him for (i think) close to three hours there was an apology made to me, and an admission: the real reason i was singled out was because one of my good friends (who had graduated the year before) wore a trench coat all the. Oh well, it was the thought that counted... right?

-Elendale (not that i'm bitter or anything...)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Very much so (4.50 / 2) (#65)
by Elendale on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:09:17 AM EST

I thought it was well known that teachers had favorites. While this can sometimes be good (the brilliant student who has a problem with swearing; or the poor, anti-social kid who just wants someone to talk to; etc) mostly 'the chosen' are:
  • relatives
  • football players
  • all of the above
This, unfortunately, is the way the school system has worked and works now. I say 'works', despite the fact i feel it is broken quite horridly. When the columbine shooting rocked the nation guess who the very first student to be 'questioned' (actually by a cop w/ warrant + three school deans) was, you guessed it, me! At the time, i was told there were numerous accounts of me 'making threats' and 'acting out' (totally falsified, but that apparently doesn't matter when you are obviously going to shoot up the school) and several parents called to warn about me specifically (also false). When my dad rang up the principle and yelled at him for (i think) close to three hours there was an apology made to me, and an admission: the real reason i was singled out was because one of my good friends (who had graduated the year before) wore a trench coat all the. Oh well, it was the thought that counted... right?

-Elendale (not that i'm bitter or anything...)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Look beyond this (1.44 / 9) (#13)
by skim123 on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:16:00 AM EST

A couple years from now you will be in college and will enjoy college that much more because you will have the freedoms then that you lack now. (Not that I think your rights are being violated by such a rule, but you are still a minor.)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


This is quickly growing tiresome. (3.27 / 18) (#19)
by StatGrape on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 04:23:18 AM EST

Hearing these kids pissing and moaning over the lack of rights in school is wearing thin; just wait until you're in the real world. People get fired (admittedly not often) for profanity-laced outbursts in the office, and the loss of one's livelihood is a hell of a lot more tragic than a high-school suspension.

Maybe I'm being an old fuddy-duddy, but I've experienced both a scholastic and employed lifestyle, and I can honestly say that school was a sweet arrangement compared to the alternative. It's time for kids to realize that school is not a democracy; you follow the rules, or get shit upon, simple as that. All this uppity "don't violate my rights" sentiment is going to mean precisely jack when your boss asks for something stupid at the job that pays your rent, car payment, etc. You just follow the rules and shut your mouth, or face the consequences.

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of reading crap articles like this written by supposedly jilted high-school kids. Come back in ten years once you've had a chance to taste the work-world where your employer essentially owns you and claim that school wasn't sweet... then we'll have something to discuss. Until then, learn to shut the hell up, because it's a skill that comes in handy later in life.



NerdPerfect

You're "one of them" (4.90 / 11) (#24)
by katravax on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 07:11:16 AM EST

There are a few ways to re-word what you're saying:

  1. It gets worse later so you better learn to take it now
  2. You don't have it so bad, so you have no right to complain
  3. You shouldn't disagree when you've been unfairly treated, because you're just a kid

The reason I disagree with what you're saying is that you're recommending someone receive an injustice without complaint because they're inexperienced in life. I've also experienced scholastic and employed life, and while I'm more willing to take abuse now than I was then, that doesn't make the abuse right. It is true that as an adult, persons other than yourself are affected by what happens to you at work. Those such as your spouse and children can be harmed if you do something to lose your job.

However, this doesn't mean that an arbitrarily-enforced, poorly-planned rule is fair. I'm not necessarily defending what the writer did, he probably should have shown better judgement. However, part of growing up is learning to make better judgements based on mistakes in the past. In the case the writer presented, the punishment does not fit the crime, however boneheaded he was for shouting profanity. The lesson that could have occurred was mercy with a stern warning, i.e. "You could be suspended for this, but I beleive you made a mistake in judgement because of the passion of your discussion. Make another one like that and you will suffer the penalty. Let this stand as a first and final warning."

Your recommendation that the student quit whining is your statement that he should accept whatever the rules are and however they are applied. You want to enforce the status quo. Beleive it or not, sometimes rules and/or enforcements are unfair. To leave it unquestioned the rule is to become another sheep. Also, the writer was not complaining about a violation of perceived or real rights. He was complaining that the punishment was too severe for the actual infraction.

You're right that rules are tougher on adults, and that the consequences are higher. However, the writer is not an adult. He's becoming one. The lesson should not be "shut up and quit complaining, because it only gets worse". The lessons should be "show mercy", "learn from your mistakes", "learn to limit your outbursts".

Based on your post, it is clear you're the type that creates and supports zero-tolerance rules that don't consider the circumstances of the supposed crime. You're part of the problem; you're one of them.



[ Parent ]
I am not "zero tolerance". (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by StatGrape on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 12:47:21 PM EST

Based on your post, it is clear you're the type that creates and supports zero-tolerance rules that don't consider the circumstances of the supposed crime. You're part of the problem; you're one of them.

Absolutely not; I agree fully with your sentiment of the punishment fitting the crime, but that's just not the way the world works. I am being realistic instead of naively idealistic. Regardless of correctness, if my employer has an important client in the office, and I accidentally shout a profanity without a life-threatening excuse, I may just be out of a job.

I'm not advocating a society of voiceless worker-drones who drudgingly accept whatever is thown their way by employers or educators, but I'm sick and tired of hearing about kids who feel wronged over frivelous crap like this. Frivelous? Yes. True, he got suspended unjustly, but does it mean that his family doesn't eat? No. Does it mean that the mortgage doesn't get paid? No. Is his car repossesed as a result? No. Frivelous. In the real world, *it does get worse* if for no other reason than the fact that the stakes are drastically higher. Questioning "unjust" rules is part of what separates us from the animals, but why does every incident have to be posted at K5?

Number 3 in your summary of my thoughts is wrong, too. The fact that he's a kid has no bearing on anything, really, but (and I stated this before) school is not a democracy. They giveth and they taketh away, just like the business world. It's not *right*, and it's not *good*, but it is the *truth*. If this guy is working for a moderately large firm someday, gets reprimanded for shouting a profanity in the office, then attempts to challenge the reprimand, he's on the street, baby. There are many others available who are willing to shut up and work. I agree wholeheartedly that this is not the way things *should* work, but look around - it's the sad truth, and no group of jilted nerds at K5 is going to change that fact.

In case this matters, I've actually been fired before for challenging "unjust" workplace rules, so I'm certainly not the type to shut up and take it. I've learned that businesses don't care how individual you think you are - all they want is someone to get the job done with the least personal overhead. I don't know where many of you get these utopic ideals about "fairness" and "justice" in the business world, but please, get me an interview.



NerdPerfect
[ Parent ]

The moment. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by final on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 12:20:10 PM EST

Do you remember the exact moment that you failed to see the point in getting out of bed. How about the time when you realized that your family's company failed to soothe the wounds inflicted at work? Do you remember spending time alone, not because cable wasn't installed yet, but because you are the most interesting person you know? Do you remember watching the shrinking height of your job's front door, so slowly that you never caught the particular morning when you actually -crawled- to work?

Just wondering.

[ Parent ]

Schools can be worse than real life (4.83 / 6) (#25)
by Sheetrock on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 08:15:10 AM EST

This argument is being made from America; your schools/society might be different -- actually, if they are, please enlighten me as to how your schools work, as this might provide some insight as to how to solve some of the problems that are cropping up in our system...

Arguably, this article's specific complaint is probably a rather trite one when you look at the big picture. Where I work, if spouting obscenities earned you time off without pay, our company would be out of business... then again, we're NEVER within earshot of a client or customer when we let them fly, and we sure aren't IBM. This particular case is about maintaining respect for the people around you, and the important lesson is that in today's society you have to be guarded about your off-color remarks and jokes in the workplace. If it seems stupid in school, that's because it's just as stupid in society (exhibit A: our abuse of sexual harassment laws).

However, middle-schools/high-schools definitely abuse their power, and I'd like to contend that I've never been happier than the day I set foot outside of my high school knowing that I'd never have to go back in. What you are forgetting is that it is mandatory for students to go to school, and while you may choose to not leave your job because you've got rent to pay students can't choose to leave school because of the law. Another difference (well, similarity in some jobs I guess) between school and work is that schools are now turning some children into psychopaths, which is quite a feat considering the horrendous conditions it usually takes to mentally unbalance a person (ex: war, solitary confinement, years of physical, mental, or chemical abuse, intolerable levels of stress over a long period of time).

Zero-tolerance doesn't help the situation any. Schools are now going overboard to the point of requiring students to carry clear plastic backpacks and dogtags (student IDs that must be worn at all times) because they won't get involved with their students at a personal level to make sure things are going OK in their lives. In addition, our nation's parents have hit a low in their personal responsibility (many having children while in high school themselves) and we will likely be seeing a flood of children who REALLY weren't brought up properly hitting our schools a few years from now. Suspension over the word 'fuck' is no substitute for determining that a true malcontent with no interest in education needs to be kicked out of the system or determining that a student who is getting several referrals for mouthing off to teachers might actually have deeper problems that the school could resolve rather than passing the buck back to the parent that might be causing them.

Zero-tolerance is just a fascade that allows schools to take action without considering whether or not the action is justified or a solution to the problem. Much like mandatory minimum sentencing, it's a band-aid set up to appease the uneducated masses and 'solve' the problem of a broken system without actually solving the problem.

Attitudes of "It gets a lot worse later so quit bitching" or "Kids will be kids" or "I had to go through it and it didn't hurt me any" don't make the problem go away. They are just a quick way of dismissing it without actually trying to solve it or consider the human factor involved.

[ Parent ]

Whoops! (2.00 / 1) (#36)
by StatGrape on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:03:47 PM EST

This comment was supposed to be a reply to yours... sorry.



NerdPerfect
[ Parent ]

Kids democratically run their own schools (4.33 / 9) (#26)
by bugeyedbill on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 08:19:49 AM EST

It's time for kids to realize that school is not a democracy; you follow the rules, or get shit upon, simple as that.

And how nice of you to point out the reason why:

All this uppity "don't violate my rights" sentiment is going to mean precisely jack when your boss asks for something stupid at the job that pays your rent, car payment, etc.

And there you have it. The reason why kids are treated like shit is because they are being trained to accept getting treated like shit by the bosses. So it turns out school isn't really about education at all, is it? And people wonder why kids revolt. Tell you what motherfucker. I'm 33 yo and I still resent the way I was treated in HS, and I resent they fascism I experience at work now. I'll never, ever get used to it. And I'll lay you odds that the vast majority of working people out there feel the same way I do, except for a few sorry lot with mind-sets like your own. Most people go along with it not because they accept it, but because they have families to support and they don't dare rock the boat. And those bosses better hope, no pray, the bubble they are blowing doesn't burst, cause when that day comes, all their rules are going to be shoved right up their ass.

[ Parent ]

I disagree. (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by StatGrape on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:02:00 PM EST

What you are forgetting is that it is mandatory for students to go to school, and while you may choose to not leave your job because you've got rent to pay students can't choose to leave school because of the law.

That is a tremendous point, and it may be the only reason why discussions like this ever see the light of day. Unfortunately, I can't leave the business world either. I can switch jobs just as our subject can switch schools, vainly searching for an environment that best suits him, but in the end, we're both stuck in the loop. To compound the similarity, I live in a technologically stunted city, so switching jobs becomes a problem when there are less than ten firms in the same league.

Really, we both grit our teeth and put up with the crap that comes with being repressed. I haven't been out of high-school long enough to forget (seven years), but I just can't see where all the doom-and-gloom sentiment comes from with HS kids. I hate to beat a dead horse, but it's not going to get any easier once this guy's job ensures that food is on the table.



NerdPerfect
[ Parent ]

Read my comment before posting. (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by StatGrape on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:12:03 PM EST

Why are we fighting here? I *agree* with you, and will also never accept the way I was treated in school or the way I'm treated now.

Guess what? Nobody cares how you or I feel. Perhaps you should read my article before flapping your big mouth with the obscenities and personal attacks. Consider the following:

All this uppity "don't violate my rights" sentiment is going to mean precisely jack when your boss asks for something stupid at the job that pays your rent, car payment, etc.

Now here's what you wrote:

Most people go along with it not because they accept it, but because they have families to support and they don't dare rock the boat.

Pretty similar, don't you think? Who are you arguing with?



NerdPerfect
[ Parent ]

Nonsense. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by Paul Crowley on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:53:25 AM EST

Even when I first entered the job market, there would be *no way* an employer would get away with treating me anything like a school would do. There's simply no comparison. If another employee were to actually hit you at work, for example, they would probably be fired altogether - there's no danger that the Boss will shrug and suggest you learn to stick up for yourself. Swearing is simply a normal part of language in the workplace everywhere I've worked - no-one is going to blink if you say "the entire display subsystem is fucked and should be rewritten from scratch". And no boss you'd stay with for two days would demand the ludicrously exaggerated respect that even the nicest schoolteacher learns to think is normal.

Don't believe this nonsense. Your observations are accurate and you are right to be outraged. Everything, everything gets much better when you leave school. If your job starts to remind you of school, get another straight away.

--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
Oh, look! More utopic visions. (1.00 / 1) (#74)
by StatGrape on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 06:39:04 PM EST

Don't believe this nonsense. Your observations are accurate and you are right to be outraged.

Now all he has to do is find someone of importance who cares - that should keep him occupied for the next few years. It's a tough world, and having people like you filling this kid's head with idealistic fantasies of workplace respect and justice won't make things any easier.



NerdPerfect
[ Parent ]

I speak from experience. (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by Paul Crowley on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 09:21:29 AM EST

That's no utopia - that's my experience. I've worked in a couple of pretty piss-poor places, but nowhere compares to the horror that is school.
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
This just isn't about pissing and moaning... (3.30 / 10) (#20)
by TheLocust on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 04:28:43 AM EST

...i went to a school where they enforced TUCKING IN SHIRTS. If you didn't tuck in your shirt, then BLAM!, ISAP (essentially in-school suspension). And for what? Not tucking in your shirt? The school never had a weapons problem, ever. In-school suspension is just dumb. Why TAKE SOMEONE OUT OF CLASS TO PUNISH THEM? It makes no sense. They weren't interrupting the learning process, but it had damn well been interrupted for them. It's all very silly to me.
.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

How's that? (3.11 / 9) (#21)
by aphrael on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 04:58:46 AM EST

According to my calculations, the latter of the four infractions all have one thing in common; a victim.

Use of tobacco, and possession, have victims?



Re: How's that? (3.66 / 6) (#27)
by WWWWolf on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 08:42:28 AM EST

Use of tobacco, and possession, have victims?

Sure... The theory is called "passive smoking". Go look it up... =)

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


[ Parent ]
The thing in school that really bugs me... (3.87 / 8) (#22)
by DoubleEdd on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 05:04:33 AM EST

What really bugs me is how, when someone does something which rightly deserves some punishment but the teacher can't figure out who they decide to keep the whole class back.

I simply can't figure this one out... why punish everyone for only one person's crime? A school isn't simply there to teach you Maths, English and Science - its there to teach you about living in society, and if the school can't teach you about a fundamental part of that life - namely the justice system and all the associated principles of 'innocent until proven guilty' then its not doing its job.

The first time any teacher tries that on any of my kids (even if it later turns out they were the guilty party) I'm going to have their job for it (OK, overreaction, but I'll be pissed). Whereas the article at least has some kind of crime involved, however debatable it is and however out of proportion the punishment, keeping a whole class behind involves punishment for no crime simply because the teacher wants to vent their frustration at being outwitted by some kid.

Frankly - I agree with the article simply because a school should teach you about being a citizen and about how our justice systems in our respective countries work, and what it is about them that makes them so great and worthy of respect.

Please don't (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by skim123 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:01:06 AM EST

The first time any teacher tries that on any of my kids (even if it later turns out they were the guilty party) I'm going to have their job for it

Please don't. I know you were overreacting (or would be), but do realize that these teachers are paid total crap and that they are enforcing rules that they didn't make (so they don't lose their job). It would be like getting upset at the police officer who gives you a ticket because you violated some lame law...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
I won't (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by DoubleEdd on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:34:14 PM EST

Please don't. I know you were overreacting (or would be), but do realize that these teachers are paid total crap and that they are enforcing rules that they didn't make (so they don't lose their job). It would be like getting upset at the police officer who gives you a ticket because you violated some lame law...

Don't worry. I'd probably rant in the style we all know and love here, but I wouldn't ever take it any further..... unless of course they punished my kid to get back at me......... [grin].

[ Parent ]

Please don't (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by TimL on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 01:18:22 AM EST

It would be like getting upset at the police officer who gives you a ticket because you violated some lame law...

To get a ticket for violating some lame law, you would have to do something you weren't supposed to do (i.e. violate a law), which would mean that you have done something wrong. (btw, police are allowed to use their discretion when it comes to handing out tickets).

What we are talking about here is punishing a group of people for something that one person did. I finished high school four years ago and I can tell you that the method of keeping the whole class in doesn't work. If the guilty person cared about his/her classmates then obviously he/she would have disrupted the class in the first place.

Note for any teachers reading this: only use this method of punishment if you don't mind all of the innocent people in the class resenting you for it.
"Teach a man to make fire, and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he will be warm for the rest of his life."
[ Parent ]
The guilty punished (2.50 / 2) (#50)
by bitwise on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:28:20 AM EST

This sort of treatment does have a valid use. While you may see it as everyone suffering for something they played no part in, it can be argued that life is all about that :-)

The point is to make the offender feel guilty. While not directly punished, the feelings of the innocent classmates tends to prevent the person from repeating their actions. Sure, there are some heartless people who don't care despite that. Usually it's too late to help them by the time they hit school, though.


--
eschew obfuscation ;)
[ Parent ]

RE: The guilty punished (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by kaemaril on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:04:27 PM EST

Why should it be acceptable for school teachers to punish an entire class if a wrong-doer cannot be found? Would you find it OK for the police to take a similar approach?

I can see that one working. "Yeah, sarge. We found this joint in the bar... couldn't find who it belongs to and nobody would own up, so we thought a couple of nights behind bars for everyone would go a long way to helping somebody's conscience..."


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
For the greater good? (1.00 / 1) (#69)
by bitwise on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 05:18:01 AM EST

Your analogy is wrong because you simply can't abstract management of young children to the level you have. Being young is all about learning to be responsible, and little responsibily is placed upon you when you're young.

Basically it comes down to the discresion of the teacher. Obviously if it happens regularly, nobody is going to benefit. In my entire primary school experience, the whole class would have been kept in about three times, each time probably no more than ten minutes. The person responsible received scorn from their classmates afterwards.

It can work if used appropriately. It's all very well to kick up a fuss about the unfairness of it all. It could be argued that the misbehaving child who's disrupting the teacher is allowed to continue to do so, they'll do more harm in the long run.

Having said all this, I admit I always resented being kept in when I wasn't the perpetrator

--
eschew obfuscation ;)
[ Parent ]

For the greater good? (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by kaemaril on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:20:01 AM EST

>Your analogy is wrong because you simply can't abstract >management of young children to the level you have.

What? So, punishing a group of children for the wrong-doing of one individual is OK, because that is "management", whereas punishing a group of adults for the wrongdoing of another is a massive infringement of their civil rights?

btw, the original poster wasn't necessarily talking about "young children"... just "kids". Minors. Would it be OK to treat a six year old this way but not a fifteen year old? A seventeen year old? Somebody one day short of the age of majority? Where is the line drawn?

I think somebody on s****dot summed it up correctly during the entire "Hellmouth" series when he pointed out that schools are basically a place where you seem to lose all your rights the moment you walk in the door...

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Hand your rights in at the door (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by bitwise on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 09:00:18 PM EST

You obviously feel fairly strongly about this, so I think agreeing to disagree is probably the fairest option. :)

Kids do lose a lot of rights and responsibilites when they start school. The idea is you're gradualy fed both of them back as you grow up. The line is difficult to draw, and as I said before: the effective treatment of the child rests upon the competency and judgement of those teaching them.

Do you feel that is unfair? Do you think a 15 yr old should be treated as an adult, for all intents and purposes, because they feel like an adult? I don't want to paint myself as a retired facist - I'm only just 18 in fact. Can you propose a better solution to deal with the problem we were originally talking about, regarding some anonymous person playing up in class?

--
eschew obfuscation ;)
[ Parent ]

Hand your rights in at the door (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by kaemaril on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 08:35:20 PM EST

I do feel strongly about this, tho' not because I'm still at school or anything. In fact, as a 31 year old Oracle DBA I'm old enough for kids of my own. But I well remember the "The whole class is staying right here until somebody owns up" routine. IIRC, this routine in modified form is used in prisons too. Hmmm... coincidence? :)

I'm in the UK, not the states. Unlike the US, there's no written constitution to protect the rights of kids, and let's be blunt here - kids DO (or should) have rights. Since when, for example, does the right to not incriminate yourself have an age limit? It's all very well to say "Oh, well, they're just kids, they have to learn somehow..." but this excuse has been used to excuse corporal punishment ("Oh, they don't understand what they did wrong unless you give them a quick slap round the head...") . Do kids have the right to not be struck? Of course they do. So why don't they have the right to not be punished for something they didn't do?

Children should be treated as younger citizens, not second-class citizens.
Have you seen some of the crap kids have to put up with in schools with abuse of rights? The ACLU website makes interesting reading.

Sorry if this is badly written, btw. I've just switched over to Linux, and until I can download a better browser, the version of Netscape I'm using is stuck with bloody microscopic text. I can barely read what I've typed :(

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
The tables have turned (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by bitwise on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:44:56 PM EST

Yet the question on how better to deal with these situations remains. :)

I actually live in Australia, so I imagine a number of similarities in our academic establishments. I'm not sure of the situtation in Britain, but corporal punishment has been effectively outlawed here for a number of years now. In the ever increasing interests of political correctness, teaching has become a very gentle profession. Teachers tend to stick to the defined rules and are afraid of going out on a limb for fear of backlash from the parents.

So I'm not sure if what you are saying holds as much credence as it once might have. Don't get me wrong - its important that children have rights! I just mean it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue these days. Most of the punishment tends to be placed on the teachers! Maybe they're being persecuted for all their years of negative reinforcement. :)

--
eschew obfuscation ;)
[ Parent ]

RE: The tables have turned (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by kaemaril on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 04:14:05 PM EST

Well, I'm answering this using Netscape Navigator 6 on my windows partition, but I think I prefer Navigator 6 for Linux. It's neat :)

As to the question of how to deal with this situation... if I were a teacher I'd want to build a rapport which would enable me to guilt the little buggers into confessing ;) And if that didn't work...

I wouldn't do anything. Seriously. I'd rather a "wrong" go unpunished than punish an entire class. Better a thief should go free than an innocent man be sent to prison... or something like that :)

I agree, btw, on your point re: kid's rights. The pendulum HAS swung, to a certain extent, beyond what should be acceptable. I'm all for kids having as many rights as possible but NOT at the expense of the safety and security of the teachers. There've been cases here where teachers have been physically attacked, and have been afraid to defend themselves for fear they might be prosecuted for laying a finger on innocent little Jimmy...

So, on the issue of security etc I'm in complete agreement. But I certainly don't agree with an entire class being punished just because some teacher can't get to the bottom of what has happened. And, in the states etc, geek profiling, curbing of free speech, etc, is bang out of order. If anyone were to suggest that MY (hypothetical) kid might be a danger based on the fact that he plays violent computer games, etc, I'd smile knowingly and ask the person making that insinuation just WHO he thinks taught him to play that game? :)





Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Tonight: When teenaged libertarians attack! (3.86 / 22) (#23)
by sakico on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 05:12:44 AM EST

You're talking to your friends, and you say "fuck". Okay, that's nice. If your friends didn't like the language, they wouldn't be hanging out with you. You're talking to your friends, and you say "fuck" loud enough to be heard a hundred feet away, in a school where this is against the rules and you know it is against the rules. At least a couple dozen people hear you, including the aforementioned teacher. Pardon me if I don't sound overly sympathetic.

Your right to free speech does not allow you to cry "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, just as your right to throw a punch ends one millimetre short of the tip of my nose. A condition of going to your school is that you don't break the rules more than a few times. (The in-school suspension is only a warning, remember.)

The school's policies are there for a good reason. The school is a learning environment. I don't know anything about you, but in my school days, I crossed paths with a couple people who regularly - for all of their half day at the high school - ripped into the teachers with profanity-laced diatribes to show how "badass" they were. Did the rest of the class continue, undisturbed, with their Chemistry labs and English class work? I don't think so. Why would you care to make a stand for your right to show the world you have a flux of the mouth? 'Tis better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

And out in the "real world", removing all doubt is exactly what you'll be doing, even if it isn't true. Much like I don't bother to go out of my way to read improperly structured writing (by those who can do better - you can nearly always tell the difference between those who speak English natively and those who don't), I will not stand and listen to someone whose opining includes a profane word or three every sentence. To say "The fucking door is locked" is stupid. The individual who uttered it may be very intelligent, but apparently their brain has gone to waste as nobody is going to take them seriously until they turn themselves around. There may be a time and place for public profanity, but school certainly isn't it.

Truly, this is not what you're doing, but if usage wasn't forbidden, this would be what happens. The teacher may have given you a look or said something should you have said it in normal, conversational voice. Shouting it, though, is a flagrant violation of the rule, and is exactly the sort of case that the rule is meant to be applied to. Would you actually argue otherwise? There's a largely unenforced law against jaywalking. Does every jaywalker that any member of the police see get a ticket? How about those who are witnessed to nearly cause an accident?

Amusing also, though trivial, is your classification of the other forbidden acts as belonging to the realm of "dangerous students" whom we must restrict to protect "the student body from harm".

Poor examples (4.00 / 4) (#40)
by dchinyee on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 07:25:00 PM EST

> Your right to free speech does not allow you to cry "Fire!" in a
> crowded theatre

Because that constitutes a public safety hazard. Lives can potentially be lost in the ensuing mob. This is not so with an errant expletive on a school campus.

> ripped into the teachers with profanity-laced diatribes to show
> how "badass" they were. Did the rest of the class continue,
> undisturbed, with their Chemistry labs and English class work? I
> don't think so.

It was not the profanity that caused the disruption, it was the tone and the persistent disregard for authority. An eloquent diatribe is still a diatribe.

The punishment was overly severe for such a harmful utterance. It would have been better for the teacher to have exercised more discretion and taken the student aside for a polite reminder not to raise his voice on campus in that manner.

[ Parent ]

For the record (1.50 / 4) (#43)
by end0parasite on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 10:08:07 PM EST

For the record, I am not a libertarian.

[ Parent ]
Umm... and you missed the proper behaviour? (2.00 / 10) (#28)
by ksandstr on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 09:09:10 AM EST

Which is, of course, to yell at the top of your lungs (after being told about the suspension): "Fuck you, fucking fuck! Fuckity fucking fuck fuck! Cocksucker! Dorothy!". What're they going to do, give you two in-school suspensions?

Furrfu. Don't kids these days play enough Kingpin or what's the fucking problem?



Fin.
Great solution --- not (2.50 / 2) (#32)
by gashalot on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 12:06:58 PM EST

OK, now this just seems to be a little absurd. When you are being punished for some action that violates the rules, it makes absolutely no sense to try to even further your punishment by repeatedly breaking them just to show them "who is who." You also miss the point that they can *EASILY* add time to your suspension, turn it into out of school suspension, or even expel you. The extra effort required to say "Johnny spends the next 8 school days in ISS" compared to 5 days is minimal, and it takes even less to say "OSS for 10 days" or "just don't come back, ever." Rules are best changed not by continually breaking them in the "I'm-gonna-get-you-sucker" mentality, but by trying to go through the proper channels and attempting to have them changed.

Doing things that might easily get you expelled from school, or make it difficult to get the grades you desire because you have taken F's in your assignments while being suspended is just stupid. You future is worth more than your right to say fuck in a public school is. You'll have plenty of opportunities to say that later.

[ Parent ]
Now wait .. (3.33 / 3) (#34)
by Eloquence on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 12:50:47 PM EST

Johnny spends the next 8 school days in ISS

Send 'em to MIR, that would be a punishment ;)
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

The complacency! (4.00 / 3) (#39)
by Sunir on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 02:57:09 PM EST

> Rules are best changed not by continually breaking them
>[...], but by trying to go through the proper channels
>and attempting to have them changed.

That's not true. Consider the frequent case where the proper channels don't provide a way to effectively change the rules. This is especially true in a school situation where students have no real power beyond the power of their charisma. Their parents might, but not them.

Of course, it would be stupid to infer from that fact that the only other recourse is extreme disobediance. Instead, if you see the real underlying system (the cryptocracy), you work to manipulate that.

> You future is worth more than your right to say fuck in
> a public school is.

No, your future is exactly measured by your right to say fuck in a public school. Putting off your spiritual well being in favour of your economic well being is at best a short term strategy. In the end, you will will only acrue decay in society and your degrees of freedom if you don't stand up for things now.

The qualifier I'd like to make is, yes, you're right. Standing up for yourself and losing is not the way to go. And yes, a truly enlightened person would understand that Freedom of Speech does not mean you can swear in public. But an enlightened person would also understand fair and just punishment.

Actually, I think an even more enlightened person would dump reward/punishment learning. I doubt punishment is helpful here. It's not going to help anyone stop swearing. Teaching that it is detrimental to one's honour is probably a better approach. It's cheaper and more visceral to punish though. Laziness always wins. I suppose not having to courage to improve things is lazy too. Bummer.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

well... (3.00 / 6) (#29)
by washort on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 10:17:45 AM EST

The only real solution to this and similar problems is to abolish compulsory attendance. If you want to be in school and play by their rules, you can; otherwise, you can leave. "suspensions" and the like don't solve anything.

The other people's rights (3.60 / 10) (#31)
by gashalot on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 11:55:50 AM EST

While you might think that using profanity freely in your speech is perfectly fine, you also forget the fact that many people are offended by offensive language. Perhaps nobody's arm falls off and they don't die from some strange disease when you curse, but they have just as much right to be able to attend public school without having to hear vulgar language as you do to use vulgar language. If you want to curse, just go home and scream them out in your house, nobody will suspend you there. You're at school to learn, and the administration is there to promote a healthy learning environment, which most educational experts will agree does not benefit at all from the use of the word "fuck." Therefore, it's pretty reasonable that they give stiff punishment for using some agreeably very vulgar language around others that might not want to hear it.

Even if this is a rant, I think it's only a rant because it's very obvious that you have just recently, or will shortly be serving a sentence in the friendly ISS department for cursing. If you're going to rant, at least come up with some good reasons, and look at both sides of the story. Through some very simple inductive reasoning, one can understand why you are getting in trouble. Vulgar language is a threat to a healthy learning environment. Threats are considered dangerous and are dealt with in a serious manner. Therefore anyone who uses vulgar language is a threat and must be dealt with in a serious manner. This is not the same thing as the poor little 2nd graders getting expelled/out of school suspension when they bring a purse with a chain strap on it or a butter knife to school because of zero-tolerance weapons policy that has gone too far. You are clearly violating some sort of code of conduct that you probably signed at the beginning of the school term, and therefore should be dealt with accordingly.

Keep the vulgar language to places it's appropriate, don't drag it into your public school system.

-R

Inappropriate punishment (3.33 / 3) (#41)
by dchinyee on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 07:40:59 PM EST

I believe the problem the poster has with the situation is not the reasoning behind the rule but the severity of the punishment. Certainly it can be argued that the word 'Fuck' may upset some people (most likely parents and teachers as students are generally not as uptight), but accidentally shouting it does not warrant an ISS. Pulling the student aside and quietly reminding him of school policy would have been a much more effective measure. A sentence of ISS was a truly imprudent move as is evinced by the poster's tone.

[ Parent ]
If my public school... (1.66 / 3) (#42)
by nutate on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 08:30:11 PM EST

didn't have the word fuck in its vocabulary, school would've fuckin' sucked.

But... insofar as unfair rules go, either get used to them or try to get them changed. All my school detentions and extended detentions were for arriving slightly late to school, not for swearing... you just have to be vigilant.

[ Parent ]

School Priorities (2.50 / 4) (#45)
by MoxFulder on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 12:54:36 AM EST

Although use of tobacco, theft, and possession or distribution are undoubtedly more serious than saying the word "fuck," hopefully these crimes aren't rampant in your school.

On the other hand, students running around swearing out loud immediately gives people a bad impression of your school.

So it's probably in their interest to clamp down on swearing because in the very short term it will reflect very badly on the school. On the other hand, in the long term, drug use and theft are much more serious. But the short term inevitably wins out ... I'm not saying it's right, but that's the way it works.

"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes


No, it's not fair (3.60 / 5) (#46)
by Stinking Pig on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:00:51 AM EST

Too damned bad. Get it straight -- high school is there too keep you out of the job market until the hormones die down and you (hopefully) become a little more stable. If you pick up some education along the way, so much the better. Things you may expect education on include:

bureaucracy navigation
small-group politics
mob psychology
readin, writin, and that other thing.

FYI, when you're older nobody cares what you did in high school, or even if you graduated. This applies to college as well, so long as you did graduate (showing yourself to be educatable, even if it's in underwater basketweaving). So you might as well enjoy the suspension, chances are you'll meet some better people to hang out with there anyway.

"Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain.

Pushy punk pork prole.
:-) (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by skim123 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:53:45 AM EST

I think that's the best assessment of high school I've ever heard. Kudos to you. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Underwater basketweaving (4.00 / 2) (#49)
by Miniluv on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 05:10:32 AM EST

I dunno about you, but I'd hire anybody with this listed on their resume and the demonstrable skill to prove it. I know it's everyones favorite hyperbole for useless learning, but come ON, what a kickass party trick this'd be.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
Destroying kids perceptions of social strata (2.00 / 1) (#70)
by brandtpfundak on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 08:35:45 AM EST

I found this rant quite amusing. I love it when high school kids overestimate their own importance (just like I did when I was their age.) But as a former college educator, I often found that the "jail for children" mentality that most American high schools have (sorry, I'm American and have no other frame of reference) was really detrimental to me teaching at the college level.

Unfortunately, when your world view is such that it is limited to high school (let's face it--these kids only know people from their own town and haven't travelled much I'd wager) you are going to overestimate your own self importance.

Perfect example: I'm 25 and my brother is 23. We're both college graduates. My mom's boyfriend has children that are 17,16 and 9. Well the 17 year old is getting ready to go to college and as a result he was visiting campuses. When he decided to visit my brother and I's alma mater, my brother was nice enough to use his connections with the athletic dept. to get us free tickets for a basketball game. While I was there I was asking this kid about his honors English curriculum, because it always interests me to hear what supposedly "smart" kids are reading at the high school level. Anyway, it comes out that this kid isn't doing too hot in this class. His excuse? "My teacher doesn't like me because I'm one of the popular kids." It took every fibre of my being to not just say "You know, when you get to college, no one is going to give a damn about whether or not you were a popular kid" and totally destroy his world.

These kids think the world revolves around them. It doesn't. Let them enjoy it now. They'll learn the truth of the matter soon enough.

Brandt

[ Parent ]
Incorrect (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by end0parasite on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:06:13 AM EST

I didn't do this because I don't like ISS's, I did it because this punishment doesn't make a damn piece of sense. I am not overestimating my goddamn importance. I could say a million things to back this up, but there is no hard evidence to back up those things, so why bother? All I have to say is you should give the benefit of the doubt. You'll make a fool of yourself less often.

[ Parent ]
School rules (4.00 / 7) (#51)
by erotus on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 08:58:56 AM EST

Yes, unfortunately you said it too loud! High School is a dictator ruled fascist environment. I went to a good high school, but even my school district had strange rules. I remember reading the school district dress rules and I came upon a very interesting thing. Right after "No student shall wear clothing depicting drugs/drug paraphernalia etc," I saw "No student shall wear clothing depicting/promoting satanism, satanic symbols or satanic paraphernalia of any kind."

"Hmmm", I thought. Mind you, I don't believe in any of this satan/devil mumbo jumbo, but It did strike me as odd. If students can wear a "God's Gym" t-shirt then why pray tell could they not wear one with "Satan's Sauna" written on it? After all, there was the student organization JAM - "Jesus and Me" which had their own t-shirts. I'm sure that "Buddha and Me" would have raised a few eyebrows and I have no doubt that "Satan and Me" would have meant a trip to the principles office.

So why no Satanic shirts? If this is truly your religious belief, then it has constitutional validity when Christians can wear their shirts but you can't wear your Satanic one. I believe nobody has challenged this rule but if they ever do, they will win based on first amendment rights. If religious expression is allowed for Christians and not for Satanists, it is a violation of the first amendment. I'm no constitutional lawyer so if anyone out there knows the answer here please post!

They can't legally do that. (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by fuchikoma on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:30:05 PM EST

From time to time, the ACLU gets involved in <a href=http://www.aclu.org/news/2000/w070600b.html>a case like that. Satanism is completely legal, and constitutionally protected. (If you wonder why, then <a href=http://www.religioustolerance.org/satanis1.htm>read up on it, you'll quickly see why that is.)

[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#57)
by fuchikoma on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 01:31:23 PM EST

Just FYI, I submitted that as HTML formatted. I don't know why it didn't work.

[ Parent ]
Try quotation marks (none / 0) (#68)
by ocelot on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:01:29 PM EST

You need quotation marks around the URL for it to work properly.

<a href=http://www.kuro5hin.org/>Without Quotes
With Quotes

[ Parent ]

Schools have to do social engineering (2.50 / 2) (#61)
by Paul Johnson on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 06:02:44 PM EST

High School is a dictator ruled fascist environment.

Schools have to do social engineering: its part of the job description.

School is a large part of our "make a civilised human being" kit (along with parents, friends, pop music etc). A large part of that is inculcating you with social norms. Try spending some time (like about ten minutes) watching school children. Then try going to work and acting in the same way. Actually, don't. It would be a career limiting move.

Also, adolescents have this built-in need to rebel and take risks. There is a good reason for this: they have to establish a self-identity which is different from their parents, and part of this process is trying on ideas and attitudes which their parents and other authority figures disapprove of. Problem is, if you only give them rules for which there is a sound logical reason then those are the first rules they are going to break. They actually need to have some illogical rules with no justification beyond "I say so". Its a kind of intellectual territorialism: adults define a space of behaviour as acceptable, and hence part of their adult world. By breaking the bounds of this behaviour, adolescents define a separate space of behaviour which is not owned by adults. This is why adults who try to "be cool" in whatever way the kids define "cool" just look so sad.

So setting arbitrary rules on dress, language, behaviour and so on is really important. Believe me, if it wasn't there the kids would miss it.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

I Understand (1.00 / 1) (#62)
by end0parasite on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 07:08:33 PM EST

I understand all of that. However, that does not apply here. Our rebellious instincts wore off in middle school (and I was one hell of a rebel).

[ Parent ]
not illegal? wrong, I think. (2.80 / 5) (#60)
by streetlawyer on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:04:56 PM EST

Please don't go through your life thinking that it is not illegal to shout the word "fuck" in a crowded place. It is in fact illegal in a lot of jurisdictions; it would be the purest of flukes if it happened not to be illegal in your county.

The offense is usually called something like "lewd or threatening behaviour". It's usually used to harass the homeless (a shouting, swearing, mentally ill person may be comitting no other offense if he is not drunk, or if there is no public drunkenness statute). But if you get the wrong cop on the wrong day, and someone complains about you and your friends shouting "Hey Fuck You" to each other in front of their seven year old child, then you could end up with a caution, on-the-spot fine, or, if you really fuck up your conversation with the cop, jail time. There is at least one documented case in the last year of a canoeist who involuntarily let out an expletive while going over a particularly hairy piece of whitewater, and ending up U$5,000 poorer because of it.

You're fundamentally interfering in other peoples' right to decide how they're going to bring their children up. You're also disturbing the peace of other people around you (there would be no p[oint to the word "fuck" if it didn't make others uncomfortable). You're not "just harmlessly expressing free speech". In fact "Go fuck yourself" is unlikely to be protected speech except in special context. Any ban on the word "fuck" is likely to slip through the net as not being a content-based regulation, since nine times out of ten, "fuck" in a typical sentence has no content.

Lastly, as other posters have noted, shouting loud swearwords is much less of a victimless crime than tobacco or drugs possession. I know which one I'd rather have kids doing at 9.00am outside my window.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

offensive to some people? (4.00 / 2) (#72)
by LordBlaa on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 02:06:28 PM EST

Ok, some of you seem to think that just because some people willl find it offensive to hear the word "Fuck" it should be banned... there are some people that are, say, claustrophobic, does that mean they should ban cupboards?

If i decided to be offended by the word "brick" could i expect everyone to run around banning it? of course not. Fuck is no "worse" than any other word you care to mention.

If you are offended by the word fuck, it's(hould be) your problem.

Deal with it :)

Why zero-tolerance rules are so popular.... (4.50 / 2) (#73)
by 11oh8 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 03:03:28 PM EST

Fist of all, I'm 20 and in college.. High school isn't yet a far-off memory and i'm still not yet "in the real world"...

Zero-tolerance rules are very popular with sound-bite-craving politician and parents... These rules aren't popular because minors have no rights... On the contrary, as other posts in this discussion and various court cases have shown, students do have rights in schools as long as those rights do not interfere with their learning.... Zero-tolerance rules started not for cursing, etc but for violent crimes.. Since the new "national concern" in this country is "protecting our kids" (possibly because the end of the cold war slightly obviated our old "national security" excuse.. but that's a completely different.. anyways.... ), anyting done under the wide umbrella of "protecting our kids" is readily accepted without questioning.. whether these rules help the kids or not, is not usually questioned, at least not in mainstream media..

Many students that were suspended (for longer periods of time) have fought the decisions in court and have won, the judge usually stating that the kind of punishment-regardless-of-severity-of-crime nature of some rules is not acceptable.

Parents feel that if these rules are in place in schools, their children will be safe..and as long as they feel good about these rules, they don't bother about whether the rules are acceptable or not (or even if they prevent any serious crime).

$.03,
11oh8

Outrageous Discipline at School | 82 comments (79 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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