Friday, May 13, 2011

Another case of the overreaching government

Is anyone else a little repulsed by the idea of a local government creating a law stating that schools cannot punish students by keeping them out of student activities. I read a recent news article regarding the high school senior who posted a sign on the front of the school. The sign, made of large cardboard letters, seemed to be a harmless invitation to prom, addressed to a girl at the school. The student and two friends who helped put up the letters were suspended and consequently told that they could not attend the senior prom. This created a surge of responses from people who believe "the punishment does not fit the crime." Everyone from an NFL quarterback to the mayor and even the Governor of Connecticut have weighed in on the issue.

Now, state representatives are hoping to amend a bill that would force schools to offer an alternate punishment rather than banning them from events. Talk about a case of overreaching government. Since when is prom a birthright? Don't get me wrong. I do not think what this student did was some heinous crime. I teach at a school that allows students to ask each other to events in very unique ways. Some students send notes, gifts, or balloons to others during class. Some students decorate cars, they announce their invitation over the PA, they make videos, they organize flash mobs and they even ask from the middle of the gym in between volleyball games. Every year I look forward to seeing the creativity of our students. What this one student did at Shelton High School was certainly creative. It was cute, and many would even say it was Romantic. So what is the problem? The problem is that policies at Shelton High School were broken. Whether the policies have to do with the actual hanging of the letters, the use of a ladder, being on school premises after dark, or all of the above, the fact remains that the school has certain policies that the students are well aware of and expected to abide by. If the school policies were broken in this situation, it seems to me that the school is justified in following through on the discipline.

You may not like it. You may think it is harsh. You may even think that the punishment does not fit the crime. But a policy was broken and a long established discipline procedure was put into effect. If an exception is made for this student just because what he did was cute, then an exception should be made for everyone. Then, we may as well tell the students that they can do whatever they want because there really aren't any consequences. I can only imagine how productive schools will be then.

For the government to step in and cuts the legs out from under the leadership of the school is utterly absurd.

A concerned citizen

No comments: