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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
P Alan Greene
06:49 PM on 12/13/2012
I can only the imagine the reaction if a parent whose child was bloodied and beaten in a fight at school was told, "Naw, we're not disciplining anybody. This sort of thing is just a common adolescent mistake."
07:42 PM on 12/13/2012
What if that parents child was the one who started the fight?
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06:37 PM on 12/13/2012
Perhaps if, when the teacher called home and said that Johnny was acting up in class, the parents had acted with due common sense(i.e"thank you, Mrs. Smith, for your concern, I apologize for the disruption and it will not happen again"), the schools would not find themselves in the untenable position of trying to instill common decency into children who come from homes in which volitility and being uncooperative are the modus operandi
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karlpopperfan
respect life, liberty, and property
10:53 AM on 12/14/2012
but what if the parent says, "Well, we can't do anything with Johnny either," or "Johnny never acts up here; it must be YOUR fault," or "it's your job to handle it"? What if the parent doesn't do anything about little Johnny's behavior? What if the parent is modelling disrespectful behavior, the use of profanity in everyday language, or the use of violence?
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12:49 PM on 12/14/2012
then you end up exactly where we find ourselves...with unruly children being dealt with by the police and social services, because their parents have abdicated their responsibilities to these entities.
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lrobb
Gold standard = four paws and a tail
05:03 PM on 12/13/2012
Treating children's offenses as criminal events warranting police intervention is simply a cop-out--no pun intended. What those children need is parental intervention. Back in the day when we "acted up" in school we were sent to the principal's or vice principal's office and either our parent was called or a note was sent home which had to be returned signed by a parent.

If a parent cannot or will not intervene or adequately parent, the police or social services should be sent to investigate that parent. We are punishing entirely the wrong individuals when we send students to the juvenile justice system for what is in effect parental malfeasance.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Jay Daterman
Dump The Teapot
02:50 PM on 12/13/2012
Micky Mouse suspensions for ridiculous things like wearing the wrong color socks should not occur. Criminalizing every subjective behavior such as "disrespect" is totally chicken $(:/.
12:48 PM on 12/13/2012
"...common adolescent mistakes such as talking back to a teacher (an act which becomes 'disorderly conduct') and fighting with their peers ('battery')."

Actually these ate very uncommon. My parents taught me at a young age to always respect teachers. What kind of parent wouldn't teach their kids this common sense value? One that doesn't care. And I never got in a fight even though I wanted to. You know why? My parents would kill me and I didn't want a suspension ont record.

Wonderful things can happen if parents actually parent.
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karlpopperfan
respect life, liberty, and property
12:10 PM on 12/13/2012
"...common adolescent mistakes such as talking back to a teacher (an act which becomes 'disorderly conduct') and fighting with their peers ('battery')."

Sorry, but being disrepectful to a teacher and fighting with peers is NOT a "common adolescent mistake" in many communities.

If I had been disrepectful to a teacher or got into a fight at school, I would have been grounded, had privileges taken away, and been given extra chores.

As long as we dismiss this kind of behavior as "common adolescent mistakes," we give license to adolescents to do it.

A school in the neighborhing district had to replace principals mid year because of discipline problems. The teachers complained that students were NOT being disciplined because the principal didn't want suspensions to hurt the school's performance score.
One of the best high schools in that district is also the district's strictest. They have high test scores, high ACT scores, and from what I hear, the powers that be keep complaining their suspension rate is too high, but luckily the principal would rather have trouble makers out than disrupting the school.
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karlpopperfan
respect life, liberty, and property
11:39 AM on 12/13/2012
"whose lives are turned upside-down over common adolescent mistakes such as talking back to a teacher (an act which becomes "disorderly conduct") and fighting with their peers ("battery").

In my house talking back to a teaher or fighting was NOT considered a "mistake;" it was a serioius offense which led to grounding, loss of privileges and extra chores. As long as people dismiss this rude and abhorrant behavior as "common adolescent mistakes," the problem will continue.

Parents need to teach their children to be respect to their peers and teachers. Ask any teacher if talking back to teachers and fighting is a "mistake." Students that repeatedly to that type of behavior are often the products of bad parenting. They are often the students being disruptive in class.

yes, schools with high rates of suspensions are not doing well because usually by the time a student is suspended, he's already been in trouble several times. In my district, teachers in low performing schools complain that students who are disruptive are NOT disciplined because high suspension rates hurt a school's performance score, so trouble makers are often kept in class and learn they won't be punished for their "common mistakes."
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nypoet22
Psychology Ph.D., Civics Teacher, Songwriter
07:08 PM on 12/13/2012
agreed. this article engages in a little too much "either-or" thinking. being disrespectful or getting in fights should not be tolerated, they should result in immediate discipline. what's needed is a real disciplinary option that isn't so mild as to render it ineffectual, but also isn't a direct line to prison.
07:41 PM on 12/13/2012
In my house talking back to a teaher or fighting was NOT considered a "mistake;" it was a serioius offense which led to grounding, loss of privileges and extra chores.

My house is similar. However, the consequences we impose do not include a criminal record. I am not sure when it started but I think the introduction of School Resource Officers was a major mistake. I also think it is wrong to not allow a child to defend himself from physical agression.
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karlpopperfan
respect life, liberty, and property
08:41 AM on 12/14/2012
i wonder how many kids are actually arrested for being disrespectful to a teacher. I'd like to see the facts