What is the World Coming To?


So like most people today I learned about the story of Amanda Todd.  As I read through the various news reports and watched the video that this girl had put together I couldn’t help but feel such a deep sadness.  That sadness has slowly turned to anger towards the people that put this child in this situation in the first place and then fear for my own children.  Is this what the future has in store for my son or daughter?  Will things ever get better or is the worst yet to come?

 

Over the past few years it seems that bullying and cyber bullying has come to the forefront and is well documented and known to the world.  We hear about these sad stories both in the US and Canada, and we have some great campaigns such as the nomorebullies which started here in Ottawa.  The Ontario Government has passed legislation aimed at fighting this epidemic that has already caused so much damage and taken too many young lives too soon.  The problem with all of this is that the more attention this topic gets the worse the stories seem to become.  What are we supposed to do to make this issue go away?

 

Every one of us growing up probably had to deal with a bully, so many people have the attitude that it is part of life and you just have to suck it up and get through it.  Back when the worst that would happen to you was that you got a few wet willy’s, a charlie horse, or maybe at the worst a black eye or a bloody nose, sure I can buy into that it is part of growing up.  The problem is that this is no longer the case, as society has changed and become more desensitized to violence, sex, and drugs today’s youth have to deal with ten times the amount of trouble that we had to deal with when we were their age.  In the age of social media, the bullying not only happens at the schoolyard it follows our kids home!!

 

I read another story about a boy in the US this week that was about to do an interview with a local news channel about standing up to bullies and while they were preparing for the interview and cameras were rolling a few bullies literally came up and attacked this brave boy right in front of the reporter!!  Most of the assault was caught on tape and yet these bullies had absolutely no fear of the repercussions for their actions.  They didn’t care that there was a news camera rolling!!  I was absolutely blown away by what I saw and read and I wondered to myself “What happened to the days when kids respected authority?  What happened to the days when you would be afraid of what would happen if you did something wrong?”

 

I really don’t want to sound like one of those old school, hard line people but I really feel that something has gone wrong when it comes to discipline with the kids of today.  Kids have no fear, they know that they can’t be touched for doing something wrong, and if they don’t have the moral compass needed to determine right from wrong we end up with the bullies of today.  They don’t care if the teacher sees, they don’t care if the police are called, they don’t care if their parents find out, and as long as they can beat up or harass their victim they are going to do so without remorse.   I see what is happening today though the stories like Amanda Todd and I wonder what it is going to be like for my kids as they get older.  They are in their first few years of school I have never been so afraid of what the future could bring.  Could I end up seeing one of my kids in the hospital?  Could I see one of my kids in tears at night looking at a phony facebook page?  Or worse, could I see one of my children making a similar video?  I can only hope and pray that I give my kids the confidence and strength they will need to deal with the challenges they are inevitably going to face, because unless something dramatic happens soon there will be no avoiding the bullies out there and the tactics are only going to get worse.

 

So what are we as parents supposed to do?  How can we put an end to this epidemic once and for all?  There is plenty of awareness out there now but these things are still happening everywhere!!  I personally think that there has to be a way, there has to be a way to take the schoolyard, parks, and streets back from the bullies.  It is just a matter of finding it, and I hope we find it soon. 

 

I had written a post awhile back about the school system needing to take a stronger and more aggressive stance towards discipline and I certainly stand by the statements I made in that post.  I also feel that parents need to step up to the plate and take a firmer approach when it comes to keeping our kids in line.  In most cases parents have become too soft on our kids (I can say I have been guilty of this from time to time as well), but for the most part I am very strict but fair with my kids.  I really think that the only way to get through to the kids is through the parents, maybe if the parents of the kids that are bullying are identified and embarrassed enough they will take the hint and work getting their kids back onto the straight and narrow.  Maybe if there is a 3 strike and you are out policy at school and the parent has to take time off work to stay home with their kids or find them a new school that will take their kid they will realize there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

I know from personal experience with my son that when there has been an issue at school with hitting or anything I am so worried about him getting kicked out of a program I am at the school or camp in a heartbeat trying to work with them to come up with a solution.  My son has had the odd issue with hitting but his mom and I never ignore the problem and work side by side with the schools and camps to find a solution to the issue and use appropriate discipline and have been successful in doing so.  Are we strict with our son and daughter?  Yes, and we are consistent at both of our houses.  If they are in trouble and not allowed to do something at mom’s the same rules apply at dad’s.

 

Overall I have to say that the saddest part about the fact I am writing this post tonight is that I had to hear about a poor young girl, who could have had so much potential in life had to take her life to get me to write this.  This story and others like it are too much to bear and we as a society need to find away to work  together with parents, kids, schools, politicians, police, and everyone that can help to find a way to put a stop to this.  I hope and pray that Amanda’s life and the others before her can at least teach us the valuable lesson that bullying is wrong, no child should have to endure what these kids have had to go through, and no child should ever be put in a situation where they feel there life is worthless.

 

I hope and pray that someday there will be no more children taking their own lives because of the cruelty of someone else.

 

Rest in Peace Amanda Todd, I never knew you but something tells me I will never forget you.

 

 

 

The School System Needs to Grow a Set


What is Going on with Today’s School System

As many parents know, school is not what is used to be.  Back when I was kid the teachers, principals, and school board were authority figures.  If you did something wrong you got in trouble, if you failed a test you failed, if you didn’t pass in an assignment you got a 0%.  The children that were in school back then from what I can see have become mature and responsible adults.  Now fast forward to the present time, what has become of our education system?  It seems like kids are getting worse not better, test scores are dropping, more and more kids are dropping out of school, and bullying and school violence is at its worst.  What could be causing this??

As a parent I actually fear for the future of our children and after having plenty of experience meeting with teachers, principals, and talking with the school board I have come to a conclusion that I believe could be the problem.  The education system has become too soft!!  Kids (and young adults) can do whatever they want in school and get away with it.  Teachers have lost the ability to discipline their students, if a teacher yells at a student now they risk being sued by overbearing and “not my kid” type parents.  Teachers and Principals have been handcuffed by the overprotective education system and the results are scary, kids are doing things now that would have never happened years ago.

Of the people that may read this that are over 30 years old, how many of you ever heard of a kid in your school showing up with a knife or gun?  How many of you ever saw a kid completely trash a classroom and have nothing said to them??  My guess is not too many of you.  Next I would like to ask why didn’t that happen back then?  The answer to that is quite simple, there are a few reasons:

  1. If you did something wrong or were a disruption in class the teacher would have no problem yelling at you, kicking you out of the classroom, or sending you to the office.
  2. Kids actually respected their teachers because they knew full well if they were out of line there would be consequences.
  3. If somebody did something that warranted a suspension they were suspended instantly.

There are other answers as well but they all boil down to the same theme when we were kids the teacher was someone we respected and the principal’s office was a place we were afraid to be sent to.  In today’s society this is certainly not the case, when things like this happen today kids are handled with warm and fuzzy statements while the parents of these children are left wondering why kids are getting worse.

Now many people will read through this and simply state “It is not the school’s job to raise someone’s child.”  While I agree with that statement to a point, there is certainly a counterpoint to this.  How a child is raised and disciplined at home is the parent’s job for sure.  The school has to maintain that consistent discipline while the child is in their care.  If a child is well behaved at home but constantly in trouble at school what is a parent supposed to do?

I spoke recently to someone at the school board about my son, he has been getting into trouble at school and both his mom and I have been trying to figure out why this is happening at school and not at home.  While speaking with the person from the school board, I made a simple suggestion that the staff should not hesitate in raising their voice to my son if he is acting out of line.  The response I got shocked me, I was told that they can’t do that??  They can’t raise their voice to a child??  They can’t raise their voice and say “Stop doing that!!”  I was at a loss for words.

Kids are becoming worse and worse these days, and the soft handed tactics employed by our new and improved education system is a major part of the problem.  As parents his mother and I are doing our part to maintain core values, respect for adults, and respect for authority through the way we discipline our kids at our respective homes and due to a number of different factors the school system seems to be dropping the ball.  The soft and warm “no kid left behind” approach is doing more harm than good for the kids of today; this is a major problem that is going to have negative implications now and for future generations.  If things are this bad now, what is it going to be like for the next generation??

It is high time that the education system grew a set and start putting more focus on discipline as opposed to this nanny like treatment they are giving kids now.  Make if being sent to the principal’s office is something a child would be afraid of and maybe just maybe these children will find the respect for authority that has seemed to disappear over the past decade.  I am not saying it is time to go back to the strap or anything crazy like that, but a teacher or principal should have the ability to raise their voice and be firm with a child without fear of negative consequences.  If we as a society want to stop going down the path of school violence, kids turning to gangs, guns coming to school maybe we as a society have to stop coddling children and start disciplining them both at home and school.  That takes co-operation from the parents, teachers, principals, and school boards.  If this doesn’t happen soon I fear for the future of our children and their children as well.

Letting Kids Float Through

Another very scary trend that seems to be happening in today’s school system is the tendency to just let a child float through the system.  Instead of working with the child specifically it seems that the system will just give a child a pass and send them to the next grade.  Is this doing any good to the children of today?  One personal example of this is my son; he is currently in grade two and from what I can see as a parent the school system is dropping the ball with him.  There are some discipline issues which I believe I have addressed those issues in the previous paragraphs but here are some issues about his education.

On his latest report card he was given a low rating on his reading skills.  The normal reaction to that is to focus on improving these skills so that he can start catching up on his reading skills.  That is what should be happening but it is not, he has had the same two books in his backpack for his homework reading every night since school came back in session in January, both his mother and I have asked on his reading log for the school to put different books in his backpack for reading and it hasn’t happened.  My son has read “My Ponies” and “The Old Truck” so many times now that he could recite it back to me without looking!!!

My son has good and bad days at school which is unfortunate but at home there are never issues.  I have struggled to find out why he can be such a good boy at home (never hits, puts his plates away after meals, and does what he is told, etc) and such a problem at school (runs out of the classroom, says things like “I hate school”, etc).  His mom asked the principal to video tape him so we could see what was going on and we were shocked to see the images.  He would run out of class and instead of bringing him back into the class they simply let him go to another room on his own (supervised by his EA).  So while class is going on and students are learning my son is in another room by himself missing out on the lessons being learned.  Is this helping him??

The more I reflect on this and search for answers the more I find myself coming to the conclusion that no matter what happens at home and no matter how hard parents try the school system is starting to become more of a problem than a helping hand to the children of today.   It seems like instead of working with parents to help a child with disabilities to make sure that child can be the best they can be the schools of today are just content to simply let the child float to the next grade.  That way the child becomes another teacher’s problem and not their problem anymore.  To me that is unacceptable, and part of me thinks that it is not the teacher’s fault but the system’s fault.  I know a few teachers and they have told me that in most cases their hands are tied and there is not much they can do.  They want to help but they can’t for fear of negative ramifications from the school board.  Is this the right way to educate our children??  I certainly hope not because if it is just imagine what our world will be like when the next generation of students become the next generation of our work force, our community leaders, or our politicians.