Thursday, December 08, 2005

Today’s entry has been brought to you by the letters Un and Planned, and by the number Parenthood

Apathy Jack writes:

So, the question raised by Close Up today was: are parents within their rights to hire lawyers to fight suspensions and the like handed to their children by schools?

I can answer this: Parents are well within their rights to do so, and I think it’s a great idea. I just ask that they do one thing first:

Spend one week walking around their neighbourhood wearing a sandwich board that bears the legend: I Am A Bad Parent.

I’ve been involved in more suspensions than any of you – and I say that in the full knowledge that a bunch of teachers read this. The experiences I have had in this area have taught me one primary lesson: It’s usually the parents’ fault.

Certainly, the school has to take a level of responsibility – more than they often do – but the kids who get suspended or excluded from my school all have the common feature of unsupportive parents who take little to no interest in their kids’ education until trouble arises, who leave us to raise them until they break rules, in which case the kids and the teachers are expected to share the blame, putting none on the people who haven’t even noticed that Johnny doesn’t take a bag to school in the mornings.

Of course, there are exceptions. I admit that there are kids with supportive, loving parents who still get into trouble. Occasionally, these kids will get in serious enough trouble to warrant a suspension or a stand-down.

Maybe one in every hundred cases is like this.


As for the other ninety-nine who get suspended: I’ve met their parents, I’ve looked at their records, I’ve talked to them about their home lives, and the mantra I find myself repeating in every single case is: “This kid never stood a chance.”

So sure, you can ring the lawyers, immediately after you ring the sign writers and tell them what to inscribe on your placard, because you will take responsibility for the things you have done to your children. You will not hire a lawyer to chase an ambulance to the bottom of the cliff, you will stand up and admit to the world that you have failed, that you should not have bred, and that you are a bad parent.

So shut up.