Parent blames school for lack of parenting (Society’s Slideshow)

According to a report on WJBK Fox 2 News, a 15 year old special needs student engaged in consensual sex with two separate boys on two separate occasions in the boy’s bathroom on the third floor of Mt. Clemens High School. The girl reported she did it once last year, and once a few months ago. She said that she regrets her actions, and wishes someone would have stopped her from entering the bathroom.

The report failed to mention whether this happened during a normal passing period, or if the girl secured a hall pass from her teacher and then strolled into the boy’s bathroom for her secret soiree. My money’s on the latter.

The girl’s mother quickly jumped on the school blame train. She also said that someone should have stopped her from entering the bathroom. She believes that the school should be held accountable for failing to constantly supervise her daughter.

And why not? After all, the school has cameras in the hallway and employs five security officers to roam the halls. Surely at least one of them was on the same floor as this girl and could have stopped her from going into the boy’s bathroom.

And maybe tomorrow, pigs will fly and I will be a Mega Millions Jackpot winner.

The simple fact of the matter is that no one  can watch a student’s every single move in a school, much as a parent cannot watch their child’s every move at home.

Even with security cameras and security staff, there is always the possibility that someone who was watching the cameras sneezed at the exact moment the girl entered the boy’s bathroom. One or more of the security staff could have been in the bathroom themselves at the time these alleged incidents occurred.

If the school had the policy of sending a security officer to escort this special needs student to the bathroom, the mother most likely would have complained that the school isn’t letting her have enough autonomy. She would moan that the school needs to teach her daughter to be self-sufficient in preparation for life outside of the school walls. Either that, or she would have argued that the school was invading her daughter’s privacy by not allowing her unescorted restroom visits.

It has long been the approach of secondary schools to blend catering to special needs students and also allow them a certain amount of autonomy. Their goal is to educate students not only in book knowledge, but in street smarts as well so that special needs students will have a chance at survival in a world that has very few accommodations for their needs.

Parents are invited to attend the meeting to hash out their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Normally, parents are advised to extend this education to the home because teachers normally only have contact with students for six and a half hours.

The obvious questions here are: Why didn’t the mother of this student tell her that she shouldn’t be having sex with boys at her age, especially in the boy’s bathroom at school? Why is it the responsibility of schools to wag their fingers at students and tell them that having sex in the bathroom at school is not appropriate? How are the people watching the video screens supposed to know  the special needs of the student in question wasn’t a trans-gender student that had been cleared to use either bathroom?

Federal privacy laws prevent teachers and administrators alike from disclosing to anyone not involved in the student’s education the details of their IEP (including security guards). Therefore, if this girl was in fact trans-gender, no one except for the teachers, administration, and parent would know.

Schools are increasingly being forced to eliminate required physical education and health classes in favor of meeting the AYP standards for No Child Left Behind. In some schools where these classes are still required, special needs students are unilaterally exempted from them.

This story simply reflects s disturbing trend of parenting in which some parents believe that schools are functionally responsible for teaching their children everything. These same parents believe that schools not only need to protect students every second they are in the building, but every second they spend walking home or riding the bus to and from school. They think schools not only need to prevent bullying in school, but prevent cyber-bullying outside of school as well.

Well, the secret is out. Schools are operated by human beings, who have very real and human needs of their own. Every single student in every single school cannot be monitored every single second of their school career.

Parents need to take responsibility for educating their children outside of school. They need to ask their children daily what they learned in school, and fill in the gaps as they feel is necessary. Most of all, parents need to stop immediately shifting the blame for their child’s chosen behavior on the schools for failing to prevent that behavior.

The more parents depend on schools to do their job for them, the more of a police state schools will become. When schools finally switch their job description to “Big Brother,” parents will no doubt wonder why their students are not receiving any sort of education.

 

 

6 Comments

  1. You’ve been scooped! I scooped your story for my Scoop.it for “Special Needs Parenting and Blogging” – email me for the URL if you have trouble finding it.

    Here’s my note on this, though. I understand and 100% agree with your discussion over parental responsibility. It’s far too easy in today’s society to dismiss our primary responsibility toward our children, special needs or not, in favor of expectations (expecting others to do the hard work).

    But here’s my counter. We don’t know all the details about this situation, but many students with special needs do not understand the implications of dealing with sex at all, much less the dangers of engaging in this behavior. And there are some students with special needs who literally have maladjustment issues and co-diagnoses which mean that they are MORE sexually aware – it’s part of their disability.

    It’s inappropriate to assume that this is bad parenting when you either don’t know all the facts or aren’t sharing them.

  2. Interesting counterpoint. You are right that details are lacking. I watched the story on the news and also read the text version on the the WJBK website. They make no mention of the student’s specific disability, which of course is protected by privacy laws.

    I do know that one of the instances was about a year ago, the other several months ago, and the girl is just now coming forward. I also know that the student said herself that she regretted her actions and wishes someone would have stopped her.

    To me, that indicates the girl probably had reservations about her planned action, and is aware enough to regret having sex. Maybe if she had a bit more instruction about the implications and potential consequences of having sex, she might not have done it at all.

    This isn’t to say that there wasn’t shortcomings on both sides of the child care equation. Perhaps her disability was one that made her more sexually aware or unable to understand the pros and cons of sex. By the same token, it’s inappropriate to assume that any one person in a group the size of Mt. Clemens High School can be watched incessantly and also prevented from entering the boy’s bathroom to have sex.

  3. But schools operate under the weight of in loco parentis… The very act of accepting kids in the morning makes them responsible for the kids’ well-being & safety.

    Your whole post is full of straw men & making up stories of what the mother would do if the hypothetical story was thus. You don’t know, maybe the mother thought her daughter should have been supervised in the hallways.

    Why throw out so many false leads in your post? And why not link to the story?

    Without knowing the daughter’s level of disability, I can’t throw judgement around on this one. I used to babysit a little girl with Down Syndrome. A cognitive-normal boy in her class in middle school convinced her to have sex with him.

    It was considered as rape, even though she had consented to it, given that he was taking advantage of her lack of understanding about the act & the consequences. Sure, she regretted it. Especially after everyone was upset about it.

    “The more parents depend on schools to do their job for them, the more of a police state schools will become.” I do expect the school to keep my child safe while they have her. They ARE responsible for her when she’s there. Legally. Morally. Philosophically. In loco parentis. In place of parent. It’s their JOB.

  4. I agree that it is the charge of schools to protect students. But, how far should it go? Should Mt. Clemens High have had a policy of summoning a security escort every time a special needs student needed to use the restroom. Should every special needs student have a security escort with them at all times to prevent them entering the opposite sex restroom?

    Of course I don’t know for a fact that the mother would have complained to the school about a persistent security escort, or about the school not giving her daughter enough autonomy. It just seems like something someone who thinks the school could have prevented this circumstance might say if the school had provided her with an escort to the restroom at all times.

    Why didn’t the mother ask the school to help her approach the topic of sex with her daughter? How might the school have prevented the boy in question from talking the special needs girl into having sex? The answer is more staff, more supervision, which results in school costing more.

    It would be nice if schools were given access to unlimited resources to deal with problems such as these. The reality is that education budgets are being slashed, support staff is being pink slipped, and schools do not have the resources to follow every student around all day long.

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