Friday, January 07, 2005

The Family That Serves Detention Together, Stays Together

In Detention....
Just when I begin to think that I have become jaded to the point of "no- return," something happens that restores (in some small way) a little of the resiliency that a junior high classroom teacher needs in order to cope with the ever-increasing demands that are being made upon our students and our profession.

This is the tale of some parents that are actually accepting responsibility for their child's infraction of the school's disciplinary guidelines.

Meet Susan and Steven Manis of Pearland, Texas. Like myself, they have a 13-year-old daughter. The daughter's name is Jessica, and she had a problem getting to school on time.

This is the sort of thing that happens all the time. But in this case, there was just one complication. Jessica's tardiness was not her fault. It was due to her parents not having a reliable automobile. The family's van would not start several times in October and November because of the cold weather.

As a consequence of her repeated tardies, Jessica was assigned after-school detention.

Not surprisingly, the Manis's appealed the detention, but were unsuccessful in getting the punishment overturned. (Actually, I can understand this, as the school is unable to verify the facts. They should therefore apply the same consequence that they would to any student that is guilty of this infraction.)

So, since the fault was theirs, these parents insisted on serving the one-hour detention with their daughter because, as Susan Manis said, "We're more at fault than she is."

I don't know how far from the campus these people lived, or if a bus was available. But I do know that Susan and Steven Manis served one hour of detention along with their child. The three spent the detention copying pages from the section of the school handbook that addressed good citizenship.

Mother and daughter were dismissed 5 minutes early for, "good behavior." The father, Steven Manis, had to stay a few extra minutes because his cell phone went off, which was another violation of the schools discipline guidelines.

How refreshing to see parents accept responsibility instead of retaining lawyers and browbeating the school into submission with the threat of a law suit.

I hope the parents got their van fixed.

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