Parenting my way through obstacles

Being a good parent is tough these days. If you have a school-aged child, you know what I mean. Today's schools have ridiculous policies regarding punishment for misbehavior and the staff is not trained to deal with any child who does not fit into what is considered "normal" behavior.

Terms such as "terroristic threats" are absurdly assigned to immature statements made in anger by students who are only a threat to their own reputation. Everyone who ever attended school remembers incidents where a student would abrupt in anger and yell at a teacher. The student was sent to the office to see the principal and would receive their punishment. It was usually suspension at the most. End of story. No terms like making a "terroristic threat" were attached to their outburst.

Not today. The following is a narrative of an incident that resulted in a student being suspended for making a terroristic threat.

Teacher: (to the entire class) Someday when you are older you will look back at yourselves at this age and be embarrassed by your behavior

Student: Not me, I will laugh at myself.

Teacher: (allegedly to the entire class) Well I am talking about the normal students.

Student: (who felt this was directed at her and felt insulted by being called not normal) If you were my age I would kick your ass

Student voluntarily leaves the classroom and goes to the office to complain. Student is given suspension for making a "terroristic threat". Student is then notified that the teacher has requested that the student not return to the classroom because of the teacher's "FEAR" of the student.

There have been other incidences in this class where the student and teacher have clashed. One such incident was when the teacher made a reference to "God". As I recall, the school district does have policies about a teacher refraining from bringing "religion or religious references" into a class that isn't a religion class. The student was offended by the remark and said so.

The parent could have caused the teacher grief by making a formal complaint about this teacher's outburst but didn't. The parent has the maturity to not be offended by a teacher's comment. To each his own.

Many middle and high school students are angry and often they do not vent their anger appropriately. Their anger may steam from their home life, social problems or a learning disability. Sometimes they are angry just because they are growing teenagers who are trying to find their place amongst their peers.

Teachers are supposed to be ready to deal with angry teenagers. If they cannot handle it, they shouldn't be teaching teenagers.

In some school districts, a teacher doesn't need to worry about their own conduct. If they have a student who is "classified" in the class they can place the blame on the student.
Learning disabled students are entitled to receive the same educational benefits as any other student. A child could be learning disabled because they suffer from chronic depression, attention deficit disorder or any other number of disorders. Having a child classified does not give them an excuse for bad behavior but instead it should dictate how the child is disciplined.

In many cases, assumptions are made when an incident happens involving a child who has been "classified". Because a child has been classified and reacts inappropriately when criticized, the "fault" must be all on the child. A school district rarely looks at the teacher's behavior.

Teachers, especially those who are dealing with moody, hormonal teenagers, should exhibit self-control when they are addressing a class, but in my experience many do not. Because they have been teaching for a certain number of years, teachers are not held to the same scrutiny that a student is when it comes to what they are allowed to say.

When a parent complains about a teacher's behavior towards their child, they can expect to be on the losing side of the battle. Because of policies, a teacher might get "spoken to" about an incident but it is the student who will pay with suspension or detention.

The fear of "Columbine"-like behavior has taken our children's rights away. Yes, there are incidences where teenagers are a real threat to teachers and other students. If educators were trained to know the difference they could probably help to avoid tragedies from happening.

They may even be able to spot the child who is being bullied and get them the support that they need. They may recognize the bullier and get them help also. Unfortunately, a parent who seeks help for their child through the school system often does their child more harm than good.

The child who made this "terroristic threat" is not a bully. She is an overly-sensitive, slightly immature teenager who suffers from a depressive disorder. She struggles in school from being bullied, from having difficulties with concentration, and from teachers who make her feel even more "different" than she already feels. She is only threatening because her behavior demands attention.

The attention she needs she is not getting in a school district where teachers like this one are allowed to make insensitive comments.

This student knew she said something wrong. She was angry and hurt and needs to learn better self-control. Some teenagers react defensively when they feel persecuted. Now this student has making a terroristic threat on her permanent school record. This is just wrong.

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