Let’s straighten our crowns before criticizing others about theirs
When we saw the story last weekend about 10-year-old Izzy Tichenor our hearts broke. According to Izzy’s family, she committed suicide following numerous incidences of classmate bullying, including an allegation that Izzy’s teacher joined in mocking her daughter as well.
Sadly, this tragedy seems to be yet another example of the widespread problems occurring within our public schools. While it is our position that all students – not just some – deserve an educational experience that is free from bigotry, prejudice and intolerance – especially from those in authority who abuse or misuse their role as educators, we recognize that the problems within our schools extend beyond the teachers and administrators.
Before this recent story, the Davis School District was already on the hot seat following an investigation by the Department of Justice regarding widespread claims of racism, bigotry and bullying. In fact, it was just recently that a settlement was reached in the matter.
As parents, we send our children to school with the good faith assumption that they will be protected. When those in positions of authority violate that trust, of course there should be consequences. Our children are our most precious resource. They deserve places of learning where both their minds and their spirits will be protected and nourished.
If we intend to send the message that certain behaviors will not be tolerated, then that message needs to be swift and unmistakable. How can we expect the students to behave better when the adults in charge are guilty of the same behavior? We cannot bring about change when those in leadership positions are guilty of, or are turning a blind eye to, the very behavior we aim to eradicate.
We know, however, that bullying isn’t something new. Sadly, it’s a part of life most of us faced when we were students ourselves decades ago.
BUT some things have changed in those ensuing years, namely, technology. With mobile phones and social media, kids today can communicate and bully on an enormous scale instantaneously. No longer is bullying contained to only a classroom, playground, cafeteria, school bus or bathroom, but to an entire student body almost simultaneously. Let’s be honest, there aren’t many adults who could withstand that type of negative attention for very long.
Kathleen’s sister is a public school teacher in Texas. Just the other day, she authored a post on Facebook regarding problems in our schools. In her post, she wrote, “Are there problems in our schools? Yes, there are. Are they what you think they are? Probably not. They are so much more than what you think. Teachers are teaching the basics but we cannot get kids to follow the simplest of instructions. They won’t be quiet, and the lack of respect is overwhelming.” She goes on to say that her most challenging students behaviorally are the ones in honors (accelerated) classes.
She recommends that the parents (who can) step-up as substitute teachers so they can see first-hand what’s taking place. She asks that before people condemn the entire system, to witness for themselves what is occurring every day in the classrooms.
Every generation is different from the one before, and even more so from two generations prior to that. To assume students are behaving today as they did when we were students is naive and ill-informed. Perhaps the accountability we mentioned above needs to begin closer to home. How can the world be improved when our own homes are in disarray? Before we set out to change the world, perhaps the most important change we can make is within the walls of our homes. Let’s make certain the origin for the failures in our schools isn’t because we are failing as parents. Let’s straighten our own crowns before pointing out that someone else’s is crooked.