“They [the school administration] may not like something students say on their home computers and post on the Internet, but it’s for the parents to decide what, if any, discipline is appropriate.”
Aldon Hynes' Orient Lodge
Teach your children well
Submitted by Aldon Hynes on Tue, 06/03/2008 - 09:40.
“I hate you,” she shouted as she stormed out of the room and slammed the door. Shaken and hurt, I sat quietly. I will give her some time to calm down, and then go to her, let her know that I love her, even if I do things that I think are the best for her and she disagrees, even if she behaves in an inappropriate way. I can help her with that another time.
Does this sound familiar? I suspect that anyone with a teenager at home must have experienced something like this. The teenage years are difficult, not only because of the raging hormones, but also because of the need for teenagers to separate themselves from their parents and authority figures, to establish their own identity, authority, sense of self worth, and find ways to express it.
As much as I hate the phrase, “The Internet has changed everything”, there is a hint of truth about it for teenagers. At home, at night, they can shout and slam virtual doors online. They can call the administration of their school douchebags. They can create MySpace parody pages of their school administrators.
Of course, this presents another problem. These outbursts, which in previous years might have been confined to the family room, are now available for everyone to see, including the douchebags at the central office.
It is reasonable to believe that the school administrators may also be shaken and hurt by these outbursts. Since they are acting “In Loco Parentis” at the schools and since they should be much better trained in dealing with the traumas and dramas of teenagers, you would expect them to handle the situation even better than I have in my house.
Yet school administrators are also human. They err. They fail. Since their parental relationships are based upon a job, instead of deep familial love of the children, they may act in ways that are more focused on defending their reputations and their jobs than on being good educators.
It seems as if this provides a useful framework for understanding what went on with Avery Doninger and the school administration at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, CT. Avery wrote a blog post at home one evening after a dispute with the school administration about a concert she was helping organize. She referred to the ‘douchebags’ at the central office. Some of the administrators’ feelings were hurt and they lashed back at Avery. The case is currently in the courts. Yet Avery’s case is not the only one of its kind.