Saturday, May 19, 2007

Good Mom, Dumb Kid, What's Up With The Teacher?

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A woman whose son was suspended from school for roughhousing with a teacher punished him by making him wear a sign and pick up litter while walking five miles down a city street.

Travis Griffin earned the 10-day suspension from Creston High School after putting a teacher in a headlock while horsing around Thursday.

If it was "roughhousing", that indicates that the teacher willingly participated, even if it "got out of hand". If the teacher didn't consent, it wasn't roughhousing--it was assault.

I like the way the mother addressed the situation, though. No making excuses, no trying to smooth it all over.

"I know I am not going to do that again, put teachers in a full nelson," Travis said. "Although, I was joking around with him and he took it too seriously."

Again, there's no indication whether this was roughhousing, which would represent a poor decision by the teacher in the first place, or assault. But all sides are apparently satisfied, since there's as yet no report that the teacher will sue or press charges.


Dean Baird said...

Nobody believes me when I tell them I came from a rough school!

Dean Baird
Grand Rapids Creston High School
Class of '82

P.S. Nobody believes me when I tell them what our school mascot was, either!

Mike said...

I frequently see teachers "roughhousing" with students and I cringe for the following reasons:

1) A large part of teaching adolescent boys is trying to convince them that proper social interaction with others may be best accomplished without striking them. When teachers engage in the same 3rd grade behavior, it is doubly hard to demand proper behavior of kids.

2) Teachers are adults and must act as adults. They must not descend to the level of student behavior in this or any other matter.

3) Teachers must never put themselves in a position where any touching of a student can be misinterpreted or misrepresented. It is best, particularly for teachers in the upper grades, not to touch students at all. And no, this won't make teaching harder. Many excellent teachers do it all day every day and are adored and respected by their students. We can be their friends (an adult-child friendship); we can't be their middle aged homies.

4) When teachers engage in this sort of behavior, they set themselves up for abuse by students who can get in some "free" hits on a teacher without fearing reprisal. This causes the break down of respect and discipline and is absolutely a no-win situation for teachers. This is true not only in the classroom and in the hallways, but doubly true in playing any sport. Teachers should never, never play sports with kids. It's so dumb as to be beyond belief that adults would do this.

(5) When students understand that they may "rough house" with a given teacher, that teacher has rendered themselves tactically inert. Is the student moving aggressively toward that teacher merely playing, or will their first blow do real damage? Unless students know that any touching of a teacher will result in immediate consequences, the teacher is, again, at a serious disadvantage.

Simply put, there is no upside at all to allowing kids to touch teachers. It is even worse when teachers initiate such contact. If I was a principal, I would be very concered about the maturity level of any adult who could not stop themselves from engaging in this sort of behavior with kids. This is so potentially dangerous and career threatening, that the decision to rough house possibly should not be left to the discretion of teachers. What do you think?

Darren said...

Mike, I agree with you completely.

And try me, Dean. What is/was the school mascot? =)

Dean Baird said...

The Polar Bears!

But that's as far as I go. I'm not gonna sing the fight song.