Monday, September 29, 2008

What Is Up With Some Parents?

I've had more than a couple students already this year come to me and ask for some piece of data--missing homework, clarification of policy, or some such--and when I ask why they seem so down, they say something like, "My mom just told (or texted) me to ask you."

WTF? Pardon my virtual foul language, but seriously.

For starters, the student is admitting to violating our school rules, which are draconian but clear: no phone/pager/PDA usage of any kind during the school day. That's bad enough.

But why would parents, who clearly know this policy, insist that their child violate it by calling or texting during school? Unless they really expect that baby has turned the phone off (no one does), and they'll go straight to voice mail or their text message will be stored, parents shouldn't be doing this. They're actively assisting their kids in violating school rules, and it's the kids, not the parents, who will pay the penalty when we catch them on their phones.

I don't get this.


M.A. said...

Cell phones are a perpetual nuisance on our campus. Students refuse to turn them off and consistently push the limits, trying to text during class.

Parents need to call the office if they need to get a hold of their child, and I'm sure they have contact information for each teacher, too.

Kids don't wear watches anymore, they rely on their cell phones. They try to whip them out and use the calculator during class. It's out of hand.

That being said, I'm starting to dislike earphones just as much. I had a student come to my room with a parent. They were trying to have a normal conversation with me while loud music was blaring out of the student's ear piece (it wasn't in his ear, it was dangling out of his shirt).

I can't believe I actually had to ask him to turn off the music so I could hear what they were saying. Of course, this raises a different students almost completely lack self-awareness.

MikeAT said...


War Story. No S^&%, There I Was, on juvenile curfew overtime. I caught three girls walking away from their high school and I asked them what they were doing away from school. One was obviously pregnant and she said “My mother is picking me up for a doctor’s appointment.” The other two were “with her”. Still haven’t gotten an explanation for that. Well within a few minutes the first girl’s mother did show up and said “Yes, I’m here to pick her up for a doctor’s appointment.” I explained to the “adult” that she can’t just walk off of campus but has to be signed out. I released her to the mom after issuing her a citation for curfew violation. I transported the other two girls back to school and issued them citations.

It still pisses me off when I think of the mom’s attitude of telling her daughter to meet her off the campus. School officials would have let the girl go if she had a doctor’s appointment. All mom would have to do is pick her up at the school. Now if mom had called the school and little girl was unaccounted for there would be hell to pay in her mind. “Parents” like this (and I used this term loosely) need to show some judgment. If they show no respect for the duties and authority of a school and its policies, why should their children.


Scott McCall said...

don't worry....

...things will get MUCH WORSE as technology advances, and then headphones are smaller than the ear canal, and you'll never see them listening to music in ur class

Mrs. C said...

I don't see the problem HAVING all that stuff, just using it during CLASS time. Though unfortunately having usually leads to using. I'm not wealthy enough to afford the cell phone and all that but I can understand moms who want their kids to have one in case there is a gunman at school or something like that. They can call 911 a lot quicker that way rather than walking down to the office phone, doncha think?

And you have to admit there have been cases of abuse and stuff caught on these phones that never would have been caught otherwise.

But otherwise I'm with you. Why couldn't Mom tell Junior to talk to you during breakfast at home? Not using your cell phone during class is just common courtesy.

Mr. W said...

I think that the benefits of having cell phones don't out weigh the negatives they bring.

Sure you can use them in an emergency, but how often does that happen? Think about the day to day abuse. Texting during class, taking pictures of the tests to give to friends, hell just the fact that on or campus we have had 2 girls who have sent naked pictures of themselves to male students who them sent them to everyone else. The lists go on and on. Sure there might be a few kids who are responsible enough to obey the rules, but most aren't. Cell phones are a huge nuisance.

Anonymous said...

I think I've mentioned this before, but ... "Faraday Cage".

Won't stop using the phone as a music player, calculator, etc. but will stop using the phone as a phone.

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

First off, not using a cellphone during class time is common courtesy. other times...I don't see the problem.

My kids are in elementary school, but I can forsee a time when the oldest has a cell phone. I can also see that I might call her during the day. I could see how I could call her during classtime. I also anticipate teaching her that cell phones are to be put on vibrate during class times, meetings times, any other time (in school or out) where a ringing phone would be inappropriate.

I suspect that parents simply don't have in their minds how very different school is from the rest of the world. In my everyday life, I and just about everyone else I know, carry a cell phone. Most of the time, in meetings, it and most other cell phones are on vibrate. At times, someone forgets, it rings and it immediately turned off, or the person leaves the room. It is no big deal.

When you spend the majority of your waking hours in the adult world, or in an informal setting like home or other places of voluntary association, it can be hard to get in the mindset of what the other side goes thru trying to control a bunch of teenagers who would rather be somewhere else.

Teacher Can I said...

I hate to say it....but not having a cell phone sounds so 1990's. The cell phone is a fact of life today. It might serve you better to thinking of ways to incorporate it into learning. Maybe as a way to distribute information to students and parents. Look at how presidential elections are using cell phones as a funding networking tool. You'll never sale another candy bar again.

Major companies have cell phone eddicate discussion. Why not have one at schools that aren't so restrictive.

Darren said...

It might be a fact of life, but that doesn't mean that we let the cell phone dictate how we operate. The *car* has been a fact of life for several decades longer than a cell phone, yet we insist they leave *those* in the parking lot each day. And our parking lot is *off limits* during the school day.

Ellen K said...

I hate cell phones. Parents buy them with this hazy idea they will be able to contact their kids at any time. They need to get a clue. Kids have a ring tone for their parents and they simply choose NOT TO ANSWER when they are busy doing other things. Cell phones are constantly in use. I have to make kids leave their backpacks by the door. Girls will leave their purses open and text blindly while they are supposed to be working. Send a kid to the bathroom, and it's a phone call in progress. and please, don't get me started on testing while driving. Our student parking lot is like a war zone. I would welcome a device to disable all cell phones that enter my room.

Anonymous said...

The problem begins when we attempt to regulate something that doesn't matter. Kids using cell phones outside of class? Not a problem. Parents leaving a message, which can be checked at break and addressed, not a problem. In fact, some might call it 'proactive.

On the other hand . . . does it make them late for class? Problem. Does it go off in class? Problem. Are they texting test questions to each other? Problem.

So, instead of an arbitrary ban, which acknowledges that most of the kids will violate the policy anyway. . .we establish a rule that entitles any teacher to remove any electronic device that interferes with instruction in any way. If it doesn't interfere, we ignore it.

Would that be too easy? Or would it make the lives of students and parents too easy?


Darren said...

I think kids should be able to use their phones and other electronic devices at lunch and during breaks longer than 5 minutes. But that isn't the policy at my school, and "you fight with the army you have, not the one you want."