Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Got Kids? Call Mom!

Real Mom has a great post today. Seems yesterday a case went to the supreme court. You can read about it at CNN and also at the WOW blog. To summarize, a 13 year old Jr. High student was strip searched while at school, without the notification of her parents, without being told what was about to happen. Her suspicious behaviour? Another student who had been caught with two Ibuprofen tablets revealed (lied) that she had gotten her "illegal" pills from Savanna Redding.

Savanna had never had any disciplinary action or negative reports in her file prior to this incident. She willingly allowed school officials to search her locker and her backpack, and then they asked her to remove all of her clothing so they could search through the clothes. She was not allowed to change in a private room, but had to strip in front of two female employees, then she was asked to show her breasts and also the inside crotch of her panties.

Nothing was ever found. There are no reports as to what disciplinary action was taken against the other young woman who accused Savanna. Savanna was told to put her clothes back on and go on with her day.

NPR has Savanna in a current day interview and the Why Homeschool blog has several interesting posts dedicated to the discussion.

The Denver Channel backs up the idea that your children have zero rights under the law. There, two 13 year old boys were asked to drop their pants and fully expose their under shorts while in a full school lunch room because two lunch ladies accused them of stealing money that was eventually found right where it was supposed the cash drawer.

Remember Whitmore High School? The 20 or so kids in Michigan who were detained in a PE room and strip searched looking for money that had been guessed it without finding anything.

Do you recall Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, CA? This is where the female students attending their high school prom were told to lift their skirts to prove they were not wearing thongs. This required them to show both front and back of their panties before they could enter and enjoy the evening. That action was appalling enough, until you find out the proof was had in view of both female and male teachers and some other students.

Back in the day one of my best friends had a daughter with a serious blood disorder (similar to what our son had, but different). Her daughter was under medical treatment and observation, and she had bruises all over her body. One morning the 5th grader was met at the curb and scurried into the school office. There she was met by school and county social workers who literally interrogated the 5th grader the entire school day- without mom or dad being called. At the end of the school day when mom showed up to pick up her children, she was arrested for child abuse. All of her children were taken into protective custody and separated into different foster homes. It took three or four days until doctors could convince the state officials that the bruising was due to her medical condition and not because of beatings.

Her daughter needed several years of therapy to heal from the messages the social workers had implied over the 8 hours at school. Things like her mother's punishments (time out and restrictions) were not normal parenting but rather her lack of love and abusive. The other children were also traumatized, being separated and isolated for days.

In our local schools, lockers have been removed because a group of ten or so kids were found with pot on campus. Not in their lockers, but on campus. Instead of removing the kids from the school and sending them to the school a few blocks away- the school designed to help kids who were having trouble, the board decided that all lockers were places to hide drugs, which means all the lockers would be removed; and coincidentally the kids stayed at the school.

A few years ago we all gave up specific civil and personal rights in effort to be more nationally secure, to feel safe, to keep the bad guys at bay. The problem with that is that we willingly gave up those rights without a second thought as to how they would or could effect us personally down the road. We continually heard the argument of "Well, if you haven't got anything to hide, you don't have to worry." If you aren't talking to, or e-mailing a terrorist, why should you care that your phone is being tapped? If you are patriotic why should you care if water boarding is a legal method of gathering information? Because eventually it does get down to you.

Explain to your daughter that if she has nothing to hide it it won't matter if she is required to strip to prove it. Tell your son it's o.k. to drop his pants for everyone in the lunch room to see to prove his innocence as well.

Your children have no rights. You have to teach them what to do. You have to protect them.

Because of personal anecdotal experiences -some described above- I chose to be the anti-policy mom. The rebel mom who put her foot down against school uniforms and then some. (As a person who worked in the schools I could tell you hair raising tales of what parents allow their children to wear in public.) The real point is that those same parents are the ones who will "opt out". There is small print in every school policy that says "School uniforms are mandatory! unless you don't want to comply, then just sign this release." Instead of reprimanding the specific child and enforcing the normal dress code, they ignore the few and make the whole wear a uniform. It's easier than dealing with unruly parents.

I was the mom who instructed my kids to not open their mouths -ever- if they were brought into a school office, not until I got there. I trained them to ask to call mom first,and they did. And I answered. I went down and met with angry and puffy faced administrators when my kid messed up- or not. (There is an incident where one of the kids was actually accused of "passive resistance"...I was a proud momma at that point! Better to be passive than to be abused.)

All of these problems could be better handled if we took the hard road instead of the easy way out. Ms. Redding would not be going through public humiliation years after the fact if one sensible head would have stopped and thought how to better solve the dilemma: Call Mom.

The boys in the cafeteria? Detain them in an open office and: Call Mom.

Catch a few nasty girls who showed off their slim nickers at the last dance? Ban them from all upcoming dances, enforce the existing dress code, and: Call Mom.

Rowdy teens suspected of stealing money in gym class? Separate them. Detain them. and Call Mom.

Potheads on campus? Detain and Call Mom first and the Police. If found guilty expel them from school and send them to alternative education.

add to sk*rt


Boy Mom said...

I loved your comments on Real Life Moms Blog. This is exactly how I parent, school administrators are usually very reasonable if the child repeatedly asks to call Mom and will not respond with out her there. in Jr. High we provide an opportunity for each of them to leave and walk home with out checking out. We think they need to know that they are accountable first to God then to themselves then to parents and never to school administrators. They are however expected to be respectful and well behaved, just not puppets to secular authority.

I sure hope this girl can let it go and have a life.

robyn said...

What surprises me more than anything is the length of time that it has taken to get this to the supreme court. In CA the marriage initiative was in the supreme courts lap before the ink dried. I guess it's the old squeaky wheel paradigm.

I empowered my daughters to be in charge of themselves. And, they answered to me. I answered to the school if need be.

Kathy @ Real Mom, Real Life said...

Here is the thing... I didn't actually know I could tell my kids to refuse to say anything until I was called. How dumb am I?

I blogged a while ago about my "never-gets-in-trouble-teachers-love-him" son. He was "caught" loaning a dollar to a friend for lunch. He was sent to the principals office and was threatened by the teacher to be sent to a school for troubled youth if he didn't really fess up to what was going on. She called him names, etc. J was SO upset he couldn't de-escalate on his own. I had to go get him from school. It took a good several hours to get him back to normal functioning. I was furious. And I let them know. I told this teacher she could NEVER speak to my children again! But it never occured to me that I could actually tell my kids to clam up, not say anything and wait for me.

We will be having that discussion immediately.

Oh -- and here is a very appropriate quote from Neal A Maxwell:

"A nation that permits anything will soon lose everything."

S'mee said...

3 fabulous comments with great points. Thanks ladies, really.

maren said...

Now you are scaring me.