How far should a school go in disciplining an unruly student? And what responsibility do parents bear for that youngster’s behavior?
These are issues that American educators and parents perpetually wrestle with, and they have been debated around Westchester recently because of two incidents that have received attention not just in coffee shop chitchat but also in the news media.
In early June, a trustee of Ardsley’s school board resigned after other middle school parents expressed outrage at her 14-year-old son’s behavior. They accused him of bullying children and repeatedly threatening violence, including a massacre and bombing, and blamed the school for not stepping in sooner and more firmly. School officials, the parents contended, had been too tolerant of the boy’s belligerence because of his mother’s board position.
In the other incident, David Turano, 18, a senior at Briarcliff High School, hiked up his gown and flashed his naked backside to a graduation audience in late June. Embarrassed officials called the police, who charged the boy with exposing himself.
Parents and school officials are not always wise in such situations. More commonly, they agonize and improvise, trying to draw fine lines between offensive behavior and the natural need of teenagers to define themselves by testing limits...
Monday, July 07, 2008
This from the New York Times: