Friday, April 29, 2016

Full Transparency?

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." - Gandhi

Maybe it's me.  Yup that's it, it must be me.  But what if it isn't me?

Over the past several years I have encountered a different type of person.  An individual or group that feels entitled to know consequences and punishments of others.  Here is a brief story that paints a picture.

Emotions Run High

The day was beginning to clear.  It had rained most of the morning and now the sun was just starting to peek through the clouds.  Students were coming outside to enjoy fresh air and some freedom.  A few students made up their own game with secret passwords, jails and the typical good versus evil theme that we often see on the big screen.  One young lady was a little late to the festivities.  When she arrived she felt a bit lost and out of the loop.  The others were running around and playing.  She decided to join in, but each time she did someone would block or capture her.  Her level of anxiety was rising.  She wasn't using her words, she was just becoming more and more angry.  The confusion was bringing out a volatile side of her.  

Truth is, her temper was becoming worse and worse.  No one could figure out why, but everyone saw the outbursts and the anger.  It seemed as though once a week the volcano might explode.

On this brisk day it did erupt.  She lost it.  She began throwing things and kicking people.  She repeatedly called other people names and then the teacher got wind of what was happening. The student was immediately sent inside with the classroom assistant.  But this didn't fix it, in fact this may have been the action that, "pulled the pin" and created the explosion.  Once in the room the young girl chased her peers and yelled at them.  She even kicked a chair and had the look of hatred burning in her eyes.

Eventually the student made her way to the office and after nearly thirty minutes things began to settle.  Cooler heads were prevailing.  After meeting with several other people that were involved it was now clear what happened.  

(Side note: Something similar to this happens frequently in schools each day.  It is called confrontation.  Some students deal with it better than others.  Small fact, some adults deal with it better than others.)

After contacting the young ladies father and speaking with him for nearly an hour I felt very good about the direction things were headed in.

Parent Curveball?

If your child receives a consequence do you want people to know what that consequence is? This is a simple yes or no question.  Adults often say they want transparency.  They don't want any secrets.  Do you really want full transparency?  

Within one day of talking to the young ladies father I received five phone calls, had three face to face meetings and answered numerous emails.  All but two parents asked me what the consequence was for the child.  ALL BUT TWO!  

What if the shoe was on the other foot?  Would you want me to share information of consequences on your child with others?  My guess is no.  Yet, we ask (and some demand) for that information.

What You May Not Know

People should keep a few things in mind.  First and foremost, we all have our own set of issues. Everyone is fighting a battle under the surface.  The minute you believe you are above problems is the day the avalanche smacks you in the face.  Ask yourself a few questions before you jump to conclusions.  Here are a few to consider:

  • Is it possible that the school and parent are working on correcting the behavior rather than simply dishing out punishments?
  • Could the school and parent be working with a pediatrician?  Is this more than a detention issue?
  • Was the student adopted?  Do you know what they went through at the orphanage?
  • Is there a history of abuse that the school is trying to resolve?
  • Does the child come from a broken home?  
  • Have the student's parents recently divorced?
  • Has the student lost someone close to them?
Ultimately everyone has a story.  I would hope you have enough confidence in your school to trust they are working to improve the situation.  Often times something is going on under the surface and the school is not at liberty to share.  

What we also realize is that you want your child safe.  Please understand this is our number one priority.  We want ALL students to be safe.  As someone that sees your child every day, rest assured that all of us keep an extra eye on your child.  We all want an environment that is safe and full of joy. 

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