Before you send your kid off to school, you try to instill a sense of respect for authority in our kids. But not too much. We want them to feel safe saying no when an adult wants them to do something that doesn't mesh with our values because we can't always be there to do it for them.
Take the third grader who was strip searched by his elementary school principal for allegedly stealing $20 from a classmate. It turns out Justin Cox didn't actually take the money, but that's beside the point. An adult made a 10-year-old boy strip down to his undies. And from the way his (rightfully) outraged mom is talking, it doesn't seem like little Justin knew he could say no ... and she wasn't there to do it for him.
That's the crux of my concern. I can't be with her all the time, but will my kid be able to say "no" to adults she was taught to respect?
Maybe the reason Clarinda Cox's complaint about her kid's school strip searching her son freaks me out more because she sounds so reasonable. She isn't one of those nutty parents who automatically says their kid was right. She says she would have strip searched him in the privacy of the school bathroom with a school staffer present so the poor 10-year-old wouldn't have been terrified.
She isn't saying no discipline. She's asking to be involved so she can speak for her kid. Makes sense, right?
It's not unreasonable for a school district to call in the parents of a child before they start a discipline process. That gives us the chance to work with the school in meting out punishment appropriately. It's not really that different from giving an adult criminal suspect a lawyer.
Kids these days face everything from strip searching to being locked in a scream room. That's why parents need to be brought in on discipline issues. We should have the chance to make sure discipline is appropriate, to make sure they're getting fair treatment. Because our kids don't always know when they can say, "No," but that doesn't mean they should have to suffer.
What would you do if your child's school called and said they wanted to do a strip search?
Image via Candie_N/Flickr