Is it unreasonable for a school to expect students to police themselves (and others) on matters of personal conduct? In a word: yes. But that is exactly what one school in Dayton, Ohio is doing.
A 14-year-old girl who witnessed two classmates having sex on a school bus and didn't immediately report is no longer allowed to attend the eighth grade prom or the class picnic all because she was intimidated by the boy and scared to report them for having sex until after she got off the bus. Her mother told the Washington Post:
She wasn’t sure what the boy might do in response. He might have retaliated against her.
So, this 14-year-old girl is being punished because the adults on that college-tour trip are poor chaperones? That seems fair.
Though the two students engaging in sex were suspended, the eight chaperones at the front of the bus were given no disciplinary action. And this girl who had been looking forward to her prom all year is just plain out of luck.
Obviously schools count on students to report what they see. No one can have eyes in the back of their head, and the school needs diligent students who are unafraid to stand up for what's right. But this is going too far.
In middle school and high school, the last thing we can expect students to do is openly rat one another out. Even in the best school in the country, ratting out fellow students while on the bus with them would be a horrible, humiliating experience. What teenager would do that?
Maybe these kids were more popular or maybe they were more dangerous or maybe she just didn't feel like getting mocked. Either way, the school is lucky she reported it at all. Certainly that is more than most 14-year-olds would do.
As a parent, it's deeply concerning that any school would expect my child -- or any child, really -- to be responsible for the actions of another. She reported what she saw when she felt safe doing so. How could anyone fault her for that?
Do you think the school is wrong here?
Image via Brittany G/Flickr