Ready for some outrage? A teacher allegedly taped two eighth grade students together as punishment. The hockey tape (did I mention this was in Canada?) binding the girls together was supposed to force them to get along.
Crazy, huh? Trying to force kids to get along? Oh, you thought I meant taping kids together?
Well, that's crazy too. I believe strongly in non-violent forms of discipline, and this teacher crossed the line. Taping kids together is not appropriate in any way, shape, or form.
But can we talk for just a second about what he was trying to do in the first place? He was shoving these two kids together to "force" them to get along. As if it's that simple?
Schools are filled with kids who don't "get along," for various reasons. Some of them are simply having a snit fit that will soon pass. Others have clashing personalities never meant to fit together. And still others are caught in the midst of a bully/victim relationship.
But too often schools -- and parents too -- dole out quick fixes. How many times did your mother ask, "Can't you kids just get along?" Now how often did she bother to get to the root of the problem?
Kids have feelings, and kids' feelings are valid. It's time we start addressing that.
If kids could "just get along," the probably would. But these are kids. They don't have the problem solving skills that come with age. And when we stick them on buses or send them to schools with no escape from the bullies or clashing personalities, they're offered no reprieve from these kids with whom they just "don't get along."
Just think how many people from your old high school you were more than happy to get away from after graduation. Once you had your own free will, you got away from them as fast as your feet could carry you.
And so it is with our kids. Simply existing in the same space doesn't mean our kids have the means to get along with one another. They need to learn social skills, true, but it takes two to tango. When one kid is a monster, it's unfair for both to be constantly dealt the one-size-fits all adult complaint: "can you just get along?"
What do you think of this absurd attempt to make kids get along? What is a better option?
Image via stoic/Flickr