Ask The Principal

Monday, June 19, 2006

What about public school safety?

Check this out from "Safe School Ambassadors", one of the more effective programs used in public schools for school safety. This is from their site:

Every Day in America

160,000 students stay at home from school because they are afraid of how they might be treated by their peers. Every day thousands or millions more come to school with a knot in their guts unable to concentrate, learn, or perform at their best because they are afraid they will be insulted, harassed, assaulted, or worse. Every day....

If you care to follow up and read more of this group you will find that they do a lot of really good things. In fact, from my perspective as a principal this is an outstanding organization. It has benefited our school. The thing I have found is this; the more effective the organization the more it mimics what should go on in the home, and does go on in the home of the effective home school. The mentoring, accountability, dealing with character issues, exercising "tough love", etc. are all things the parent does at home.

We find that great organizations like this come up to serve the public schools and they have a positive impact on the school culture. Sometimes the impact is tremendous. With great successes it is easy then to criticize the homeschool environment and say "look how safe we made the school! You can send your kids here to be socialized now!"

I go back to my earlier premise that "there's no place like home". Wait, haven't I heard that before somewhere?

The point is, there will never be the safety at a public school that will be found in the home. The critic immediately goes to the worst case of abuse he/she can imagine or remember. I've seen and reported all kinds of abuse, but those are still the anomalies in real life, and in my experience, not one from a home school. Not that they don't exist, it only happens less often than say, lightning striking twice in the same spot. (It does, but ever so rarely in comparison)

So I will start a series of posts on school safety. I will go to various sites that promote school safety and we will start seeing similarities and especially obvious will be the areas where the best solution is the home solution. Everything else is just...not adequate.

If you have a personal anecdote to share about a public school experience feel free. It may just help the reader make a good decision!


  • A student from my middle school teaching experience appeared in my high school English class this past year.

    I knew her as a talkative, yet likable, young lady. However, soon it became clear that she was not the same-- about halfway through the semester she became withdrawn and then didn't appear in class for a few days. Apparently, some older girls in another one of her classes were threatening her and she was afraid to come to school. She returned to school after a week of absences and meeting with teachers and counselors. The next semester in my class she began lashing out, becoming angry, defiant to adults, and intimidating to other students. She spent the last week of finals in isolation, because she had become a "disturbance". All because she was afraid, and didn't know what to do about her fear.

    I'm praying that her fear would no longer turn to anger as she approaches school, but her best friend is a girl who also "hated" the school and the students in it and had become almost depressed about appearing in school every day. They are very close, and their attitude about school is so negative now.

    It's only one example, but I think it speaks volumes. And this, mind you, is taking place in one of the "best" schools in the country--one of top 300 in the nation. It's just what happens when you get 1200 diverse students together and try to force them to get along without any binding worldview to help them cooperate.

    I almost wish that student's mother had kept her at home--and taught her-- I don't think she would've become the angry young lady she is now.

    By Blogger Allison, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:02:00 AM  

  • Allison this sort of thing happens so often its scary. As a teacher you will see a few instances of this type of transformation from innocence to a defensive, miserable, angry being. The principal and counselor see this dozens of times to your one. Well, congratulations! This girl has been "socialized". This is what socialization is all about. Learning to get along with others right? This girl just needs more counseling to get through it, that's all.

    Perhaps I shouldn't be so sarcastic. I have seen the depths of pain this girl and her family endure as if they HAVE to. I used to be silent about the homeschool option. I don't have those reservations about expressing that as an option from my post anymore.


    By Blogger The Principal, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:40:00 AM  

  • I am a Christian woman. I grew up in a Christian family and went to public school. I have so many stories that I could tell about my public school experiences that it is no great wonder that I am homeschooling my own children.
    Here's one unfortunate incident, just for an idea: When I was in 3rd grade, a boy on my bus(he was about 2 years older than me and had flunked a couple grades until he was in my class) held me down and started unbuttoning my shirt. I can remember the exact outfit that I was wearing and that I was so thankful that I had worn an undershirt that day. I was terrified and confused, but God was watching out for me. Somehow my bus driver, a wonderful older gentleman, became aware of the situation. He stopped the bus, came back, pulled this boy off of me and looked like he wanted to beat the living daylights out of him.
    This will NEVER happen to my daughters. My oldest daughter is going into fifth grade next year and is completely innocent of things like this. I am eternally thankful for that. Why would I ever want to expose them to that type of socialization?

    By Anonymous Mrs. J, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 8:54:00 AM  

  • Thanks Mrs. J,

    In my opinion the following situations are most dangerous from worst to least: rest rooms, busses, playgrounds, hallways, classrooms. Peer socialization is what runs amuck the fastest and most furiously

    By Blogger The Principal, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 11:04:00 AM  

  • How about the continuing "socialization" of David Parker's son:

    Despite the incredulous story of the father's arrest for trespassing when trying to establish that he will be notified when particular "diverse" subjects are aimed at his son, the retaliatory response from the community and now that of a gang of his son's peers, I have to ask - why is his child still there? What could possibly be done in this scenario to make the public school "safe" for his son to continue attending? I don't think the standard transfer within the system will cut it.

    By Anonymous Eric Holcombe, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 1:55:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the link Eric. You know that this boy has been a sacrificial pawn for the sake of trying to get something out of a public system hostile to Christian values. I'm sorry, but that is not what our children are for. The administrator said there was no serious injury. Just because there was no blood or bruises, the emotional trauma this child went through to "prove a point" is beyond the pale. See my next post on the bully.


    By Blogger The Principal, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 2:35:00 PM  

  • In my opinion the following situations are most dangerous from worst to least: rest rooms, busses, playgrounds, hallways, classrooms. Peer socialization is what runs amuck the fastest...

    After almost getting my jaw broken in a restroom assault in high school, I never entered a high school restroom again; I held it in until gym class, when I could pee in the showers in relative safety.

    The most lasting thing High School ever taught me was how to HATE.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, August 21, 2006 12:46:00 PM  

  • Dear anonymous,

    Hate is consuming. Forgiveness is freeing. I am sorry for your experiences. They are quite typical unfortunately, hence my strong encouragement for parents to homeschool their children

    By Blogger The Principal, at Sunday, September 03, 2006 1:40:00 PM  

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