Friday, March 13, 2009

Public Displays of Affection at Middle School

This morning I was at my children's middle school to teach a SMART/START lesson regarding conflict resolution and bullying to a 6th grade class that I volunteer to teach with a large group of dedicated parent volunteers.   After the leadership students took turns delivering the day's school news, the principal came on over the PA system.  Her normally cheery voice had been replaced by an angry, very serious one.  She meant business. 

Her first announcement was to let the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders know that pushing, shoving, and  horseplay would not be tolerated.  I was actually in the office when the 2 pusher, shovers were brought in.  A very short 4'10" tall teacher had brought two students in whom had slammed through the double doors knocking her pretty hard.  She was understandably angry.  I turned around expecting to see two boys standing behind me and was shocked to see two girls.  

The Principal's second announcement was about the fact that there was a lot of kissing, hugging, and hand holding going on at school and that it would stop immediately.  She stated that she had two students in her office the day before who expressed great shock that they were not allowed to kiss, hug, and hold hands at school.  The principal raised her voice another occtive and said, "Well, the fact that you have to ask why it is inappropriate, means I need to call your parents to come in and meet with you and me so that we may discuss why it is inappropriate."  

Our children are overexposed and desensitized by the constant flood of sexual images forced upon them by advertisers via television, sporting events, music videos, reality TV, and online social networks.  So, we are left with children who are imitating what they are constantly seeing.  They don't understand that it is inappropriate.  (Or worse, they don't care.)  They see it everyday.  Parents today have to educate children about what is appropriate and what is INappropriate behavior.  

I am lucky that my children's principal cares enough to take a stand and educate her students. I'm not sure how many in her place would bother.  However, SHE should not be the one educating our youth about public displays of affection.  That's OUR job and we need to get on it!

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