Monday, July 10, 2006

Lunchtime food for thought...

A comment posted at SlashDot in this topic: School Admins Demand Access to Students' Cellphones

Re:Kids these days...
(Score:5, Insightful)
by mariox19 (632969) on Saturday July 08, @08:05AM (#15682698)
You beat me to it, because I think this is the most important point of the whole issue.

Part of the purpose of school, and in raising kids in general, is to socialize them: meaning, to raise them so that they will be able to live in society. I am not for minors having the full-fledged rights of adults; but, we have to remember that how we raise them will affect what kind of adults they turn out to be. For kids, school is, to a great degree, society. The society we create for them in school is the society they will learn to live with.

When kids have to show ID at every turn, live out their day under the surveillance of security cameras, surrender their personal belongings on the whim of any authority figure, so on and so forth, it is far more likely that the great mass of them will grow up to be the kind of adults that will submit to an overbearing authority that allows them few rights.

It's one thing when this kind of policy is instituted in a private school. I still think it's a bad idea; but, the parents sent the kid there and had a choice as to where to send him. But, if we are talking about a government school (though, the euphamism in the US is "public" school), this presents, in my opinion, a serious threat to our future. Public schools in the US hold a near monopoly in education; and though I am not going to accuse the government of a concious conspiracy to indoctrinate the youth of america with anti-liberal ideas, the results, if such policies become widespread, will be no different.

To my mind, adults act as the custodians for the rights of kids: releasing various rights to kids as they become able to handle them responsibly. I'm all for adults being in charge; but any responsible adult realizes the grave responsibility he has towards the kids with which he has been given charge, and weilds that power in the service of raising kids to be responsible adults jealous of their liberty, rather than cowed wretches with no backbone in the face of authority.

Kids deserve respect above all; and this needs to trump the illiberal policies instituted under the cover of promoting "safe schools."

quiquid id est, timeo puellas et oscula dantes.

When I grew up, the emphasis was on personal rights and liberties. I don't know of any locker searches, or car searches, or personal searches. No metal detectors, I think the only time anyone brought a gun to school, it was in the back of a pick-up truck, and it was accidentally left there because the student had been hunting with his dad that weekend, and had forgotten about it (it was in its case, and the rest of the hunting stuff was there). I don't think he was punished, as it was just an oversight. I think he was just asked to lock it up in the cab.

In addition, we had teachers who were very concerned that we understood our government, our civic duties, and our rights (Hi, Mr. Nelson and Mr. Jepson!!!!!). Very tough teachers. Good teachers who understood that they were preparing up for life outside of school.

But still, people in authority are scary, and it is all too easy to see how students would submit to searches rather than risk punishment.

What a world we live in...

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