The following exchange happened during school hours on facebook. Not exact quotes, but pretty close to 'em.
TeenfriendofSon: having trouble getting on to games on facebook. :(
Me: That stinks! They're blocking them, are they?
TFOS: I can post, and I can read comments, but I can't play games!
Me: Well, it's YOUR education. You should be able go get onto the games or text or whatever as long as your volume is off and you are not distracting others. Um... ask Patrick to give you the monologue for me so I don't have to get into it, OK? (He was in a study hall with my son at the time. I would imagine he would probably just roll his eyes if he were asked for the monologue, though. Teens are fun.)
TFOS: Thanks. At least SOMEBODY agrees with me. This stinks.
Aw, well. This same fella enjoys school most of the time, as does Patrick. He's pretty new to facebook and he probably was hoping to milk his goats, build an empire or whatever the game of the day is with him.
But I don't always take the side of freedom and justice. At least, not in the eyes of most teens. I fully support the required wearing of lanyards on school grounds and the right of security to make sure you are who you say you are. I hate that it does sort of make it look like a police state in that building... but... the schools honest-to-goodness are following the trends that larger workplaces have HAD to take of necessity. I don't like it. I just understand and support it.
It so happens that a couple years ago, a man drove into the high school parking lot with his truck. He tried to have some inappropriate conversations with some young ladies who were getting out of their own cars and going into school. His "suspicious" behaviour was reported to police, and they caught him masturbating in the parking lot.
What's to say a slightly bolder man wouldn't just walk in to the school for his jollies?
For that matter, I'm sure a man could walk into school with a few guns and do all sorts of stuff before the cops shot him. But really, I'm ok with the campus security being aware of who is who and who might be out of place.
I know it only goes so far. Children have PE on the athletic fields and some walk to and from school. You CANNOT expect campus security to be everywhere. But I'm ok with them asking you for your ID if they really don't know you if you are on school property. Interesting that that story only made the police blotter ("indecent exposure, date, address of school," but no mention that it IS the school) and the high school hall chatter, and not the nightly news, though.
I think older teens (16 and up) should be allowed to leave school entirely if their parents have signed off on this idea. Why couldn't they walk over to a nearby shop or have lunch on a grassy field, so long as they weren't disturbing the PE classes or causing some sort of ruckus? Despite the weirdos out there, I think the teens need to be able to walk off-campus with their friends if they have parental permission. How are we going to help our students manage distractions like nearby stores and facebook games and balance them with their need to get their work done? I'm thinking common-sense limits. I also think perhaps much of the anti-teen attitude out there comes from the fact that when many teens DO get a little bit of freedom, they're not too adept at handling it.
No, I'm not a "let my kid get on the subway alone at age nine" sort of parent, but I'm ok with your being that way if you want to be and think your guy's ready. I have some children who would be able to handle that freedom, and others who would REALLY need guidance of an adult.
Speaking of which, Elf and Emperor can tie their shoes! Not perfectly, but they can do it. AND... we are learning to walk across a parking lot and "looking both ways" before we do so. I'm actually very encouraged by this. It's been a great week for them. I know many children have mastered these skills at a MUCH younger age... but I'm encouraged that we're moving forward on some of these skills that simply eluded them for so long.
Someday goal: unload groceries, make appropriate small-talk with the cashier, pay and leave without her thinking we're REALLY odd. That means no talking about Hello Kitty, Teletubbies or (the latest obsession!) thoughts about birthday parties featuring balloons of xenon instead of helium. And would they be as fun? What sorts of games would YOU play with them? BUT we can't have radon at our party because Mom blah blah blah.
I think it's a do-able goal, given enough time. I'm not kidding when I say that mayyybe they need to just follow a script. We'll worry about "leaving campus alone" much, much later. :)