Angry Birds… I mean… angry Moms

One of my students was sent home yesterday because he came to school out of dress code. We have very strict rules about uniforms and such, as we are a disciplinary school. He’d been warned several times in the two weeks he’s been with us, yet refuses to follow the rules. Sending him home was typical practice for our administration.

Now, Angry Mom has gone to the school board demanding that we are discriminating against her son.

I understand her need to advocate for her son, and if someone really was being discriminatory, I would be right there next her. But our school is designed in a way that provides safety and security, which many of our students only feel within the walls of our building. Many of our kids aren’t even safe at home. Kids crave structure, even if they rebel against it. Don’t we all?

I desperately wish Angry Mom would understand that we are not only teaching math, science, history and English… We’re teaching students to be responsible, well-mannered, contributing members of society. We are teaching them to get along with one another, and give and earn respect appropriately. We are there to help, not hurt.

Enabling her son this way is teaching him that a loud, angry voice is the way to try to get what you want…

Her anger isn’t directed at me. But I have the feeling that one misstep could put me in the firing line.

This is what education has become.

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4 thoughts on “Angry Birds… I mean… angry Moms

  1. I know one of “those mom’s” that taught her children that a loud angry voice is the best way to deal with things. Rules, structure, respect for others were not as important to her as making your voice heard. This take still affects those children years later. They don’t allow themselves to be over ran by others but there are times that it has interfered with their paths in life. I know that attitude has created a lack of caring individuals in her life. I wish that was not the primary lesson so many years ago. I hope this child you speak of learns that loud and angry aren’t always the best way to go.

  2. I won’t try to be preachy with this comment I promise!

    Unfortunately, this sort of behaviour is taught from birth. Angry Mom almost certainly also had an Angry Mom. She grew up learning that this is the way to behave. Her son will grow up to be an Angry Dad. In reality, she couldn’t care less what he wears or probably what he does. It can only be dealt with at a legal level, enforcing the rules and standing firm because I suspect it is much too late to do anything about the attitudes that have become ingrained. This household is one of two kinds; a completely ‘I don’t believe in disciplining children’ one or a ‘the only way to deal with kids is to shout at them all the time’ one.

    We had one of the latter families living behind us. It was very sad. When the two year old boy wandered off through a gap in the fence one day, was found crying in great distress by a neighbour and returned to his home, the grandmother who was babysitting had no sympathy but verbally laid into the poor little thing for getting lost. (Where was she when he wandered off?) You could hear her halfway down the street. We all realised where her daughter got her behaviour. The little lad will be the same when he grows up unless a miracle happens. They’ve moved now and it’s a lot quieter. I don’t know what you can do about it but in a school situation it can only be handled at a legally acceptable level or Angry Moms can make real trouble. The trouble is that these are the same parents who get angry with others who are doing their jobs for them – trying to raise their kids in a sociably acceptable way, especially teachers.

    Best wishes in tackling this. It sounds as though work is really tough for you at the moment. I hope things improve soon.

    Rosemary

  3. Oh man. It bothers me when a parent oversteps me and goes straight to the principal with a (often only self-perceived) problem. Angry Mom is overstepping the principal and going to the school board? Geesh.
    I am in the midst of a social & personality development psychology class right now and yes– evidence now suggests that although there is always some genetic component, personality, attitude, behavior, et. al. are almost entirely a product of environment. Angry Mom raises Angry Son.
    This is, as you say, what education has become. Not so long ago, say, when you and I were in school, it seemed that parents still generally trusted the system. By that I don’t mean that they all naively accepted that the public education system wasn’t flawed, and that there were (/are) such things as bad teachers, bad administrators, even bad school boards. What I mean is that in a he said/she said between child/student and teacher/school, they would trust the teacher/school. They followed the basic assumption that reasonable adults most likely gave a more accurate representation of the truth in a situation than a child, even THEIR child. Now it feels that as teachers, we are on the defensive. Because children can do no wrong (seriously?), we are liable to have to defend and/or justify every lesson, every assignment, every test, every book read or film viewed in class, every field trip, and of course every grade “given” (I put that in quotes because also in “the good old days” there seemed to be more acceptance that teachers didn’t GIVE grades, students EARNED them)… the list goes on. It’s exhausting. I wish you the best in this situation and the others sure to follow.

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