When I was a kid (back when dinosaurs
roamed the earth), it was a toss up of who we were more scared of: parents or teachers.
Whenever we inevitability did something
wrong, our plaintive cry could be heard across the land. "Who do
you think they'll believe? Us or the teachers?"
The teacher would catch us doing
something, reprimand us and ask if they should call our parents. That
was the last thing we wanted. They would take the teacher's word
lock, stock and barrel and our behinds would be in a sling for weeks
Only once in my school career (well,
maybe twice) was something bad enough that my mother was called to
the school. I don't recall being put through the grinder either
time, but I also don't remember the teacher's word ever being
doubted. The fact that I put my head down and used the lowest voice I
could muster to admit I was guilty probably had something to do with
Times appear to have changed. A story I
came across in the Kansas City Star told of a woman who went to her
child's elementary school and, as we used to say, beat the tar out
of her teacher after the child claimed the teacher had scratched her.
The child later admitted she'd made
the whole thing up, but, you know, closing the barn door after the
horse is out and all that.
The story went on to detail that
parents attacking teachers isn't a completely unheard of thing. It's
not happening every day, but enough to cause some concern. So far no
killings have been reported, but who's to say that somebody might not
work up a head of steam one day over a perceived slight of their
child and bring a weapon to a school, or even a teacher's house?
And this isn't really a new thing.
While I was never believed over a teacher, I can recall other kids
whose parents never doubted their offspring and were ready to take
matters into their own hands if it came to that. Or court filings.
Whichever promised the most satisfaction.
But the attacks do seem to be
increasing and the question of whether one entitled generation is
raising another has been asked. We've all known kids who were
absolutely perfect and if anybody dared to do anything to them, or
deny them anything, we were ready to fight on their behalf. If
generation after generation keeps doing this, how long before we all
start to think we're the reason the world is here?
The story said that while no formal
studies have been made of the parent attacks teacher phenomenon, a
casual look at the reported attacks show the parent is usually a
single mother, under the age of 30, with a low income and limited
That can be looked at several ways. A
life like that is bound to lead to frustration and maybe the only
hope you have is that one day your child will far surpass you and put
you on easy street during your later years. And you'll be danged if
some teacher is going to ruin that.
You could also say that if you have "limited" education, your first response to a problem is
always going to be to lash out in a physical way. I suppose if you
have a higher education, the lawsuit path might be first and foremost
in your mind.
In the end, it all really depends upon
the people involved. Teachers aren't always completely innocent and
kids do sometimes tell the truth, though anything a kid says should
always be investigated very thoroughly, for the benefit of both
parties. Lives have been ruined because a kid didn't get his or her
way and somebody was going to pay.
I don't know if parents going after
teachers is a problem around here. I emailed the question to an
educator friend of mine, but never heard back. And a lot of what
happens at schools gets handled in house, so there's no law
enforcement paper trail to follow.
In the end, everybody just needs to
stay calm and think about what rash decisions can do. Life does go on
and you really don't want something like that hanging over your head.