In Don’t Blame School Officials if Your Child Chooses to Look at Porn on His Laptop from Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Wesley Fryer tells about a news story where a parent is upset that her child accessed pornography on a school laptop. He also states,
“Responsibility for teen behavior when it comes to life online as well as offline lies primarily with the STUDENT.”
I wanted to jump up and cheer! Too much of society today wants to always blame someone else for a person’s behavior. The only behavior I can control is my own. The same goes for everyone else. Yes, outside things can influence my behavior but the ultimate responsibility comes back to me.
Years ago, I was a cheerleader coach. My head cheerleader had gotten pregnant of her senior year right smack in the middle of basketball season. She did not conceive during school hours or during any event where she was a cheerleader. This means in no way was I around or in charge of the cheerleaders. Yet, when some of the parents (high school and upcoming middle school student parents) found out, everyone wanted my resignation. They wanted me to resign not just as a cheerleader coach but as a teacher! How was I to blame for the poor choices that this girl made? Needless to say, I did not resign from either position.
My own children have made choices that I felt were bad. As a parent, I can teach them values and appropriate behavior but I can’t guarantee that they will always make the right choices. They will make mistakes. I made mistakes. In fact, many times, I still do. But I can’t blame anyone for the mistakes except myself. My behavior is determined by the choices that I make.
I also taught my children and my own students that there are consequences for the choices that they make. Some consequences may be good and some may be bad. But the responsibility falls back on them.
When the school teaches students to drive, students are given a tool of transportation. This tool can take them to libraries, museums, schools, and so many other educational places when they get in their own car. It also can take them to porn shops, illegal drug drops, and other inappropriate or other illegal places. The choice is one that the person, as a driver, makes when behind the wheel. If a student gets a ticket or is arrested outside of school hours while driving, the school should not be blamed because of these bad choices.
When I teach students, I am giving them information and knowledge to use in their lives outside of school. I also teach how to use this information and knowledge appropriately. But I cannot and will not monitor every minute of their lives once I do this. That is part of growing up.
This student had the laptop taken away and suffered consequences. Once the parent began blaming the school for this student’s behavior, the student stopped being responsible for his own behavior. I feel parents that do this will have a bumpy road in the future. The student has now learned a new behavior - “Don’t blame me. It’s not my fault.”
What do you think? Please share.
Image: 'preemptive finger pointing poster'