Life of a Teacher Today in America - The Missourian: Columns

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Life of a Teacher Today in America

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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:36 pm

It made the national and maybe even the international news. It doesn’t happen every day, but it tells us something about life in America today.

The Kansas City Star had a front page story on what happened in an elementary school in the Hickman Mills School District. It could have happened in almost any school district.

A mother was cited after she allegedly assaulted a teacher. The mother was upset because her son in kindergarten came home from school with a scratch on his neck. The boy said he got the scratch when the teacher disciplined him. Police reports said the mother pulled the teacher out of her chair by the hair, repeatedly punched her in the face and slammed her head against a file cabinet. That was last Thursday.

On Friday, a school district official said when the boy’s father took the child to school, he told administrators and police that the teacher had not hurt him.

As all parents know, little children can tell stories.

As people also know, there are parents who are overly protective of their children, and belong in the “my children can do no wrong” class. And, as any parent can attest, not every teacher is perfect, but who is?

It’s common knowledge also that there are some parents who set a poor example for their children.

We don’t know if the boy involved in this case is a discipline problem. We do know that teachers have a more difficult time in handing out discipline these days. They are very limited in what they can do in administering discipline. If they aren’t careful, they and their school district can end up in court. Dealing with some parents always has been a problem for many teachers. Parents can be unreasonable!

Gone is the era when parents supported teachers in dishing out discipline. Missing is the day when a parent took his child to school and told the teacher that if their child misbehaved, “you have my permission to spank” little Johnny or Mary. Yes, we know those words once were said!

Of course, there have been instances when a teacher may have gone too far in discipline matters. Those of us from a different era remember the physical discipline that was common, especially in private schools. There are many of us around who remember a slap on the face from a nun who had to be tough because the classes were large and boys did misbehave. We never felt the flat end of a paddle at school, but we know a few adults when in school who know all about that sting. The physical discipline of that era worked. Today’s parents of young children wouldn’t agree with that statement.

Now it’s time out!

What that mother in the Kansas City area allegedly did was an extreme case of a parent out of control. To defend her in court would be interesting.

A fact of life in America today is that we live in a more violent environment. We seem to have a larger number of angry people today. Anybody who deals with the public on a regular basis is aware of that condition.

We have children when they enter school are products of homes in which there is little or no discipline. Teachers recognize that rather quickly. There are children who are disruptive and in public schools they have to be treated with extreme caution in dealing out discipline.

That’s the way it is in America today!

/opinion/columns