“Do we really want to encourage cases,” Professor Arum asked, “where students and parents are seeking monetary damages against educators in such school-specific matters where reasonable people can disagree about what is appropriate under the circumstances?”Well, yes.
Thrilling though it may be for junior high secretaries and vice principles to consider themselves deputized as some manner of vice squad, doesn't it seem odd that a society so enthralled to the notion that its educators cum educators are abject failures--iz are children learning? and all that--is so blithely willing to concede that schools should be set up as moderated panopticons run by the very same incompetents?
In the particular instance in the linked article, the poor girl was accused without evidence by a fellow student of carrying the equivalent of a couple of asprin. A threat, indeed, to the "health and welfare" of her fellow students. Why, had she been carrying, she might have inadvertently ameliorated menstrual cramping or a twisted ankle at recess. The school's default reaction was not to simply ask the girl if she had the medicine, operating on the assumption that reasonably intelligent adults who work with young adolescents every day ought to be able to ferret out untruths through verbal questioning, but to treat her like a vicious criminal or, worse, an airline passenger.
Or, you know, they could've just called her mother. Increasingly, I've noticed that public schools, supposedly empowered to act in loco parentis, view actual parents with a mixture of dread and animosity, and seek through intimidation and subterfuge to prevent parents from being active partners in the upbringing of their children; rather than deferring to mom and dad, or mom, or dad, or aunty, or uncle, or grandmother, or legal guardian, they seem to believe that these evil family influences are kinds of co-conspirators.
I once found myself on the receiving end of the threat of a more . . . intrusive search back in my student days, and the offending administrator found himself on the receiving end of the implication that I might make certain implications about male administrators with undue interest in teenage male students in states of undress. But I was brazen, protected by my family's influence and station in our community, and older than thirteen. Also had half a joint on my, so there was that.
The school district does not contest that Ms. Redding had no disciplinary record, but says that is irrelevant.And isn't this the case with all of us. Innocent only because we have so far avoided arrest.
“Her assertion should not be misread to infer that she never broke school rules,” the district said of Ms. Redding in a brief, “only that she was never caught.”