From Texting in Class to the Student Strip-Searched for ADVIL: Are Schools Losing Their Sense of Boundaries?

Posted April 24, 2009 by

Is it just me, or does it seem like schools have lost their perspective when it comes to authority?

Did we all hear the story about the Wyoming middle-schooler who surprised her dad with a $4,000-plus bill due to her text messaging? The dad didn’t even think his cell plan offered texting…He smashed her phone to bits! I’d don’t know if I’d have done that…rather the wrong role model for how to deal with anger or solve problems…but I could imagine a pretty strong reaction.

What I didn’t see was much attention to this question:

Didn’t the teachers notice what she was doing in class? Because the bulk of her texts — thousands of them! — were sent during class time.

I insist on being one of my son’s Facebook “friends” and it’s interesting to see how many of the students at his high school post on Facebook all day long from their mobile devices. Even the children of school employees! My son can’t because I keep his phone during the school day after it rang in class once.

Why aren’t schools more aware of what kids are doing in the classrooms? Surely teachers can tell that kids are texting in class?

And on the other end of the spectrum, this week we had a Supreme Court case over an eighth-grade honor student who was strip-searched for ADVIL.

Are schools just overstepping their bounds? Trying to do what they can’t do (and maybe have no business doing) and forgetting what it is that they’re supposed to do? And just how far do we, as parents and taxpayers, have to go to be seen as “supportive” of schools and teachers, even when we disagree with their lack of oversight — or abuse of power?

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