Recently, there have been more examples of what I can only call an inexplicable lack of common sense on the part of teachers and others at schools. I have blogged about this before when school officials in New York attempted to ban words that might upset some students.
A six-year-old boy, accused of being a bully, was deemed by his teacher to need remediation. A second teacher was consulted. She had the perfect solution--have all the other students in the class repeatedly punch him. Another teacher reported the incident. The child’s mother was not happy. Here is the response of a school official from TV station KENS. “Steve Linscomb, a spokesperson for the district, confirms that the teacher will not be hired again within the school district, but suggests the incident was a result of a lack of experience. ‘This teacher is a relatively young teacher and just needs to be re-educated and reminded what needs to happen in the classroom in order for it to be a safe learning environment,’ he told KENS." No, It’s not about experience or re-education. This teacher has no common sense.
A 17-year-old student was allowed to lose consciousness during an asthmatic attack while the school nurse looked on. Why? His mother had not signed a form authorizing use of an inhaler. It gets worse. The the story says the nurse not only failed to call an ambulance, she locked the door of the office with the boy inside. The school’s response? “Deltona High School and Verona County officials stand by the nurse's decision.” The kid would have been better off had he been in the street. Bystanders would have at least called 911.
At a school field day, two girls were sunburned to the extent that their mother took them to a hospital that evening. It was raining that morning and their mother did not apply sunscreen. When the sun came out later that day, the girls were not permitted to use sunscreen. Why not? According to a published report, “The school district's sunscreen policy, which forbids teachers from applying sunscreen to students, and only allows students to apply it to their own bodies if they have a doctor's note authorizing it, is based on a statewide law.” No one thought to take the children out of the sun or call their mother to come to apply sunscreen. Oh by the way, one of the girls has a type of albinism. Tell me please, how easy do you think it is to obtain a doctor’s note authorizing the application of sunscreen, a non-prescription substance?
In case you think that this is a uniquely American phenomenon, here’s a similar story from England. Pupils in a creative writing class were told to write a note to their mothers as if they had only a few hours to live. When he got home from school, one 14-year-old boy handed the essay to his mother who thought it was a suicide note and was understandably upset. The school apologized "for any distress."
What is going on here? A six-year-old is beaten up by his classmates at the direction of a teacher. What is the lesson for the “bully” and the other students? A nurse watches a child try to die from an asthma attack and does nothing. Two children are sunburned because a doctor’s note is required for the application of sunscreen. A suicide note as a creative writing exercise is understandably of great concern to a child's mother.
These teachers and administrators are supposed to be educating our young. And people ask me why one of my daughters has chosen to homeschool (or rather “unschool”) her two children.
Horace Greeley: “Common sense is uncommon.”
Skeptical Scalpel: “Common sense cannot be taught.”