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Are We Just Too Darned Obsessed With Rules?

I fear we might be heading into a grave age: The Death of Common Sense. Perhaps I've suspected for a while that we're living in too-touchy times, where a sensible or proportional response is lost without bells, whistles, and six or seven exclamation points, but I think it's entirely possible that we've begun deferring personal judgment and common sense in favor of an arsenal of black and white all-or-nothing rules.

See what you think. In this month alone:

  • Robyn Hooker, principal of Kent Gardens Elementary School in Virginia, has ruled that students can no longer play tag during recess. Hooker determined that the game of chasing, dodging and yelling "You're it!" had gotten out of hand, and had in fact become a game of "of intense aggression," much more intense than the tag she remembers. One parent said of the ruling, "We are regulating the fun out of normal childhood activity. In our effort to be so overprotective, we are not letting children be children."
  • At Cove High School in Texas (a school where half the students have at least one parent deployed) suspended a student for answering a call from his father — who is serving in and calling from Iraq — saying the student had violated the school's no-cell-phone policy.
  • In Colorado, an eight-year-old received a three-day suspension for sniffing a Sharpie marker. The principal says that she didn't want to see the event escalate and assumed the boy was "huffing" or inhaling dangerous fumes from the marker.

Are these instances where rules were necessary and rightfully enforced? Are we walking the balance between discipline and discretion?


Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
i agree with undave on the topic at hand... education is something that I feel so strongly about and sometimes I get so passionate that it's hard for me to express my viewpoints clearly so I tend not to say too much in these types of situations. As far as getting things stuck in them lol... by the time I was 5 I had swallowed 3 marbles and 2 pennies, and I can't even count how many times my brother saved my life by getting the candy that was stuck in my throat out (proof he really DID love me, despite what he told everyone lol). My nephew, got a coffee bean stuck up his nose... so far in fact that it had to be removed surgically - we tease him about it (he's 19 now he was 2 when it happened), we call it his "beanectomy".
KathleenxCouture KathleenxCouture 9 years
:rotfl: Cine "My teachers were funny when I was a kid. There was one teacher that used to throw erasers at us when we were misbehaving. He would get them all chalked up and skim our heads so we would have skunk hair. He did it to me once and I came home and told my mother. She asked what I did to deserve it, I told her, and she said " well then you deserved it didn't you?"" You aren't by chance talking about my dad are you? He used to do this to his class back in the day when they misbehaved, granted it was a very poor public school on the wrong side of town and most of the kids were extreme trouble makers but still haha.
spazzydana spazzydana 9 years
well these things really aren't that bad. I can see why the principal would ban tag, since she mentioned that kids were being tackled, getting hurt, and the only reason WE are actually hearing about it is single minded parents. As for the cell phone situation. At my school, its no cell phones, no exceptions. honestly i do feel bad for him that his dad isn't around, but does he thinks its an excuse to bust out his cell phone in the middle of class? That was fair. and same goes for sharpie boy. He repeatedly sniffed the sharpie fumes, not just once. I still remember! eight year olds know what sniffing a sharpie means! and he was only suspended for one day, so honestly, whats unfair about that?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Oh o.k. cine I thought you had jungle fever.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Greetings to my OCD buddies, here! Cabaker, I completely understand about marking the spot for each marker. I have a thing about putting mine away in rainbow order. About cellphones in school: I'm all for it. My kids both know they have to be turned off in class. However, if there's a problem as school, like a lockdown or bomb alert, they call me. If a bus is late, I know about it. (Tho DS has a habit of calling me, then turning the phone off again so I can't call him back. Hmmmm, I wonder if he does it on purpose....)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
yes, yes, quite horrible. anyway it's a lesson in the dangers of eating and laughing at the same time.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Oh Kris that is just horrible sounding!
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
hypnotic, I'm glad they got that bean out. i never got anything stuck in me, but my mom did. ONce, she was eating cookie dough, inhaled, and a chocolate chip went backwards up her nasal cavity? (i guess) and lodged in her nose. she had to wait for it to melt, which i can imagine was miserable! This was in adulthood, by the way.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
:rotfl: Black marker that is :innocent:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
The smell of black makes your mouth water cine_lover. LOL!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I once got a pinto bean stuck in my ear. Dr. had to use needle like tweezers to get it out.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I was the only one that liked the smell of Black. Makes my mouth water just thinking of that smell :drool:
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Wow Cabaker. Did you not mix your Play-doh? I hated when my play-doh got mixed!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Yes! Mr. Sketch are the scented markers. I even liked the brown, and I never liked to color with brown when I was younger. I did not like the black, though. Black licorice smell...gross. The red was probably my favorite. Such a strong, wonderful cherry smell!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Is it Mr.Sketch that has the brand of markers that smell?? Those are the BEST ever!! I used each color to mark which spot it had in the styrofoam container to the order on the cover... and I simply could NOT put them away in the wrong order... ... maybe thats TMI... I OCD just a bit.... I gotta go check the stove now...
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Your kids eat markers? I have been known to try a crayon and some clay, but never a marker. Do they just draw on their tongue? I am intrigued. :ponder:
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
And as a bonus by doing that, my kids would quit eating them...
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Also, if people are that against kids sniffing markers maybe they should start a campaign to make them odorless instead of smelling like cherries.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Matdrelda - I agree that school is a place where kids are supposed to get an education. But when the rules get in the way of the students' development, there's a problem. Teachers and school administrators need to be given the freedom to handle problems at school without fear of retribution if the parent doesn't agree with the teacher. Yes, I know that there also needs to be a system of checks and balances so that the teacher isn't abusive.
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
Sharpie sniffing - my local Wal-Mart carded me when I was 13 and buying school supplies because I had a sharpie & two bottles of white out. I had to have my mother buy them for me because students in the local schools were huffing them en-masse. What my mother *didn't* know was that I was one of those students. I can honestly say that I think that rule is one that should be enforced. While maybe not as harmful as say, oh, teenage drinking, it's still not something that helps kids out, and I speak with firsthand knowledge. Cell Phones in school - Personally, I don't think kids should have cell phones in school. I think it's ridiculous. I come from the generation of kids that were the first to start toting their phones to school, and I still think it's absurd. We're there to learn, not socialize. There are plenty of ways for parents to get a hold of their children. They can leave a message with the secretary for the student to call them back, whatever. Even in my podunk, conservative-as-all-hell school where they hated my gutts, I still could get a hold of my parents just fine. Iraq or no Iraq, kids need to be focusing on their education, not their phone. His father should have called her at home or emailed him. Tag? I'd like to know all the facts, but from my experience in school, I can understand why. I've seen a kid get a broken nose playing tag, one fracture his leg, and another get her head busted open. Yes, it gets dangerous, and sometimes, you have to do what you have to do. All in all though, it's SCHOOL. School is a miniature prison, basically. They put children in there to keep them out of trouble while their parents are at work and to get an education so that they can be productive citizens some day. They can play tag at home, they don't need to have cell phones, and they certainly don't need to be huffing sharpies. I'm sorry, but this isn't a matter of being too darned obsessed with rules, this is a matter of focusing on what is important in our schools. Considering the lack of education amongst American youth, I would think that this would be a good thing.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
The marker thing makes me think of the Mr. Sketch scented markers. Those things were great!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
And Hypno I agree, discipline without explanation is completely pointless.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I hate the "tone". It is worse then yelling sometimes!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
In response to Principle Hookers decision to ban tag on school grounds. I obviously was not there but I do understand how sometimes a pack mentality can get carried away in the minds of children, but that is why the teachers and principles are there. To act as mentors and guides in how to properly treat one another with respect but also have fun. As for the cell phone incident. I'm presuming that cell phones are baned from even being on campus. The question I would ask is the kid a problem cell ph. user on campus aside from the one call from the father. It has been my experience as a student and as an athletics instructor at a high school for eight years that if the child and parent had communicated to the administration look his dad is in Iraq and we would like his father to be able to reach him if he needs to. I'm almost certain that the school would have made special accommodations. For instance they probably would have said well during school hours please have the father call the schools main number and the child will be immediately paged and brought to the phone. As for the marker incident I would had the the child do a report the dangers of inhalants certain chemicals not send him/her home for three days so they can get high. The opportunity was there to educate and they failed to do so. The choice to discipline is often an easy task, but the choice to direct, to educate is where many of us are at a lose. To simply discipline a child with out any instructive guidance is pointless.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Well I'm obviously obsessed with sugar because I'm back. I need therapy I guess. Anyway, Cab, our school here is like that! My daughter goes to a k-8 school. I think her class is the largest it's ever been with 25 kids. I don't know how many are in the school but our town pop is something like 400. She has to go to the next town for HS because there isn't one here. OH yeah, I was going to say about my whole "I hate private schools" thing. I don't. I totally think that just because there is something really bad in one thing it doesn't mean they are all like that. On the defense of the school anyway, I wasn't an angel. I was sent there because I was flunking. I wasn't doing my homework and I was ditching school. I was running around with the wrong crowd. My poor mother had NO control over me. It's just someone mentioned, you have to interview the school etc. I agree with that. Dave, you are a teacher. You make really good points all the time.
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