At first I had to laugh – a charter school with the word leadership in the name and a class full of senior students (approximately 30-100 involved) who apparently define leadership as making their mark by staging a food fight which is now ‘campus history’.
Some pranksters said whatever the punishment, it was worth it because it left a mark. The fight has already become part of the school’s history.
I could not laugh when I began to read about the parents……I actually want to cry. The parents of said students don’t even understand why they send their children to a charter school, much less one which is about leadership if they believe rewarding this type of behavior is appropriate. What kind of parent states that since their child bought their prom dress, etc., they should not have to miss prom. Logic, with a capitol L is certainly missing. Of course the students should not go to prom – in fact, a reasonable parent would state the student can (1) get a summer job to pay back the parents for the cost of the dress or (2) do work at home commensurate with the cost of the dress AND (3) do work at school or in the community to pay for the damage, hospital, and lost food expenses.
If the administration at Leadership backs down, they have set the bar they will always back down based on parental pressure RATHER THAN PARENTS SUPPORTING THEM IN WHAT THEY DO AS LEADERS OF THE SCHOOL. Bad choices are a part of growing up – paying the consequences literally and figuratively are what help us mature and think twice in the future. If parents can not pass on the actual mark of what leadership looks like – taking responsibility, we are in dire straits. These self same parents and students who will be able to vote in our upcoming presidential election do not understand character is inherent in being a leader.
This is but one example of what goes wrong with charter schools who may feel the need to bend/comply with the parents in order to have a school full of students. It is the prime example of what happens when parents believe a charter school is ‘better’ and yet nothing is different if they allow children to behave in a manner which is not different.
I hope Leadership can set the bar high and lose students, if necessary, to prove they mean what they say and say what they mean…..anything else would mean taking the L out of Leadership to use it for Losers. If the parents can not get behind the administration, may I suggest they start sending their students to a regular school with different (and apparently) lower standards. Choice is exactly that – you have the choice to be a leader or a loser – it is quite difficult to be both.
As for leaving a mark on history, may I suggest that parents and students spend some time this summer reading about Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Ghandi, Mother Theresa and President Obama among the many people who have LEFT A MARK ON HISTORY worthy of mentioning.
Added on 17 May 2011
And, on a more sobering note of contrasts, students who would have been in school, except they are too sick, are having a prom at UCSF.