Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Student Cheating- Parental Reactions – Part 3

In my last post I told of the parent who suggested I had a personality conflict with her son due to my insistence on a note explaining his absence on a test. About five days later, said student came to me with his books, telling me he was no longer in my class. How his departure from my class came about is a tale that epitomizes how administrators often act out of expedience rather than principle.

After being informed of the departure, I contacted the guidance head to determine what had happened. Apparently the lad had gone to her, insisting upon being removed from the class. She told him, after hearing the reason, (i.e., that he had simply skipped the class and had had no doctor’s appointment) to ’suck it up” and learn from the experience. She thus refused to authorize his dropping the course. However, the common sense and integrity present in the guidance department seemed to be sadly lacking in the principal’s office.

Apparently, following the guidance visit, the parents went to the principal, insisting that their son be allowed to drop the course. Thus the deed was done. The normal and ethical practice is to insist that the parents first speak to the teacher before any kind of administrative involvement. In this case, not only was that stage eliminated, but to compound matters, I was not even given the courtesy of being informed by the principal. Thus, in the several days that elapsed before the student came to me with the news that he had dropped the course, every day I would ask the students if they knew where ________ was, until one day one of them told me she thought that he had dropped the course. So they knew before I did, and presumably they knew how he had effected his departure.

In my next post I’ll explain why I think the process that had taken place was both an affront to me and an attack on my professionalism.

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