My co-workers never cease to amaze me. Unfortunately, it is not a, “Wow! That was AMAZING!” all smiles kind of amazing, it’s a “Wait…did they really just say/do that?” *Facepalm* kind of amazing. It’s frustrating sometimes.
Earlier this morning I overheard the following statement: “It’s really ridiculous for anyone to expect parents to give their kids cell phones. I think everyone knows that kids need a cell phone. What if something happens at school and they need to reach their parents, especially if it’s an emergency? If our schools were really concerned about the safety of our children, and they should be, schools should be required to supply all students with a cell phone. It really is the school’s responsibility.”
Did you catch that? I’ll give you a minute to re-read it. Go ahead. One more time.
Let me identify the parts that really jumped out at me.
“It’s really ridiculous for anyone to expect parents to give their kids cell phones. I think everyone knows that kids need a cell phone. What if something happens at school and they need to reach their parents, especially if it’s an emergency? If our schools were really concerned about the safety of our children, and they should be, schools should be required to supply all students with a cell phone. It really is the school’s responsibility.”
Seriously? Apparently it is the opinion of this fine woman that schools hold the responsibility of supplying every child with a cell phone. I guess I can see that, what with all of the extra funding and surplus of money that our school systems have (that is sarcasm by the way). Our school systems are already struggling. They have underpaid teachers, poor resources, and out of date technology. They have overcrowded classrooms, too little quality support, and nearly impossible standards. A single classroom may contain 30 children (20 boys, 10 girls, 6 who speak English as a Second Language, and 4 with a learning disability. Many of these children will come from broken families and divorced parents, a few of these children will have abusive families at home (physical or emotional) and a few will come from poor economic conditions which means that they cannot afford clothes, shoes, school supplies or lunch. This classroom will have one teacher, one teacher’s aide (if they are lucky!) and 2 computers (at most) and a cabinet of extra school supplies that a woefully underpaid teacher has purchased her/himself because they care about and love their students. The schools have so little money that they restrict the number of photocopies a teacher can make during the school year so those copies of worksheets and questions that are given out to the students must be continually reused. Students must write on their own notebook paper (you know…that paper that some families can’t afford and teachers buy out of their own pocket?)
Our school systems are already depressed, inadequate, poorly funded and lack public support. Our teachers and administrators aren’t respected or supported nearly like they should be. They arrive at school while you are still getting your child ready to leave the house, they stay after school to coach sports, teach arts, music, dance, or theatre, they prepare the yearbooks, lead committees, and encourage other extracurricular activities. They monitor after-school programs on campus and then go home to grade papers, homework, and tests during time that most people would spend with their own families.
Yet, none of this matters to my co-worker. Her only concern is that the school system, which doesn’t pay teachers what they deserve and is unable to fund the supplies and necessities for the classroom, somehow find a way to provide every single student a cell phone. After all, kids need a cell phone and it’s definitely not the parent’s responsibility.