Category Archives: Education

Law School Student Wants His Tuition Back

A third-year Boston College Law School student facing dismal job prospects and a mountain of student loan debt has offered the prestigious law school a unique deal:  keep the degree, and give him back his tuition!

Good gracious, here’s another example of the generation of young people who:

1.  Buy something they can’t afford (in this case, tuition), and then complain about the debt.

2. Expect that since they showed up, there should be a party (or at least the job of their dreams).

With the housing situation as it is (people buying homes they couldn’t afford), you’d think their kids would “get” it:  if you can’t pay, don’t dance.  Investing in your own future does not mean that the dividends will be easily gotten.

It’s not that there isn’t a need for legal experts, it’s just these young adults have the notion they should start at the top, instead of putting out a shingle and helping people as best they can while working up and perhaps looking toward being in a larger firm.  No, instead of that kind of thinking, the mentality today is:  “I put in three years of my life and took on huge loans….Now I AM ENTITLED to the brass ring.”

We’re not adequately teaching our children humility, patience and a work ethic.  Getting an education is a stepping stone, but it does not come with a GPS – we all have to meander a bit.  Pay dues. Get real life experience, struggle and sacrifice, and then – maybe – we’ll get exactly what we want.

Here’s another take:  a man goes up a mountain in Tibet to talk to the wisest man on the earth.  He reaches the summit, finds the old guy, and asks “Which way is success?”
The guru points in a direction.  The man, all excited, climbs down the mountain and rushes in that direction.  SPLAT!  He comes up against a wall.
 
He’s upset, but figures he made a mistake somehow and then goes back up the mountain to the guru and asks again:  “Which way is success?”
 
Again, the guru points off into the distance.  The man comes down the mountain and again attempts the journey.  SPLAT!  He is exhausted, starving, frustrated, and getting angry.

He goes back up the mountain and yells at the guru:  “I asked which way is success twice.  I followed your directions…twice!  I’m tired, hungry, frustrated, and very, very angry.  Now, old man, “WHICH WAY IS SUCCESS?”

This time, the guru spoke:  “It is that way – a little past SPLAT.”

Colleague Deserves Respect

A high school teacher called me because she was so agitated she didn’t know what to do to calm herself down.  She called me, because she was convinced in her own mind that I would not only agree with her, but give her a course of action to follow.

She’d been working at her current school for four years.  At a meeting of all the teachers, they were informed that the parking lot would no longer have reserved spaces for each instructor – from now on, it would be “first come, first served.”

A teacher with over twenty years seniority on the caller stood and said that this new rule was nonsense and he expected to have the “front and center” parking space he’d always had.  My caller was furious and thought the other teacher was arrogant.

This is an ugly trend in our society and in our schools:  the trend to rob people of respect for their accomplishments.  School systems have tried to do away with grades and eliminate honors for those students who excel, all in the name of “everyone is equal and no one’s feelings should be hurt.”

My caller resented that her co-worker would receive any benefits because of his outstanding, long service to the school.  Shame on her!

I told her that I would have immediately stood up to support him and all the other teachers with long tenure.  They should be treated with respect, regard, deference and support, including having the right to the parking space to which they had become accustomed.  The caller was shocked at my point of view.  She asked me if I thought it was arrogant of him to demand that space.  On the contrary, I told her, “it is arrogant of YOU to think you rate his parking space when you haven’t earned it!”

We are all equal in the sight of God; we are all equal in the sight of the law.  We are NOT all equal in our abilities, accomplishments, efforts, and/or experiences, and those differences should be admired and supported without any attempt to dilute their importance because of envy, laziness, unfortunate circumstances or any excuse to resent what others are or what they have.

We all benefit from holding each other up when it is earned.

Sexual Harassment and Assault in Middle School

Here’s a scenario:  some scummy high school boy pulls down your 13-year-old daughter’s sweatpants in front of other students at a middle school in New Jersey.  The combination of harassment and assault is reported to the school.  What happens?  The school superintendent asks you, the mother, what kind of underwear your daughter wears in order to determine what was revealed, as though the punishment should fit the size of her drawers instead of the crime itself.

You attend a school seminar on bullying where the principal does not discuss this assault.  You’ve had it with the school not taking the case seriously, so you follow him into the hall and curse him out.  You then calm down, apologize and go home.

What does the school choose to do?  Why, file a complaint against the mother for disorderly conduct!  Can you believe the gall of the guys who run this school and school district?  I guess “boys will be boys,” and if they assault a girl, well, it’s all in fun – but if the mother gets mad enough to read you out, well,  that’s unacceptable.

The name of the school is Hasbrouck Heights Middle School.

The superintendent with the lascivious question about the girl’s underwear is Joseph Luongo.

The principal is Edward Bocar.

This incident happened last year, but the judge who had the good sense to dismiss the charges a few weeks ago is Bergen County Judge Roy F. McGeady, the good guy in all of this.

By the way, mom is moving forward with a lawsuit against the school.

I believe the boy in question should be brought up on charges of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

I think the superintendent’s mother should smack her son silly.

The principal who can’t handle a genuinely and appropriately upset mother should be forced to take sensitivity classes.

The Underlying Cause of Bullying

Massachusetts’ new state law requires schools to institute an anti-bullying curriculum, investigate acts of bullying, and report the most serious cases to law enforcement officers.  The new law, passed in April, was in response to the suicide of a 15 year old girl who was bullied by a group of South Hadley, Massachusetts students.

We all remember bullying situations from our school years, but those were up close and personal, as opposed to being on the Internet, where public humiliation is the game, and anonymity is the cloak of protection for this disgusting behavior.  Cruelty gets protected by abusing the spirit of the First Amendment, as parents and the ACLU fight to protect the evildoers.

In a 1995 Canadian study, researchers used video cameras in a school playground and observed almost five bullying incident an hour!  Typically, other children stood by and watched, but did or said nothing to help.

Some psychologist-types are busy making up the expensive curriculum to sell to schools for programs to stop bullying.  I guess there’s always someone around who just wants to make a buck.

My take is that schools are afraid to discipline bullying children, because parents (who are negligent in their responsibilities to their children and society) will SUE instead of smacking their kid on the tush and putting him or her to bed without supper and grounding them until they’re ready for social security.

In my day, if you misbehaved at school, you were sent to the dreaded Vice Principal’s office.  Punishment would include a severe talking to, extra assignments, time after school, and/or a refusal to allow you to participate in school activities.  And guess what?  No parent ever complained about protecting their “baby.”  The kids would expect to get even more punishment at home.

Today?  Parents are not married…divorced…remarried…fighting with exes…shacking up with new honeys…involved in dual-career marriages…focused on porn, drugs, the Internet, shopping…whatever.
Intact families with two parents whose emphasis is family and children are getting more and more rare.  Kids see the constant squabbling on TV news, between their parents, in the neighborhood, on radio, on the Internet, where meanness reigns (does anyone post kind things any more?), and on and on.

Where, exactly, are children supposed to learn to be nice?
They don’t see nice at home, in the media, or in the world at large.
Where, then, are children supposed to learn to be nice?

Policing is the last resort in a society where there is no framework for teaching and reinforcing decent behavior.  Activist groups by nature are angry and divisive, and that trickles down to neighborhoods and schoolyards as children, fighting for attention and importance (because they’re not getting it at home), group up and torment other children without remorse and without fear of consequences.

Our children have become arrogant because they are largely on their own without parental leadership, guidance, and attention.

The adults have abandoned their responsibilities to the next generations because of their determination to sacrifice nothing and fulfill every desire in spite of their obligations.

I hear this every day on my radio program, and it makes me sad.

The epitome of bullying is the homegrown American terrorist group…which is growing.

Our country, just like our homes, is fragmented by anger.  The price is our children are modeling the book “Lord of the Flies.”

Single Parenthood By Choice

I often get fascinating letters and emails from listeners to my radio program. 

Dr. Laura:
Recently, I was invited to join a group in support of removing Father’s and Mother’s Day celebrations in public schools.  Upon looking further into this group, I found that the founder of this group was a single mom “by choice,” and was angry her child was being made to feel bad because the other children have daddies, and hers does not.  I wanted to send you the email I sent her:

I think you should seriously consider shutting down this group.  I find
it interesting  you “chose” single parenthood for your child, but are not punishing those who did not for YOUR decision.  The majority of children have a mother and father and those who don’t will have to learn to deal with disappointment and adapt.  You act as though she shouldn’t have to learn to deal with disappointment, but in order to become a productive adult, she will.  Sadly, this disappointment was thrust upon her by you.  Instead of sitting down with her like an adult and explaining why she doesn’t have a father and why you chose that life for you, you are placing the blame on the school system for making her feel bad and putting her in an uncomfortable situation.  You do realize Father’s Day isn’t the only time she’ll be reminded she has no father, right?  By making this subject taboo, you are making her feel further alienated and, in the same breath, telling her you made a decision for her that was wrong.  Make up your mind.  Either you did this by choice and are willing to deal with the consequences, or you are embarrassed by the situation you are in and you want to cover up your mistake so your daughter doesn’t have to know.  Grow up and take ownership of your choices.

S.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to read this.  I hope that you are taking stands whenever you see people deconstructing the family to permit themselves the freedom to do whatever the hell they want.

The woman referred to in this letter, like so many others, decided :  “I want a kid.”  “I want a kid” – not “Gee, I’d really like to be a Mom.  What’s in the best interest of a child?”  How about a mom and a dad, married, and no daycare?  No.  It was just what “I” want for this woman.  So with this group, she has tried to deconstruct the family in the public schools by saying there’s no Mother’s or Father’s Day – it’s all irrelevant – trying to cover up that she knows she did something wrong to her kid, by intentionally robbing her child of a father, for her own selfish needs.  And our society is giving all of that a pass:  “anything you want to call ‘family’ is a family.” 

It appears that it doesn’t matter what a kid needs.  It just matters what the adults want.

Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?

I have to admit I was highly amused at this letter from a teacher who has a creative use for me in detention.  School may be out, but maybe this will be an inspiration for other teachers when they return in the fall!

Hello Doc!  I am a middle school teacher in [the Southwest], and I stream your show and often listen before school, during lunch breaks and after school (it truly calms me down).  When I would give a kid after-school detention, I would always still have your show on, playing it just loud enough for them to hear, hoping they would learn something extra (but always fast-forwarding to the next call if it was a sexual or adult-type of question).

There were always repeat visitors to detention, and they would always moan and groan about having to listen to the show at the beginning, but as these kids started listening and enjoying the show, it was amazing how they would police each other into being quiet so that they could hear or not be distracted from listening to it!  Until one day….

A girl was being, let’s just say…an eighth-grader, and I warned her about her punishment of detention.  Her reply was “Good!  I wanted to know if that lady did what Dr. Laura told her to do and if it worked.”  I guess previously you had given a caller an assignment and they were supposed to call back.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  The student still got detention, but everybody that day was punished because I didn’t turn on your broadcast!  Thanks for the show!

Marc

Principal Says NO to Social Networks for Kids

I am very happy to tell you about my hero, Anthony Orsini, the principal at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  He recently sent the following email to all parents of children attending his school:

Dear BF Community:
When I arrived in Ridgewood, Facebook did not exist, YouTube did not exist, and MySpace was barely in existence.  Formspring (one of the newest Internet scourges, a site meant simply to post cruel things about people anonymously) wasn’t even in someone’s mind.

In 2010, social networking sites have now become commonplace, and technology use by students is beyond prevalent.

It is time for every single member of the BF community to take a stand!

There is absolutely no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!

Let me repeat that – there is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!  None.

5 of the last 8 parents who we have informed that their child was posting inappropriate things on Facebook said their child did not have an account.  Every single one of the students had an account.

3 students yesterday told a guidance counselor that their parents told them to close their accounts when the parents learned they had an account.  All three students told their parents it was closed.  All three students still had an account after telling their parents it was closed.

Most students are part of more than one social networking site.

Please do the following:  sit down with your child (and they are just children still) and tell them that they are not allowed to be a member of any social networking site.  Today!

Let them know that you will at some point every week be checking their text messages online!   You have the ability to do this through your cell phone provider.

Let them know that you will be installing Parental Control software so you can tell every place they have visited online, and everything they have instant messaged or written to a friend.  Don’t install it behind their back, but install it!

Over 90% of homework does not require the Internet, or even a computer.  Do not allow them to have a computer in their room.  There is no need.

Know that they can text others even if their phone doesn’t have texting capability, either through the computer or through their iPod Touch.

Have a central “docking system,” preferably in your bedroom, where all electronics in the home get charged each night, especially anything with a cell or with wi-fi capability (remember when you were in high school and you would sneak the phone into your bedroom at Midnight to talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend all night – now imagine what they can do with the technology in their rooms).

If your son or daughter is attacked through one of these sites or through texting, immediately go to the police!  Insist that they investigate every situation.  Also, contact the site and report the attack to the site – they have an obligation to suspend accounts, or they are liable for what is written.

We as a school can offer guidance and try to build up any student who has been injured by the social networking scourge, but please insist the authorities get involved.

For online gaming, do not allow them to have the interactive communication devices.  If they want to play Call of Duty online with someone from Seattle, fine.  They don’t need to talk to the person.

The threat to your son or daughter from online adult predators is insignificant compared to the damage that children at this age constantly and repeatedly do to one another through social networking sites or through text and picture messaging.

It is not hyperbole for me to write that the pain caused by social networking sites is beyond significant.  It is psychologically detrimental and we will find out it will have significant long-term effects, as well as all the horrible social effects it already creates.

I will be more than happy to take the blame off you as a parent if it is too difficult to have the students close their accounts, but it is time they all get closed and the texts always get checked.

I want to be clear – this email is not anti-technology, and we will continue to teach responsible technology practices to students.  They are simply not psychologically ready for the damage that one mean person online can cause, and I don’t want any of our students to go through the unnecessary pain that too many of them have already experienced.

Some people advocate that the parents and the school should teach responsible social networking to students because these sites are part of the world in which we live.

I disagree.  It is not worth the risk to your child to allow them the independence at this age to manage these sites on their own, not because they are not good kids or responsible, but because you cannot control the poor actions of anonymous others.

Learn as a family about cyber safety together at www.wiredsafety.org for your own knowledge.  It is a great site.  But then do everything I asked in this email – because there really is no reason a child needs to have one of these accounts.

Please take action in your own home today.

Sincerely,

Anthony Orsini
Principal, BFMS

Now Principal Orsini is MY kind of principal, and my kind of leader in the community.  This should go nationwide. 

The sites have become a tool for children to do psychological harm to each other; it has become a menace to children.  Much of what guidance counselors have to deal with these days regards social networking issues.  It is time for you parents to ACT.