Originally Posted by LynnS6
That sounds like a scene from a movie!
I can totally see a kid doing that and not realizing it. Yes, he caused major damage. Yes, he probably should have thought ahead. But he's a teenager. They aren't renowned for their ability to think ahead! I don't think it's that big of a deal. He owned up to it (a very mature and responsible thing!), feels bad and is willing to make restitution. I agree that suspension is probably over the top, but I wouldn't argue too hard with the school. Schools get a lot of parents who try to rescue their kids from things they've done wrong. "Oh no, little (6'4") Johnny did really mean to body slam that freshman into the locker, he doesn't deserve detention..." So, they tend to be relatively inflexible about that sort of thing.
Yeah. I got that at the meeting. DH drew up an agenda (because the Principal is a control freak, and that was very obvious very early), and it included points about what was best for ds1, and the best interests of the school. But, almost the first words out of her mouth made it clear that she was assuming that our only concern was ds1, and we felt the school could go hang. Soooo not true.
Actually, something else occurred to me a little while ago. I was trying to figure out why the authorities in these situations seem to have so much trouble figuring out that just piling artificial consequences onto a kid backfires as often as it does. And, I think some of it ties into the whole forced apology thing. DS1 was expected to approach the Vice-Principal (who was along on the field trip yesterday) with an apology and explanation for his actions. And...I don't get it. Expecting an apology accomplishes what, exactly? If he's sorry, he'll apologize on his own. If he's not sorry, it won't mean anything if he does. But, this is an expectation, so lots of kids go through a meaningless, pro forma, apology, because it's expected. What that means is that when ds1 says, "I'm sorry - I screwed up", the staff doesn't realize that he means that. They probably assume that dh and I told him to say it, and he's doing what he's told. So, how are they supposed to realize that they're working on switching him from truly repentant to feeling picked on (he hasn't said this, but I know him, and it's probably happening), when they don't know that's he's truly repentant in the first place? To them, this is all the standard dance of offense-apology-restitution-stick/carrot-behaviour improvement (if any).
I have to say that when I have a kid who was talking to us for 10-15 minutes about what he did, and what the damage was, and how to fix it, etc. before he even told us that he'd hurt himself, it's kind of frustrating to watch this whole routine go down. We went in there with the position that he should pay for the damages, out of his own pocket, and do extra school service (he's a member of the Interact Club, so he already does a lot of service stuff), so it's not like we were saying, "let him off the hook"...
I guess I'd help him do what he needs to do, and then let the school deal with their end.
It's not like we have much choice. I'll be so glad to have this whole school thing over with. When I was a teenager (and a juvenile delinquent, at that), I thought on some levels that I'd understand them better when I was an adult. I understand some things better, but a lot of it still makes no sense to me, and I disagree with about 90% of what I understand better. Schools are effed up on so many levels.