Middle school (a.k.a. Is this typical?) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My eldest will be graduating from middle school this year and has managed to stay out of any of the issues one may encounter socially in middle school.  However, some of the things she is telling me that are going on at her school as of late are alarming to me.  She is changing districts next year for high school where I hope she won't run into these issues as much, but I am wondering from those of you who have middle or high schoolers how typical these types of issues are.  FWIW, we live in a suburban area and her middle school is probably the best one in the district she's currently enrolled in.

 

So, in the past month I've heard that a 7th grade girl brought prescription drugs to school and met up with friends in the bathroom where they all ODed and had to be taken to the hospital to have their stomaches pumped, that a different 7th grade girl is pregnant, and that dd and her friend are getting off the bus earlier at a different stop to get off sooner b/c kids are carrying "shanks" (some kind of homemade knife is how dd describes it).  She doesn't seem to feel threatened just that she doesn't want to be around these kids and their weapons.  The bus has both her middle school and the kids from the high school she would be slated to attend had we not choiced her elsewhere.

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#2 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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honestly, yes, sounds pretty normal to me. this coming from someone who went to one of the best public schools in the country, with a public-school gifted program.

middle school certainly shouldn't be like this, but, unfortunately, it is

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#3 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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My kids were in a public middle school last year and a private one this year.

 

Those things were not typical of either experience.

 

My kids did not, as a general rule, ride the bus. They said it was really out of control, but they talked more about the noise, swearing, joking about sex, etc rather than weapons. I drove them back and forth.

 

If there were weapons brought to school, the child would be suspended or expelled. Does she know for sure there were weapons, or could it have been just talk?

 

No one got pregnant at either school in middle school. There had been a pregnant student at the public school about 5 years earlier, it was a really big deal.

 

My kids were not exposed to drugs at public school. It may have been going on, but not in their circle, with their friends, or in such a way that they knew about it.


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#4 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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One thing that may ease your mind is that middle schoolers are a dramatic bunch. I have no doubt that your daughter 100% believes what she is telling you is the objective truth, but rumours run rampant among that age group. From my own middle school years, I recall a story about the principal pulling a knife on a student, who only escaped injury by, Hollywood style, defending himself with a broken beer bottle that he smashed against a fence. There was a scar on his face as evidence, should there be any doubters. Every time a police cruiser was parked out front (like, say for example, to do speed checks) they were clearly there to ransack lockers and do a big drug bust. There was another story about some kid slashing a teacher's tires in retribution for a bad grade. Another teacher was widely acknowledged to be an alcoholic who drank all throughout the school day. I completely believed these stories at the time. In retrospect, um, not so much. There may have been small, small grains of truth, but that was about it.

 

That's not to say there's nothing going on in the schools, but unless you know these things for absolute fact, there are other things to worry about. Really, all we can do is raise our children to make good choices and hope that they do. 

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#5 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually heard directly from a school employee confirmation of the pregnant kid and dd tells me that the boy with the knife object was holding it in view and showed it to them.  I only know of the drug issue directly from dd so I suppose that could be rumor.

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#6 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 06:08 PM
 
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Not normal here. I know there was some issues about 10 years ago but they got new leadership and that all turned around. DD finished middle school last year. It certainly was "coarser" than elementary but not the kind of stuff you mentioned. She's in highschool now. I'm not niave enough to think nothing unsavory is going on but DD travels in a good circle of kids who buffer eachother from anything they aren't comfortable with.


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#7 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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I am in what is considered a wealthier area with exemplary schools, yet, this sort of thing is common. At the high school, which is received an award from the state a couple years ago for being top in the state in its catagory, regularly has kids doing drugs in the classrooms. Even in the middle school, sex in the bathrooms is common. Yet, people fall all over themselves to move in to this district.

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#8 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd, too, runs with a "good" crowd of kids and wouldn't get involved in things like this.  I am just wondering if things are going downhill fast at her middle school or what!

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#9 of 22 Old 05-06-2011, 08:47 PM
 
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My guys go to a very good school, both in Middle and High School.  But yes, middle school pregnancy and drugs happen in both MS and HS.  It doesn't happen in my kids circle but a couple kids on my sons hockey team have not only been introuble with drugs but with the law.  Even in the best schools it happens.

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#10 of 22 Old 05-07-2011, 06:41 PM
 
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My DDs middle school had drug busts for even the sixth graders. There was one year on 4/20 that kids were doing lines of coke off their school ids in class. Sad yes, but it does happen. Two years ago there was a pregnant seventh grader. There were never any gun/knives issues in middle school but about a month ago a fifteen year old stabbed someone across the street from the school. That being said we live in a nice area, but one of the areas a little farther out has small pockets of gang members. No matter what school your DD goes to there is always going to be some kind of issues, maybe not as extreme as the ones she has now (or the ones my DDs have had) but no middle school or high school is completely drug/bully/gang/etc free.


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#11 of 22 Old 05-07-2011, 09:00 PM
 
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While I wouldn't say that it's commonplace or widespread, I do know of incidences of violence, drugs, sex & pregnancy in our local middle schools. I don't feel that is a reason to keep dd out though.
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#12 of 22 Old 05-08-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koby58 View Post No matter what school your DD goes to there is always going to be some kind of issues, maybe not as extreme as the ones she has now (or the ones my DDs have had) but no middle school or high school is completely drug/bully/gang/etc free.


I think that a big part of the equation is how the school deals with it.

 

My kids current school experience is nearly perfect, so much so that I don't talk about it too much because I think it just sounds like bragging! But there was an incident of bullying at her school this year. The staff had a meeting with the girls involved, and then with the parents. One girl was suspended for a week with the understanding that if her behavior continued when she returned, she would be expelled. It was taken VERY seriously. The school has a zero tolerance policy for bullying, which doesn't mean that bullying never happens, it means that when it does, it is stopped.

 

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 22 Old 05-08-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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My kids just finished middle school and what you describe was not normal here. Swearing, some sexualized behavior but no knives or even any fights. I was in the school quite a bit because I like to volunteer.
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#14 of 22 Old 05-08-2011, 03:51 PM
 
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My dd saw a largish size knife displayed on her bus.  A high school student had it (ms and hs share a bus).  While the kids seem relatively unaffected, it was taken very, very seriously by the administration.  My kids don't routinely take the bus, so they aren't exposed to much in that regard.

 

In my kid's former crunchy private school there is a significant amount of sexualized behavior at the ms level.  It hasn't been handled well, and the small class size seems to exacerbate the situation.

 

I guess you run into all sorts of things, no matter where your kids are in school.  I feel very fortunate that my ms aged dd seems to be making solid choices in terms of her friends/peer group. Most of her friends are really good students, and are involved, like she is, in extracurricular activities and sports. It makes all the difference at this point.

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#15 of 22 Old 05-17-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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Sounds pretty typical to me. My daughter is finishing her second year at a magnet middle school, which is "mainstreamed" with non-magnet students with whom she has classes like Orchestra and P.E., and rides the bus with. Supposedly last year there was an 8th grade boy with a year old child, and another 8th grade girl getting pregnant this year, but that wasn't as scary as the two friends of hers who went missing, luckily both were runaways and found safe. Besides that, I know that she broke up with her boyfriend of 8 months because he was smoking pot frequently, as apparently "all the boys do" at her school... I might add that we have shared our beliefs that pot being illegal is stupid, alcohol is way more dangerous, and that most adults she knows have smoked pot, so she's not particularly sheltered in that area. There are tales of some girls playing headgames with boys, and 5 of her (female) friends have dated the same girl who may or may not be transgendered, which I am glad they are so accepting of at her school... the super flamboyant gay kid in her theater class was also probably the most popular boy at her school this year. When I was her age, middle school was a scary place to be if you were different or perceived as such, which I was, so I think kids are definitely better off now in some ways, threats of shanking aside. At least, most of the time in middle school, it's only threats.


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#16 of 22 Old 05-17-2011, 08:18 PM
 
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No no no, not typical.

If some kids, especially that young, OD'd in your child's school bathroom, you would know, every parent with a child there would know. If you're in a middle-class suburban area, this isn't typical at all. Well, the rumors are, of course.

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#17 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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I teach in an excellent public high school is an upper middle class suburban area. I promise we have those type of things going on that are NOT well known by the parents. The middle school also has these issues; again, they are not publicized. Some school districts have excellent PR departments and nothing is reported unless the school wants it to be. Just because it's not in the news doesn't mean it's not happening. And schools are not going to volunteer the info if it hurts their reputation. Maybe all those girls didn't OD, but I would 100% believe that someone brought Rx drugs and shared them in the bathroom- maybe someone even had a reaction to it.

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#18 of 22 Old 05-22-2011, 07:58 AM
 
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Yes, especially in larger urban areas.  Perhaps not so much in rural areas or small towns.

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#19 of 22 Old 05-24-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mar123 View Post

I teach in an excellent public high school is an upper middle class suburban area. I promise we have those type of things going on that are NOT well known by the parents. The middle school also has these issues; again, they are not publicized. Some school districts have excellent PR departments and nothing is reported unless the school wants it to be. Just because it's not in the news doesn't mean it's not happening. And schools are not going to volunteer the info if it hurts their reputation. Maybe all those girls didn't OD, but I would 100% believe that someone brought Rx drugs and shared them in the bathroom- maybe someone even had a reaction to it.



Isn't the school under some sort of obligation to keep the parents informed?  I know our school informs us of all (at least all that *I'm* aware of) incidents.  Even simple things like a parent backing up a car in the drop off line almost hitting a child would warrant an email home with the situation, how it was handled, what the kids were told/saw, etc and how to get support for our kid if needed.  And this isn't a podunk little town but a afluent suburb of a major city.  We are informed asap and given updates on things like shell casings found at school, school busses with kids witnessing a car accident, losses of electricity at school, even about trumatic events that occur in the town but out of school (fallen soliders, major fires, etc)  We did have a fluke killing in our high school several years ago (mentally ill child from out of district killed a kid he didn't know before school hours in the high school) so perhaps they go overboard. 

 

A pregnancy isn't anybodies business but kids oding (or even caught with substantial amounts of illicit drugs) on school property I would expect an email with details.   I mean, that sort of thing is open record from the police reports.

 


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#20 of 22 Old 05-24-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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These sound like extreme (and rumorized) examples of events that happen.  At the parochial school my children attended there was a definite party crowd, and in addition to alcohol they did experiment with ADD medications.  A pregnancy would not have been outside the realm of possibility, and some of the Boy Scouts did take their knives to school (they were confiscated and their parents were called).  In the fall of their freshman year of high school some kids were suspended for drinking at a party before school and showing up drunk.  These things happened in a parochial school, in an upper-middle class area, but it must be said that it was a small group of children with parents who tended to look the other way.  It was not typical.

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#21 of 22 Old 05-24-2011, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mumm View Post


Isn't the school under some sort of obligation to keep the parents informed? ...

 

 

A pregnancy isn't anybodies business but kids oding (or even caught with substantial amounts of illicit drugs) on school property I would expect an email with details.   I mean, that sort of thing is open record from the police reports.

 


I'm actually not sure that the schools are required or motivated to inform parents of issues of this sort that might reflect badly on the school.  Our local area has had a couple of high profile instances of teachers or other school employees caught having sex with high school students in the past few years.  The last incident prompted a state wide (I think it was state wide) change in policy requiring schools to notify parents when there was an allegation of sexual abuse by a school district employee.  After that policy change, it came to light that there had been a few other instances in the past few years locally of 1) a teacher and a student caught naked together, 2) a school district employee accused of sexual assault on a student and he had a prior record from another state of this sort that hadn't been caught when he was hired. 

 

The schools, when asked why they hadn't notified parents of these events, told the local paper that they thought it best for the students who were involved for there to be no media attention.  Someone else in the paper hypothesized that the schools thought it best for themselves that there be no media coverage.

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#22 of 22 Old 05-24-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumm View Post

 

Isn't the school under some sort of obligation to keep the parents informed?

 


Some thing yes, some thing no.

 

At our public school last year, they both sent flyers home and used an automated phone system to keep parents informed about certain things, including an attempted abduction of a student walking home from school and an out break of strep throat. None of the things listed in the first post would have been caused a notification, though.

 

It's not the schools job to let all the parents know that some kid tried some drugs -- for the sake of that student and all the others. We can all choose to talk to our kids about the possibilities of their peers behavior, knowing that one has been caught really needn't alter our parenting a bit.

 

And kids knowing that one kid brought a knife could easily led to MORE kids bringing knives. It wouldn't be helpful to solving the problem.

 

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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