Tag: educational overreach

We Decide What is TMI

While reading a story about a public school that got caught overstepping their authority and violating parental rights in the process , a post written last year came to mind. In that incident a HS teacher incurred the wrath of the school board by warning students to be mindful of self implication WRT to an school surveys put in front of them. A 3 day roe ensued, mostly between myself and Thrill. You can peruse the post here, with a follow up here if so inclined. While re reading the exchange I was struck by the fact that so many of our regulars have dropped off the grid. CM made a comment last week about this place being on life support, I wish that was not the case but it is hard to argue against the numbers. Nostalgia being what it is, I wish our traffic was higher. As with any blog, it is the commenter’s, the regulars that discuss the issues put forth, they drive, they define the blog and give it it’s personality. Maybe 2014 will be better.

But back the Nosey Parker school administrators and their fishing expeditions into the private lives of the parents;

The game is called “Cross the Line” and many outraged parents believe that it does just that.

A middle school in Marinette, Wisconsin got a group of 5th-8th graders together and organized a really fun game that asked students to step forward to answer “yes” to a series of highly personal questions.

Questions like…

Do your parents drink?
Do you cut yourself?
Has anyone in your family been to jail?
Have you ever wanted to commit suicide?
Do you or your parents do drugs?

Unbelievably, school administrators believed that this “game” would help the kids to be better and kinder friends. “The intent of this activity was to build stronger, more respectful relationships among students,” said Principal Shawn Limberg. The “game” was part of an anti-bullying program.

Of course, Limberg also said the “game” was completely voluntary, an assertion that was disputed by one young girl who told her mother she’d have to go to in-school suspension if she didn’t participate.

Well, at least they did not window dress the intrusion with lame excuses about social and emotional development compliance.

It is always amusing to see the standard fall back position whenever they get caught snooping, a position that pivots from altruism (for the children) to policy (we have to do this kind of stuff to comply with our bullying prevention program), then to mitigation (It’s totally voluntary, no pressure on the kids whatsoever).

We have talked before about the advantage authority figures have over impressionable children. Kids are taught at an early age (mostly from the school personal themselves who pull out their In Loco Parentis card whenever convenient) that you do what you are told in school. The teachers wield the power, regardless if the exercise of that power is lawful or in the best interest of the student. Areas of a private nature, that have nothing to do with bullying prevention, are probed and examined in front of the entire class, with no disclaimers provided. The exploitation of the child/teacher relationship for some undefined gain should offend all parents.

As with the Dryden case last year, the facade they hide behind is ultimately the child’s welfare, yet, the circuitous path to that welfare, including clear direct violations of both the child’s and the parents privacy, is nanny stating at it’s finest.

I think we can all see how easily this could go sideways. This collection of information from unwitting children could be used to instigate social services investigations, to find out which parents are using their 2nd amendment right to own firearms, whether they’ve complied with Obamacare, what their lifestyle choices are, how they practice their religious beliefs, what the family’s political beliefs are, or to single out kids for forced medical or mental health treatment against the wishes of their parents. We need only look at all of the zero tolerance hysteria to see how quickly this could get out of hand.

Much of this sounds familiar, some of the exact questions the IRS was asking of Tea Party non profits, very similar intrusions, and for what purpose?

What websites do mommy or daddy visit, what books they read (does dad have a current copy of Maxim on the coffee table? Um, I think social services should be notified) How do they show affection towards each other, what causes do they donate to, or even info about their taxes, I can see an entire sea of areas that are none of their business yet inclusive enough to fall under ,”We need this info to protect the kids”.

It’s tough being a kid, even tougher when those that are supposed to be looking after you, charged with your care, put that care second to whims of an ever rapacious education system, one who would rather spend time on areas that do not bring attention to their woeful teaching abilities.