Responsible Parenthood, the Duty of the Teachers and the Rearing of Our Young
by Jose Mario De Vega
I am writing to talk about the issue of our student’s school indiscipline.
One view is that “Parents should stay out of this” while the opposing contention is that “Parents must to be totally involved”.
For purposes of this brief narrative, let us adopt the two contradictory views and for brevity’s sake refer to them as View 1 and View 2.
I applaud our various papers in reporting stories and publishing reports that dealt squarely with these two seemingly contradicting views that espoused two different arguments concerning a single issue.
That said crucial issue at stake here is the extent of the powers or the rights of the parents to get involved or intervened in cases that concern their children in a particular school’s disciplinary board in conjunction to their child’s misdemeanor and violation of the institution’s rules and regulations.
My aim is to somewhat reconcile these two apparent repugnant contentions, hence I am humbly offering my viewpoints and rejoinder.
It seems to me, and it is my considered view that the thesis of View 1 is to prohibit (though I believe, it is also wrong, to completely disallow) the involvement and “interference of the parents in a school’s disciplinary board’s action and punishment meted on their children.”
The argument that was advanced is that: “By interfering in this process, parents are actually obstructing the development of the student’s character and behavior.”
Further, it may also be well asserted that, “when most students nowadays are spoilt, embroiled in critical disciplinary problems and other misdemeanors, why do parents tend to blame the teachers?”
I concur in the general sense; however, I am not totally uncritical! This is true if indeed, the kids involved in this specific scenario are deviant, lazy, bully, irresponsible, habitual violator of the school rules and regulations, etc.
The other equally pertinent question that needs to be asked is: what if the student is law-abiding, a role model, responsible and studious, yet one stupid and completely groundless complaint was lodged against him or her?
Henceforth, on this case I will argue that the call or the demand for non-involvement of parents shall/would not apply.
It is on this sense that I also concur with the position of those people who subscribed to View 2, especially when a particular parent said that: “No responsible parents will stay out of anything that happens to their children”. Of course, that contention is base on the assumption and condition that the child involved in this particular case is a well-mannered and truly responsible student.
I commend her/him for being a loving parent and I hope that all parents should be like her/him. However, if there are incontrovertible proof and irrefutable evidence against the deviancy and lawlessness of his/her “good” son/daughter — is it her/his/their right to appear before the school tribunal or disciplinary board to argue that their child is kind, responsible, behave, noble and good?
I do not think so!
Hence, if this is the case, we have to return to the question posed by people who belongs to View 1:
“With parents blindly supporting their children, students will rebel against the school’s rules or anything that curbs what they view as their right to full freedom”.
Sad but true, and I hate to say this, but the grim effect of this parental blind misplaced love would indubitably be that wayward students will “not be afraid to break the rules and commit crimes as they know that their parents will back them”.
To be clear on my contention, it is my ardent view that View 1 is applicable to those cases wherein the student involved has no right to be in the school in the first place but indeed, in the rehabilitation center.
To the parents, if indeed your child is wrong, please don’t defend them, rather admit the mistake and submit to the jurisdiction of the school’s disciplinary board. Instead of straightening them, you are further hastening them towards becoming more wayward and rebellious. This is a shame!
For all intent and purposes, if the student or the child is well raised, I doubt if the said boy or girl will ever be summoned in some investigation to answer a complaint! That would be highly unlikely; except perhaps in cases of unjust complaint and mistaken identity that I have already noted above.
View 2 in my view squarely applies to those irresponsible and violent teachers, vague complaints, questionable disciplinary measures and/or tribunals.
On this regard, I specifically agree with those individuals who believe on View 2 that parents have to be totally involved.
As narrated by a writer based on the testimony given by her/his child:
“For the past week she has been telling me how her teacher will cane the students on their palm for wrong answers, a stroke for each mistake. Many of her friends cried after being caned, but the teacher continues to teach after that”.
I condemn to the highest possible extent the utterly violent and unjust action of that ‘teacher’. We have no right whatsoever to use violence, especially physical to our lads. That kind of ‘educator’ does not have the right to be left with our young. Indeed, what kind of learning “can go into a child’s mind after such an experience, a sore palm and a fearful mind?”
Shame on that creature!
That ‘teacher’ must be reported to the authorities (primarily to the Education Ministry) and the police for human/child rights violations. He/she must answer for his/her criminal deed and unpardonable act which is palpably incompatible for being a teacher!
Though, the teaching profession is the noblest of all professions, as always and this is true in all occupations; there are some rotten apples that taint and bastardize the whole profession. I want to tell and assure that parent that not all teachers are like that and that we outnumbered the fake ones, the bad guys and the unfaithful to the call.
We, the true teachers and real educators remain steadfast in the nobility of our profession and faithful to the general principle behind the sanctity of our calling. That is our commitment.
In the lucid words of Henry A. Giroux:
“Education as a critical moral and political project always represents a commitment to the future and it remains the task of educators to make sure that the future points the way to a more socially just world, a world in which the discourses of critique and possibility in conjunction with the values of reason, freedom and equality function to alter, as part of a broader democratic project, the grounds upon which life is lived. This is hardly a prescription for political indoctrination, but it is a project that gives education its most valued purpose and meaning, which, in part, is “to encourage human agency, not mould it in the manner of Pygmalion.””
You can count on us and we are also counting on you!
We also call your attention to the indispensable fact that while we do our job of further developing the goodness and harnessing the full potentials of your kids, please help us by also doing your duty and obligation to your young.
The creation and production, call it what you will, of good, moral, ethical and responsible students is not only the duty, function and obligation of the teachers! You, parents are also included in this noble and continuing task. Let us not forget that, prior to us becoming the teachers of your kids; it is indisputable that you are their first teachers.
Hence, I am calling for unity of purpose and a unified approach! Let us all help each other in cultivating the minds, souls and characters of our young, in order for them to become responsible students and critical citizens of this country and the world.
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines
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