Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Catholic Dad: You Think?

If this doesn't qualify me for the title, I don't know what will.

I've been attending the games at my daughter's junior high lately to watch her cheer and offer my support. I also want to support the girls on the volleyball team because Kellina played with them last year (and actually wishes she were playing with them this year). I've also attended one 8th-grade football game, and I tend to keep a close eye on the kids and what they do.

I'm sure you won't be surprised that not all of the kids are models of exemplary adolescent behavior. Frankly, I don't expect them to be. They're junior-high kids; they're going to be goofy and occasionally draw attention to themselves. When I take exception is when they draw too much attention to themselves with obnoxious behvior or when they start directing their behavior toward the cheerleaders or the school team (mostly the volleyball team since they can actually hear the comments). What appalls me to no end is how little attention the teachers and other school employees sometimes pay to the behavior, not to mention the other parents. When I was growing up (yes, another one of those stories), adults felt perfectly within their rights to take a kid down a peg if the latter were acting out. What's happened? I can't belief how some of these kids behave, and the adults pay no attention.

Anyway, on at least three occasions, I've done what should've been done by a school authority. Much to the chagrin of my daughter, I've called these kids on their behavior. The first two times, both grudgingly modified their behavior (and moved away from me). Today, I had a young lady* get in my face and essentially assert her right to behave however she liked. That worked fine for her until she called my bluff and suggested I go ahead and talk to the vice principal down the hall. And she seemed to be shocked, shocked, I tell you, that he actually backed me up and suggested she leave.

To his credit, he didn't seem to have much tolerance for disrespectful behavior toward any adult. That's quite frankly what disturbs me (and I know I shouldn't be surprised)—just how a kid that age thinks she has every right to speak and behave as she pleases and that no adult (outside of the school officials—and she wasn't particularly respectful to him either) has a right to call her on it.

I explained to my mortified daughter that I will not sit around when she, her cheerleading compatriots, or the kids on the sports teams have to listen to harrassing speech from rude adolescents. She acknowledged that she wasn't comfortable with it, but she also acknowledged that she understands why I need to do it.

Ironically, the school has posters up in all the halls with all kinds of pollyanish nonesense such as "Just say no to violence" and "Don't be a bully." Uh, yeah. How about the teachers put some teeth into those statements. The two girls today were actually repeating the words on these posters sarcastically between the comments they made to the volleyball players.

*I say "young lady" with the utmost lenience in standards.
Post a Comment