We all know that school policies, rules and procedures are ultimately formed to protect our children and keep all students on a level playing field. However, some parents have run into trouble with school administrators when “cookie cutter” policies dole out punishments that don’t necessarily fit the crime,
Our private tutors in Orange County recently heard from a parent who says her son was suspended after defending himself from a bully. “After teasing my son for weeks, the bully finally got physical and they were involved in a scuffle. The school administrators said there was a zero tolerance policy for violence, and that both children would be suspended for their role in the fight. But my question is, what should my son have done? Should he have just let this bully punch him repeatedly?”.
While it is certainly important to have certain policies in place, it is the belief of many parents that every incident should be individually reviewed. We’ve put together the following guide to help you if you ever find yourself in disagreement with the policies at your children’s school.
Study the Rule Book
Experts have advised that it is important to read the handbook that is sent home at the start of the school year. Usually a school handbook is sent home at the beginning of each school year, and we recommend reading it as soon as you can. If you find a policy that you strongly disagree with, make your opinion known before the school year starts.
For instance, if the handbook says that all medications need to be stored in the front office, but your doctor has prescribed that your child carry their inhaler with them at all times, it’s important that you let administrators know this ahead of time. More than likely, administrators will understand and make a special exception in this case. However, if you wait until your child gets “caught” in violation of school policy, it’s more likely to be a problem.
Prepare Your Child
When you’re done reading through the handbook, the next step should involve sitting down and highlighting the rules you deem most important for your child to remember. If you have older children, you can go through the entire handbook with them. There are cases in which students break rules they did not even know existed. Additionally, reading the rules together could work as a deterrent as the child knows he or she cannot pretend to be oblivious to the rules.
Whether the issue you have with the school rules is before or after an incident occurs, you should not hesitate to speak up and take their concerns up the chain of command. Start by speaking with your school’s administration directly, and if you can’t reach a satisfying solution there, then escalate the matter to the Parent Teacher Association, and the school district.
Parents often have more power than they realize. Become knowledgeable about the rules and you could save yourself lots of future problems.