I work in one of the elementary schools in the Southwest part of the city. Our school is one of the Compassionate Schools. Three times each week, our students learn how to calm themselves down, and to use words instead of fists. Despite this training, there are students who get caught up in bickering and fights on a daily basis. When asked to use other strategies, we are told by the kids that their parents told them to fight back. Here is a letter I received from a student who engaged in fighting even though I strongly discouraged her from doing so.
“I am so sorry that I hit Q back and I shouldn’t but my mama said whoever hits me I should hit them back and she said if I don’t I’m going to be in real trouble at home and I’m guessing you know what that means so I don’t have to write it down on the paper but Q is the one that started it and I had to finish it because my mom and dad said so but my mama raised me to fight back and I know I shouldn’t have but I’m sorry and I hope you forgive me. I am sorry.”
No matter what we teach our students about compassion, and use your words, and restorative justice, etc., how can our teaching compete with what parents demand of their own kids? It seems to me that parents need to be taught a different way. When will we address that issue?
A concerned teacher
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