Law: This Is What Bugs Me About Bad Parents

January 12, 2008

I was reading CNN today when I came across this article

So I thought about it for a while, and I can’t get over the fact that the PARENTS are mad at the SCHOOL.  There are a handful of things that bother me about this situation, lets go through them.

First, Since I just took a Torts test, lets compare the duties that each group had to the other.  The parents have what I would consider a duty to society to raise what most would call an unstanding citizen.  The school has a duty to parents to educate their children and insure their saftey in that process.  Who failed who?  Did the school make some massive mistake by serving Pizza and/or allowing students the ability to get near that piazza?  Should that have hand fed it to the students so this event couldn’t happen?  No.  Between the school and that parents the parents are the ones that messed up, so where do that parents get off telling the school what would be good or fair.  Hey dad that gave that quote, clearly your conception of appropriate isn’t working, your kid got involve in a food fight, lets try the schools way.

2.  But Clegal you say, we can’t hold parents liable for the actions of their children, good parents can raise chidren that misbehave too.  I agree.  100%.  My mom was a great parent, but as Kurzman can attest, I got in my share of trouble growing up (E.g. misuse of chem lab waterbottles, the “Knoth” incident, my lack of marksmenship, etc).  That said, when I screwed up, the last thing my mom did was make excuses, heck, the school was nothing compared to the rath of my mother.  And where did I end up….. clearly a failure that wasn’t property socialized……. oh wait….. thats this guys kid.

3.  $300 fine is crazy, they should clean up the cafateria.  Ok dad, I have a few thoughts about this one.  First, you’re an idiot.  Wow, strong argument there Clegal.  But seriously, I think there are about 180 days in the school year.  For th sake of my math, lets say that I am right.  Its the start of second semester (mabye even the end of first semester), so about half of those are complete.  To make up for the possibilty that I overshot it, lets say that there are about 75 days left in the school year.  Now lets say that it takes roughly 1 hour per day to do a good job cleaning up the cafateria.  Thats 75 hours of labor.  To make the math easier, lets say 70 hours total.  That means that, your “rediculous punishment” if billed even at minimum wage (I don’t want to look up what WI minimum wage is, lets call it $5, I’m sure its higher than that.  That means that the time your kid spends cleaning up, if billed at minimum wage, comes out to a little over what they are charging.  Ya, thats right, if your foot-fighting kid decided to take those hours you are suggesting he spend cleaning up at school and got a job, he could pay off the fine you think is “too harsh” and still have a little bit of money left over.  Great argument pops, replace a “harsh” fine with something that, in terms of your sons “time value of money” actually costs him more. 

4.  The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.  Depends on what you mean by “fit”.  If you mean the punishment is unrelated, then you are right.  I mean, a perfect “fit” would be to let the food workers make a huge mess, then have them clean it up, but that “fit” wouldn’t be the best use of anybody’s time, so lets have them pay some money and take a suspension and get this over with.

5.  Suspension.  In situations like this, where the parents are clearly not in support of the school, I never understood why you would suspend somebody.  You send them home for four days with a parent that doesn’t think they did anything wrong.  They can sleep in if their parents let them, perhaps play alittle Wii, etc.  Wouldn’t it be a better idea to give them in school suspension…. all day in a small boring room without their friends to socialize with, no fun, same school, but worse.  Heck, put it on their transcript as a suspension even.  Or better yet, since we are so worried about “fit” give them four days of manual labor community service, (ideally cooking and serving food at lunch, but I think there are some labor laws preventing that) that would be a great use of their time.

Whatever you do, lets all agree, this parent is an idiot.


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