Prince Charming Expelled From Virginia School For GOOD MannersSaturday, March 5th, 2011
Okay, let’s start with this: you’re not going to believe this story. I don’t believe it. And since I am a writer, it would be an easy leap to think I’m making it up. I promise you that I’m not, and you’ll need to take my word for it. I found the story in The Week, a news magazine that sums up reportage around the world. I suppose they could be making it up. I have, however, confirmed the story at several sites on the Internet.
Our grim fairy tale takes places in Southampton, Virginia, in a middle school in their proud school district. I must preface this by explaining (for the very little that it will be worth) that Southampton’s schools apparently have a rigid security policy regarding their school’s front doors, not a terrible thing in itself I suppose, given public school’s miserable track record for security and safety. However, this is a story about far too much of a not-so-good thing.
It would seem that a young man in that middle school just wasn’t using his head. Seeing a woman at the door to the school who had her arms full, the young man had the bad idea of doing the gallant thing and opening the door for her.
As of March 2nd, the boy was expelled from school for this dastardly act.
Stop laughing, it really isn’t funny. not that funny. Okay, it’s funny, but for all the wrong reasons. It gets funnier, so hang in there.
Enter the wolf. (I do not mean to imply that the young man is Red Riding Hood, merely that he is unquestionably the hero in our tale.) School Superintendent Charles Turner, an educator to the end (and may his years as an educator end soon) explained that good manners are simply no excuse. “You have to have a system and that system has to be consistent.”
Okay, you should be laughing now. Schools, consistent? Since when? In what manner? About what? Certainly not security. School shootings and innumerable acts of violence might tend to make a bit of…um, a joke…of Mr. Tanner’s comment. But we should be laughing for other reasons as well.
What are schools for? In fact, let’s dig closer to the center of the issue, what is the purpose of education? Isn’t it to build bright, moral, intelligent, capable young adults who will confront life feeling that they can make a difference for the better? I mean, isn’t that why we spend all those BILLIONS of dollars on education? Isn’t that why tens of millions of children are entrusted into the care of the wolves…er, Tanners of the world? Don’t we trust educators to make decisions regarding our children that will assist these young people on the road to becoming as described above?
The young man, whom for lack of a name I shall dub Prince Charming, did exactly the moral, helpful, smart thing. Master Charming observed a problem, a maiden in (admittedly mild) distress, and he promptly took care of her problem in a simple, non-threatening manner. He opened a door.
Imagine the meeting he must have had as he was being expelled. “My, what big teeth you have, Ms. Principal”. (He was expelled by Principal Allene Atkinson, who was quoted on an Internet site as saying “parents have been overwhelmingly supportive of this system because our whole objective is to keep students safe.” Yes, while that may be so, I think she and her fellow members of the pack have missed the point, something to do with common sense.)
Imagine the poor Prince explaining to his lordly parents what happened, and why he was expelled from the kingdom. (I will assume their lordliness, since they have clearly raised a good, moral and Charming lad.) Were they confused? Did they laugh? Have they considered consulting with the royal attorney?
Look, Ms. Atkinson, Mr. Tanner, put the metal file down. You’ve proven the sharpness of your teeth and the bigness of your eyes to the world. We can all see that you mean business. We’re just not certain what sort of business. It certainly cannot be the business of education, since you are not serving the ends of that once noble profession with moronic moves like this one. This young man should have been held up as an example of the right and good. He set the system aside when common sense and manners called for it. We want ALL of our children to do that!
Perhaps you see yourselves as very well-paid baby-sitters? You know, a baby-sitter’s job is to invite her girlfriends over, make a mess, eat some food that does not belong to her, party, use the house phone to call Tripoli, and um, keep the children in her care sort alive and not-too-injured until mom and dad return home, then collect her wages and go meet her boyfriend. Yes, I do think that’s probably a fair idea of how these people view their job descriptions.
In the end, what do we have here? We have a paranoid and inflexible system created by scared and rigid people and born of desperation and failure, and we have a young man who did the right thing, and so he became the victim of that system.
I knew big bad wolves were scary. I just didn’t think until now that they were also stupid. Don’t you people know that you just don’t treat Prince Charming this way? Word might get out, and then the entire kingdom will see you for what you are – wolves in administrators clothing.
As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.
But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.
In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Connect The Thoughts (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.
CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)
Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.
Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.
Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.
Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.
Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.
For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.
We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!