I know, of course, that the opinion of a 30-something, conservative, christian, homeschool mom is cutting edge stuff...(if that came out a little snarky, well-I am having a small mid-life crisis after googling my name and finding another Jennifer in a different state who is apparently much more interesting than I am. But, I digress, that is fodder for another post...)
I'm going to address the main parts of this story that bothered me. I think the underlying hint of Secret Service-bashing which leads to hinted Bush bashing is misguided and overplayed. The media stories focus on the mean secret service agents and the little girl with a heart on her backpack.
The totally missed point in all of this is the lack of rights of the parents and their children while the children are in the custody of the school. I wonder while reading news articles on this story how this point is so overlooked. In most states parents do not have the right to be notified of interviews with law enforcement, social workers, counselors, secret service agents, whoever...I'm sad that as a society we just rolled over and let the school systems take parental rights away because, well, they are the professionals and must know what they are doing. Here in California a past Governor vetoed a bill that would have ensured parents be notified before such interviews and this year our legislature killed language in a bill that would have ensured the same.
The assistant principle of the high school involved in this story had this to say... "Parents usually interfere with an investigation, so we usually don't notify them until it's done," The Sacramento Bee reported that 'Sacramento City Unified School District policy calls for parents to be notified but doesn't say whether it should happen before or after a student is interviewed. State law doesn't require parental notification.' Read the whole story here-U.S. Agents question teen by Laurel Rosenhall and Ryan Lillis. (the quotes were taken from this article) er, the bold part is my doing...
I'm sad that parents in this story were so shocked and surprised. I'm bothered that they would take the opportunity to blame everyone else to the media, but not bring to the nation's attention this very wrong attitude in our public schools. The attitude that parents interfere...that children have no rights once on school grounds, that parents are nuisances that should be kept in the dark regarding the material being taught or presented because they just cause so much trouble.
I think the icing on the cake for me had to be the fact the parents knew nothing about their daughter's death threat to the President-over a year ago-on MySpace until the secret service knocked on their door. Add to that their excusing of her behavior, the attitude of -it was wrong, but they took it way out of proportion...This attitude that is played out over an over again by parents at little league games and public schools. This attitude that prompts parents to hire attorneys instead of apologizing for their kids awful behavior. This attitude contributes to the overall bad experience public school can be.
o.k. that was my .2 cents and some change...going to step off my soap box now, and resume trying to look/be more interesting... I googled both my maiden name and married name, and two people came up with my name, more interesting then me! I'm nursing a complex here..
Edited to add: sorry about the links, if you put teenage girl, secret service, threats into google search, it will bring you a link for Sac bee that will take you to the story, for some reason if I copy the link it converts to the page you need to register...if you want to read the whole story, try the google search. Edited again to remove excessive "snarkiness", I hate sarcasm directed towards me...I don't want to come across less then gentle...so I "fixed" my post alittle.