TL;DR – Parents should work with, not against, teachers.
A Sec 2 boy from ACS(Barker) used a handphone during lesson time. That’s against the school rules. As a result, the school confiscated his handphone for three months. When asked, the boy admitted that he knew about that rule and the consequence of breaking it.
That very night, the parents of that boy sent the school an email with four reasons why the school ought to return the handphone to the boy. When that email didn’t yield the desired results, the boy’s parents got a lawyer to send the school a letter of demand. When the school still didn’t budge, the parents took the school to court.
Why would the parents do that? What’s so important about that handphone? Will the boy die if he didn’t have that handphone for three months?
What sort of signal are the parents sending children?
Don’t the parents know that the school have good reasons for having that rule in place? Using a phone during lessons means that the boy isn’t paying attention in class. But that’s not the only thing. It distracts other students too. That’s why schools usually have rules against students using handphones during lesson time.
And when students break rules, they need to face consequences. That’s how they learn discipline. But if their parents come and bail them out every time they get into trouble, then they will never learn that lesson. And what will happen when they grow up? They will think that they can break rules, break laws and get away with it because daddy and mummy will be there to raise hell just so that they can get away scot free.
But daddy and mummy won’t always be there. And there will some situations so serious that daddy and mummy can’t help with. Then how?
If the parents were just ruining the life of their own children, perhaps that’s fine. What’s worse is that such parents are also adversely affecting other children. If a student sees his classmate getting away with breaking the rules just because their parents scream a bit louder, what will they think? They’ll think that they can disregard the rules too. Do we really want to live in a society without rules?
And then we blame teachers…
We expect teachers to educate our children. But when they are actually trying their best to inculcate values in our children, we complain that they are overstepping their authority. Don’t parents know that in so doing, they are making the work of teachers so much harder.
Then when our kids turn wayward, we blame the teachers for not doing enough. What do we think teachers are? Miracle workers? And we wonder why teachers are so tired, why teachers
Parents need to work WITH teachers
There used to be a time when parents worked with teachers. When teachers punish the student, the student can expect to kena one time jialat jialat from their parents. And the parents will go back and thank teachers for disciplining their child.
If we want teachers to really do their job well, that’s what we need to get back to. If we don’t, if we have more parents like the parents of this ACS (Barker) boy, then our feature is very bleak.
Thankfully, we do have sensible judges.
District Judge Clement Julien Tan who heard the case immediately threw the case out. The judge ruled that the principal was justified in holding on to the phone, as the school rules had made it clear that any student caught using a phone during school hours will have it confiscated for at least three months. He said:
” I accept that there may be a risk that until the matter is fully and finally disposed of, the school may be faced with demands from parents or guardians for the return of confiscated phones. This may also send a wrong signal to the students that they can use their mobile phones during school hours with impunity, thus rendering the Phone Rule otiose, however temporarily this might be so.”
But we hope that we won’t ever have these sort of situations where we test the courts again. So parents please, work WITH teachers. Not against.