Public schools are taking measures to spy on students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are monitoring students’ social media postings and taking action on any they feel are alarming or dangerous, even when it has nothing to do with school and on the student’s private time. By doing this, schools are taking a certain responsibility for the lives of their students at and away from school. They are becoming the Big Brother of Orwell’s fictional treatise 1984.
While some schools are overtly violating their students’ privacy, other schools don’t seem to want to take any responsibility for students, even when they are involved in school activities. Case in point is the St. Louis Park School District in the Minneapolis community of St. Louis Park.
For decades, parents have had to sign permission slips or consent forms, to allow their kids to go on school field trips. For decades, the school assumed full responsibility for their students’ safety while on those field trips. They would often have additional chaperones other than the teacher to help watch over the students to make sure nothing happened to them.
St. Louis Park School District is changing that. This new school year saw a change in the permission slip and in who’s responsible for the students’ safety and wellbeing. The new permission slips read:
“We understand the arrangements described above and believe the necessary precautions and plans for the care and supervision of students during the field trip will be taken. Beyond this we will not hold the school or those supervising the trip responsible.”
In other words, if a tire blows on the school bus, causing it to wreck and injure or kill students, they are not responsible since that would be beyond the necessary precautions and supervision of school personnel. What if a student slips on something and falls, causing injury to the student? The school isn’t responsible for that either, according to their new permission slip. If a student gets bit by a spider or snake, stung by a bee or breaks out with poison ivy, well, sorry parents, it’s all your responsibility, not the schools.
In a way, we are seeing two extremes in the public schools. One extreme is taking the responsibility to spy on your kids 24/7 and the other is not to take responsibility while the students are in the school’s care on field trips. The bottom line is that parents must be involved with their kids’ education. Find out what they’re being taught, what responsibilities the schools are and aren’t taking concerning your child’s safety and wellbeing.