Mount Si High School held its bi-annual “Day of Respect” last week. The focus of the event is to discuss tolerance and learn about respecting fellow individuals. Unfortunately, many parents of high-school students failed to make the grade, allowing their high-school students to skip the event.
The interesting part about this is I have two high school students, one of whom was begging to use the time to work on her homework. I understood her concerns, as she has a fairly heavy homework load in comparison to her brother. I do not profess to be the best parent in the world but do think that anytime someone has the opportunity to learn about respecting individual rights, choices and diversity, it is time well spent. This seems to be especially true in a community that has very little diversity in school-age children.
Is it because of that lack of diversity that parents felt compelled to give in to their child and let them skip the event? Are we naive enough to think that discussions about respect only focus on racial diversity?
When my kids came home and said that 600 kids skipped the Day of Respect, I was absolutely embarrassed for the community.
I later found out that it was closer to 485 kids absent, but that is still way too many at nearly 40 percent of the student population.
So if you were one of the parents who caved to pressure from your teenager, shame on you. What kind of message does that send to them about your willingness to respect a program the school is offering? It would seem more prudent to take your concerns to the school if you honestly didn’t agree with the program than just tuning out.
The school does have some ownership in the attendance issue as well. Maybe it is time to gather a group of parents to screen speakers. Pay the money to get some real message-driven people into the school. Use more ASB funds to pay for better speakers. Make it a graduation requirement to have attended at least one of the events in a student’s Mount Si career.
Require those who didn’t attend to write an essay on what they think respecting other individuals means and use it as part of a grade toward a specific class. Heck, if the state can mandate unattainable WASL scores, it seems the school district can require some level of participation in the “Day of Respect.”
I also hope that by bringing this missed opportunity to light, parents will think twice about caving in to their child’s pressure to skip. It seems one thing is clear, respect for others is more important now than ever.