The first day of school is a roller coaster of fun and excitement.
Minus the fun and excitement. And the roller coaster, because that implies enjoyment.
Okay, actually, take the puking, lightheaded, dizzy panic of the roller coaster, keep it, and discard the rest.
Still with me?
Where I was going with this is that walking into Period 1 at the beginning of August is nobody’s idea of enjoyable. Even less so are the three separate booklets entailing every school rule, every consequence for violations, and every safety reminder/disclaimer known to man. Below are a few (taken directly from my school’s Code of Conduct), that are particularly striking in terms of their actual practical application to the school environment. Or lack thereof.
Irrelevant Rule #1: Cheating And Why You Should Not Do It, Ever, and If You Do You Will Be Sent to the Depths of Hell for Your Transgression
My school defines cheating as “copying or paraphrasing each others’ homework, recieving help on assignments the teacher has designated to be done individually, using the internet or purchased summaries of reading assignments instead of reading the assigned homework”– and that’s just the homework portion.
I think it’s funny because this goes on to list all the consequences for cheating– teacher reprimand, conference with a student, calling home, reduced credit on assignment in question, detention, etc.
These are the same consequences whether you ask for help on your individual English homework or take an answer key to the S.A.T.’s (in general, with a bit of variation depending on the severity, I’m sure). And they’re not even PUNISHMENTS! Sure, detention is bad, and a parent call home would probably get you grounded, but do you think that’s going to stop a student who’s determined to cheat from doing it again?
Copying answers, using CliffNotes for your Frankenstein study guide, working on homework with a group of friends…. this is so prevalent that it’s not viewed as cheating anymore. In fact, it’s probably more rare for most kids to actually DO the homework….
I don’t say this is irrelevant because it’s not needed– cheating is terrible and just makes it harder for the teachers to do their jobs. (Then the students complain they’re not learning anything!) But the consequences are relatively laughable, especially to those who know the tricks around the system and are determined to thwart it. If they’re going to take this stance against cheating seriously, they need to actually man up and buckle down on the security.
Irrelevant Rule #2: Cellular Devices and Personal Electronics Are Never To Be Used In Class. Under Penalty of Death.
At my last school, if you had a cell phone out in class, the teacher would take it away and your parents would have to come and get it. If you were texting, the teacher might read the text aloud or otherwise embarrass you. It certainly didn’t take away the problem, but if your Algebra teacher told your entire class the relationship troubles you were having with your boyfriend, you can bet you’d be hesitant to text in class again.
Our current code of conduct reads, “In order to maintain quality instruction with freedom from distraction, personal electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods, MP3, and video game players are prohibited in classrooms, unless the teacher provides permission for their use.”
Is this strictly enforced?
Is the sky green?
True, you can’t call someone in the middle of class and make Friday night plans with intervals of, “WHAT, YOU CAN’T HEAR ME? HOW ABOUT NOW? IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR RECEPTION? YOU LOST THE GAME, YOU COULD SAVE 15% OR MORE BY SWITCHING TO GEICO, QUARKS ABOVE I LOVE BIEBER HECK YES.”
Well, you could, but the teacher would say something. Or just write you a pass to the nurse’s office/your local psychiatric ward.
Short of that, however, there’s not much that can’t be done and/or HASN’T been done by my classmates. One kid sat in front of a teacher playing Tap Out right on his desk, blatantly not working, not even bothering to hide anything. Another texts just like she would if she was in the mall, and other kids actually listen to their iPods while the teacher is lecturing.
Again, more structure and actual discipline is needed if they’re going to make any improvements. Some of my teachers let us use our iPods in class (during silent reading, independent work, etc.), and I enjoy that, because I work better with my music on, and it helps me zone out of the annoying personal discussions that inevitably come with any independent assignment. But there needs to be a line, and it needs to be very clear, coated with gasoline, and then set on fire. With oozing magma and other fun stuff.
Irrelevant Rule #3: Public Displays of Affection Are Illegal and Frowned Upon by Society. Remember, Hugging is the Gateway Drug to Sexual Activity.
Actually, the rule says, “Companionship and friendship in good taste are encouraged. Behavior that becomes offensive to others is not in good taste and not acceptable student conduct. The campus limit for public displays of affection is hand-holding and brief hugs.”
Tell that to the couple that’s always passionately making out in front of my Spanish classroom!
I understand that we’re big enough to make our own choices now, and “teens will be teens”, and young love is so romantic and all that. I LOVE this rule (except “companionship” makes me think of having a dog or something), but It. Is. Never. Llama’d. Enforced. PDA is gross. Don’t do it.
On the plus side, if your 60+ boyfriends are fictional and/or Japanese actors, you can ignore this one! The closest you’ll ever come to PDA is screenshotting a shirtless fanservice shot.
Irrelevant Rule #4, You Should Dress Modestly, Which Typically Means Actually Wearing Clothes That Cover At Least 1/10 of Your Body at Any Given Time (As a Rule of Thumb)
The school dress code is the most grossly ignored rule in the school– and more than that, it’s not enforced at all, which just leads to a vicious cycle that ends in near nudity.
I’m not talking pep rallies, when girls wear sports bras, guys take their shirts off, and everyone’s covered in body paint. (Although that’s…. interesting, as well.) I mean kids actually go to class in booty shorts (think of it as underwear advertised as pants) and shirts low enough on top and high enough on bottom to be classified as bikini tops, more or less.
And then there’s the guys who wear the waistband of their skinny jeans on their legs.
Fun, fun, fun, fun, you know what it is.
We have a dress code, more or less. But nobody enforces it, nobody listens to it, and it makes for the most awkward time when you’re crammed in the hallways with forty thousand people wearing next to nothing.
Any school rules that you find ridiculous/terribly enforced? What would you do to change that? Do you think any of these rules shouldn’t be enforced, and why? Comment.