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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Time to be accountable

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Dear IPS Parents,

Last week Dr. Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, showed up at Arlington High School during a planned enforcement sweep. What he saw was disappointing.

Students were tardy, didn’t have identification badges, didn’t adhere to the dress code and were insubordinate. As a result, White suspended about 50 students and immediately had buses take them home. The suspended students and their parents were to return to Arlington the following day to meet with administrators.

Enter the drama.

My eyes were transfixed on the television as I watched the local news and saw some of the suspended students’ parents express their anger for having to attend a meeting called because their child didn’t follow the school district’s rules. More specifically, they complained about attending a meeting held because they, themselves, failed to ensure that their children adhered to the school district’s rules and regulations.

Hopefully, some of those IPS parents of the suspended students are reading this column because these words are meant for you:

Take accountability.

Be involved in your child’s education.

Stop resisting structure, rules, and regulations.

Be proactive, rather than reactive.

The end of the school year is weeks away, yet your children continue to come to school late, dressed improperly and with attitudes. This has to stop and you have to be the ones to stop it.

The dress code has been enforced at IPS for three years and it’s rather basic: students are to wear solid color shirts (white, navy blue, light blue, red, or black), and solid color pants (navy blue, black, or khaki). Why after three years and at the end of this school year is the dress code still an issue?

One parent complained because his child was suspended for not having an ID badge.

The purpose of the badge is two-fold: to identify students and prohibit intruders from entering the building. Parents should find a level of comfort in knowing that schools are taking the needed precautions to ensure the safety of students.

As livid as I was by the parents’ obvious disdain regarding their children’s suspension, I had to calm down and discuss my thoughts with people in the education field… after all, I could have been wrong in my thinking. According to the principals, counselors and teachers I spoke with, however, I wasn’t.

The resounding comment that all of the aforementioned expressed was the way parents reacted to situations. Everyone I spoke with said that when a student is in trouble or suspended, the parents come to the school in a tirade, going off about what the administration decided was the appropriate punishment.

“They only react to negative things,” said one teacher. “You can try to initiate dialogue with them throughout the year or ask them to volunteer, but you never hear anything from the parents. Even before a child reaches the point of suspension, I attempt to meet with parents to discuss alternatives but they never respond. It’s only when some form of punishment actually occurs that we hear from or see them.”

Parents, try getting involved in your child’s educational process before something negative occurs. Consider it preventative measures.

When you publicly complain about an instance that should have never occurred, it doesn’t make the school look bad. It makes you look bad and it makes your child look bad. Do your part to ensure that your children are positive representatives of themselves as well as you. Also, talk to your children and tell them the importance of behaving in a respectful manner. If they can’t follow the guidelines set before them at school, they won’t be able to accept any guidelines in the future.

Your responsibility as parents is more than providing clothing and shelter. Stop being lackadaisical in your approach to effectively parent.

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