Schools, especially private schools, have very permeable boundaries. Ours specifically claims -and aims – to educate the “whole child” (not an uncommon phrase or sentiment). Where does our responsibility end? If two students get into a fight off campus, is that our business? If it’s across the street 15 minutes after school, the answer seems clear. But what about on a Saturday night?
If we know a kid is abusing drugs, but their grades remain good and the life here at school isn’t suffering – do we choose to look the other way?
By and large, adolescents divide the consequences of their actions into two major camps: 1. I’m going to get into trouble and 2) I’m not going to get into trouble. One of the things I truly like and respect about so many of the kids who find their way here is that for them, this distinction gets lost. Some are used to “being in trouble,” and so another confrontation with their parents over their behavior is no big deal. But what is so nice is when they really begin to see it as an opportunity to have an honest and open conversation with the people in their life who matter – their parents, and sometimes their teachers – about something that is going on in their lives. Something important, and, when it involves “getting into trouble,” usually something which they don’t really want to be carrying around in secret.
Here’s what makes me pause: how do I instill that in my own kids?