Parental Intimidation: Three Reasons Why Parents Will Never Become Involved In Public Schools

An acquaintance told me today that, in Idaho, it is a misdemeanor to intimidate a teacher, particularly in front of a student (Idaho State Statues 33-1222 and 18-916). He opined that these laws are used to intimidate parents and keep them from getting too involved in the education of their children. There is no way to determine what exactly “upbraids, insults or abuses” means. A misdemeanor could be as little as telling your child’s teacher your child wants to read Little House on the Prairie books rather than Harry Potter books.

The following story from a friend would have certainly been a misdemeanor. I know an interpreter in Washington state who was translating for a Hispanic woman (I think a field worker) at a parent teacher conference a few weeks ago. The woman was heartbroken and angry that her son’s teacher had not informed her of an upcoming sex education class (at least, not in English.). She was horrified when he came home (in a loose paraphrase) “knowing more than she ever wanted him to know” at that point in his life. She would have been arraigned and maybe even deported, separating her from her husband and children.

My acquaintance opined that “Parents could be a larger part of this picture with more organizations, they are the only part not organized…”

In response, I don’t think parents will ever be organized for three reasons:

First, the education establishment (school boards, unions, etc.) won’t like the addition of another player. They will be unwelcome competition for attention and money. Further, it takes money to create a parent network, but nobody in the current system will sponsor or help get it started.

Further, a system already exists to give parents an outlet and keep them under the watchful eye and control of the elites: these are the PTA’s. The PTA’s are simply a shill for the union and a tool to make sure parent’s don’t go too wild (like with school choice ideas.).

Second, parents have been trained for the past 50 years to not intervene in the education process. Their parents didn’t interfere and left it up to the state to educate their kids, so today’s parents have no reason to interfere as long as they think things are going smoothly.

Thirdly, people are lazy, including parents. Why are summer camps, after school programs and day care so popular? Because parents don’t have time for their children. My wife is a teacher and she opines about the lack of parental involvement and follow-up/reinforcement at home all the time.

Parents pay taxes for and expect the government to educate their children (and pay them when they’re unemployed, and provide universal healthcare, and… don’t get me started.). With such an entitlement mentality, parents will never intervene.

3 thoughts on “Parental Intimidation: Three Reasons Why Parents Will Never Become Involved In Public Schools”

  1. Apparently idiocy still does abound. All the more reason not to let your children suffer the anti-education they may receive in the Public Stool System. Private or homeschool.

  2. I am a teacher that was intimidated by a parent in front of students. This parent used vulgar and profane language, shouted at me and made threatening moves toward me in front of several students and another teacher. Is this appropriate behavior? Shouldn't the law protect me and the students in the school from this parent who behaved in this manner? These laws were not made so that teachers could keep parents out of the school building. My district and I encourage parents to visit. I have seldom had a confrontation, and even if the parent has been upset when they arrived they have usually left with a better understanding of what went on. I believe most parents want to know what is happening in the schools and would like to have a working relationship with their child's teacher. As a parent, before I became a teacher, I was often intimidated by the institution, and this intimidation extended to the teachers. I try to make my parents comfortable and listen to their concerns and complaints, but I will not have a parent swear at me.

    1. It is good that you've used your own experience as an intimidated parent to inform your attitudes as a teacher. May we all bring such wisdom to every encounter we have with each other.

      And I'm sure this teacher intimidation is an exception to the rule. But there is another point that needs making.

      The teachers serve at the parents behest, and while many parents could care less what goes into their children's heads and most parents aren't overly concerned that they be informed of each and every program brought into their children's classrooms, the rule should always be to the parents benefit and the benefit of the doubt should always rest with the parents as well. The parents are the people primarily responsible for the upbringing of their children, and if that means less school oversight and more parental responsibility be default, let it be.
      My recent post Selling Their Souls

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