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If your middle schooler left campus to protest WWYD


Plateau Mama

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Not trying to be political. Please don't go there!

 

(This didn't happen to me, but in my area.)

 

I genuenily want to know what you would do if your middle school child was allowed to leave campus, during school hours, walk downtown and protest with 5000+ other students & adults. Crowd was mostly high school students.

 

I know what I would do and without telling my husband he had the exact same response but I'd like to know how others would react. Middle school is 6th-8th grade.

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Define 'allowed'? Middle schoolers are a lot less controllable than the elementary set. Are you saying the students were not restrained or that the teachers encouraged them to go? Two different things imo.

I don't know. I do know that students were allowed to leave campus unsupervised during school hours.

 

What I do know is when my child was in public middle school she was not allowed to leave campus during the day unless I came into the building and picked her up. One time I was going to be late picking her up so I told her to wait on a bench after school. She wasn't allowed to wait outside unattended and had to go into aftercare until I go there.

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I would be upset at my kid for leaving school without my permission, and upset at the school for letting them do it. Whether or not I believe in the issue being protested is immaterial. I need to know where my kid is and to trust the adults present and my kid to keep me informed. If she is at school, I need to know that she is there. If she is at a friend's house, I want a phone call before she goes anywhere-even if it's just to the mall to try on shoes or to McDonalds to get a hamburger. If she walked out without permission, I would expect the school to contact me ASAP.

 

I probably wouldn't file a lawsuit or anything, but yeah, I'd be down there complaining-and my kid would face some pretty heavy consequences for disobeying a standing house rule at home.

 

 

 

 

 

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It depends.

 

If it's school-promoted, I would expect to give my consent for my minor child to be excused to go off-campus. There would be liability issues if something should happen to the child at the activity and the parents assumed the child was still in school. If my permission wasn't requested, I'd raise a major stink.

 

If the school didn't promote it and the kids just left, that's another story. They're truant in my book, and there would be consequences.

 

My decision has nothing to do with the nature of any particular protest, but safety. If my kid is supposed to be on campus in class, that is where I expect him/her to be. Field trips require permission slips.

 

Edited to add: Again, if we're talking middle school, that's about 11 years old.

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For me it would depend on 1) the issue and 2) the number of kids involved. I would be more upset with my kid for not clearing it with me in advance than anything. I would not expect a school to physically restrain kids at 12-14 yo and locking doors is a fire hazard. You may be able to deter a handful of kids, you cannot stop a hoard.

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I would want my middle schooler to let me know what he is doing via text or phone. I might or might not join him. FWIW, the 10th grade Latin class of which I was a member (long, long ago), walked out of school to agitate for a student smoking lounge. (Long, long, long time ago) I didn't go as I was a goody two shoes, but I can guarantee that students didn't line up at a phone booth (told you it was a long time ago) to let their parents know.

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I would give my child a high five. I'm trying to raise my daughter to do this kind of thing when she thinks it's the right thing to do. And by middle school I think my child would be able to walk somewhere with her hypothetical class and back again.

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I can't imagine schools allowing that for that age, but maybe it's because it wouldn't happen for a middle schooler here. Even at the high school level, they have to be 16 or older with a signed excuse on file with a parent or guardian's signature. I know some parents who sign it for the whole school year, and others who do it just for a day. Those who are 18 or older are exempt of course.

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when my oldest was in middle school I had to sign a permission slip just for her to ride a bus a mile down the road to spend two hours at the high school for orientation. There is no way I would ok with my kid going to protest anything without my knowledge or permission.

 

Now, if the school had created some sort of field trip or something for it, and permission slips come home and there is some sort of educational value as well as the option to keep my kid home, I would be ok with that, depending generally on what the protest was.

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I would be upset, I think, because I don't think it's appropriate for the school to allow that at that age.  Kids are pretty susceptible at that age too, and if their friends are doing it, they might do it just because....  If I believed that it were for the right cause, I might secretly be proud of her, but I still don't think it's the middle school's business to let things like that happen during school hours.  And the safety issue is a big deal.  There could be violence at a protest, for example.

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I would be fine with it, but they would have to take the consequences of unexcused absences or missed assignments. 

 

Me, too.  But in Jr High, I lived in a city and was used to walking a mile to school, by 9th grade was allowed to go off campus for lunch, travelled on city buses to my friend's houses after school and hung out at the local mall with friends.  Particularly if my child had a cell phone, I would not be overly upset.  But, yes, they would have to take the consequences of such a decision.

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In our town they don't let kids leave school without a parent checking them out. The orthodontist and dentist is within walking distance of school and they don't allow kids to go to their appointment alone.  

 

I probably would want my middle schooler in school during the day unless I was able to be at the protest with him.  Not sure a middle schooler has the life experience to know when a protest might turn ugly.  Now, if a teacher volunteered to attend with the students as a sort of field trip and the parents were informed ahead of time, sure.  If it's a last minute thing the kids could call a parent to get a verbal ok. 

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I don't know. I do know that students were allowed to leave campus unsupervised during school hours.

 

What I do know is when my child was in public middle school she was not allowed to leave campus during the day unless I came into the building and picked her up. One time I was going to be late picking her up so I told her to wait on a bench after school. She wasn't allowed to wait outside unattended and had to go into aftercare until I go there.

 

I can't even imagine there being such a thing as aftercare for a middle school student. By that age I was home alone often, riding my bike to and from by myself. 

 

The only part of this scenario that would upset me is if the student was somewhere I didn't know about and didn't expect them to be. If they notified me ahead of time, or called and told me, then fine. I'd meet them there if I thought it was an unsafe place to be, say a major citywide protest versus students and teachers only. 

 

I participated in a few walk outs and protests as a student. It was fine. 

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At the middle schools in my area, there are multiple exits, and there's simply no way to watch them all. I wouldn't expect the schools to even try - if we as a city trust our kids to get to and from school ourselves (and we mostly do) then we have to trust them to stay inside the building during the day.

 

I'd encourage the kid to continue to stand up for herself, but remind her to let adults KNOW before leaving one place to go to another unplanned... and perhaps also hammer down a bit on the "your education is important/safety first" message.

 

I'm assuming, of course, that the school did not sanction this. If this was school sanctioned, then I need to know some serious context. I generally feel it is inappropriate for schools to coerce political behavior - which means no to encouraging protests. However, there may be some exceptions, and I will not attempt to make a list of possible exceptions here.

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I would give my child a high five. I'm trying to raise my daughter to do this kind of thing when she thinks it's the right thing to do. And by middle school I think my child would be able to walk somewhere with her hypothetical class and back again.

If your daughter did this and was subsequently injured or killed somehow, would you hold the school at all responsible for it?

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Mine is older, so I'm trying to think back:

If the school sent or took the student to this protest, I would have expected to be informed and signed a permission slip.  I would be upset that that didn't happen, but I guess how upset would depend on how much I trusted the school.

If the school knew the student left and didn't contact me, I would be upset.  I think that is their responsibility. They a in loco parentis, so should let me know if they aren't in charge anymore.

If the student skipped school and no one noticed, that's on the student (and possibly the school, but not every class takes attendance at that age.)

 

If it were my kid, they should have informed me via text or phone or carrier pigeon where they would be.  I would be upset if they didn't do that no matter the event.

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I would be fine with it, but they would have to take the consequences of unexcused absences or missed assignments. 

 

Exactly this. Civil disobedience is not an issue to me, but it does mean you think through and accept the consequences. 

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If your daughter did this and was subsequently injured or killed somehow, would you hold the school at all responsible for it?

 

How would it be different if they were killed walking to school or walking home for lunch? The school's responsibility is while they're in the building in the classrooms. For young grades, we have playground supervisors etc & the children can't leave. By late elem, those kids are not supervised during breaks. If a child didn't come back after a break, the school would notify the parents via phone call for middle school. By high school, they don't call right away, just note an absence. 

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If your daughter did this and was subsequently injured or killed somehow, would you hold the school at all responsible for it?

 

No. Because as others have said, how do you stop a middle schooler from leaving if they're determined to? Physically restrain them? Tie them up?

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Protests can get very dangerous very fast. That would be my main concern about a middle schooler attending one without adult supervision and a "get out of there fast" plan if things started to go badly.

 

If he broke school or family rules, then I would have a discussion with him about why it's important not to just run off and break those rules even though he thinks it's for a good cause.

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Let's also say that middle school students walk out en masse. Even if teachers were hypothetically restraining them, they couldn't hold them all back. So then, of course, they need to notify parents. Again, if you have to notify a large group of parents, and you have a limited number of staff (some of whom are still with the students who didn't leave) and phone lines, it could take a little while to call everyone, and then there's no guarantee that you're even going to be able to reach every single parent. 

Of course I wouldn't want my student leaving and putting themselves into a potentially dangerous situation, but logistically I can see how the school could be quickly rendered helpless to prevent it. 

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I would want to be notified by my kid if they were leaving to go somewhere and who was there with them. If they do not have a phone they need to ask to use someone else's phone. I would not mind them feeling strongly about an issue and feeling compelled to protest and actually would like that but I would not want them to leave and me having no way of knowing where they are.

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I am rather surprised at how many kids would be ok with that.

 

This last week or so, there has been violence at many protests.  NOW TO BE CLEAR...I am not saying that all these protests are violent or that most protestors have been violent...not saying that at all.  BUT, at many protests, small groups of people have used the protest as an excuse to commit illegal acts.  There's no way I would trust an 11 or 12 yr old to be able to make a proper risk assessment of these situations, or to know what to do should someone start to get crazy.

 

How is a school supposed to prevent a kid from leaving...um, lock the doors? Don't most schools lock the doors during the day?  After Sandy Hook, every school my kids have attended have locked ALL the doors during the school day, requiring everyone to be buzzed in and out.  I am surprised there are places that don't do that.  But even if you don't, a simple announcement that says something like "we do not support students leaving in the middle of the day and all students found absent without a valid note from mom/dad/doc/whatever" will receive Saturday School/Detention/ISS/whatever and your parents will IMMEDIATELY be called" should probably curb most of it. 

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If I lived in my home country, I  would consider it normal for kids to leave the school and be out and about independently.

Since I know that in this country schools provide an extreme level of supervision, I would be irritated that they let kids leave without notifying parents because they are normally so anal about this.

However, if this was a teacher accompanied event, I would have no problems.

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If I lived in my home country, I  would consider it normal for kids to leave the school and be out and about independently.

Since I know that in this country schools provide an extreme level of supervision, I would be irritated that they let kids leave without notifying parents because they are normally so anal about this.

However, if this was a teacher accompanied event, I would have no problems.

 

Yeah I have a hard time believing that the schools allowed it. 

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I would be overjoyed to see young people exercising their rights and having the gumption to literally break out of the box for once. I am very concerned about the upcoming generation's lack of willingness to question authority.

 

I would be very, very thankful that nothing bad had happened.

 

And I would get my kid a phone immediately, if he didn't have one, and teach him to call me if he's changing his location. Every time. I need to know where my minor child is, even if he's temporarily throwing off whatever form of supervision I'm assuming he was under.

 

Less happy about middle school vs high school, but I was babysitting, biking for transportation, etc by then...they're not babies..

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I am rather surprised at how many kids would be ok with that.

 

This last week or so, there has been violence at many protests.  NOW TO BE CLEAR...I am not saying that all these protests are violent or that most protestors have been violent...not saying that at all.  BUT, at many protests, small groups of people have used the protest as an excuse to commit illegal acts.  There's no way I would trust an 11 or 12 yr old to be able to make a proper risk assessment of these situations, or to know what to do should someone start to get crazy.

 

How is a school supposed to prevent a kid from leaving...um, lock the doors? Don't most schools lock the doors during the day?  After Sandy Hook, every school my kids have attended have locked ALL the doors during the school day, requiring everyone to be buzzed in and out.  I am surprised there are places that don't do that.  But even if you don't, a simple announcement that says something like "we do not support students leaving in the middle of the day and all students found absent without a valid note from mom/dad/doc/whatever" will receive Saturday School/Detention/ISS/whatever and your parents will IMMEDIATELY be called" should probably curb most of it. 

I think it is against fire codes to lock anyone into a public building. Most schools are locked on the outside, yes, but the doors can still be opened from the inside for safe egress in case of emergency. 

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Protests can get very dangerous very fast. That would be my main concern about a middle schooler attending one without adult supervision and a "get out of there fast" plan if things started to go badly.

 

If he broke school or family rules, then I would have a discussion with him about why it's important not to just run off and break those rules even though he thinks it's for a good cause.

 

Yes, the more I thought about this, that would be my concern too.

I used to work in downtown D.C., and it was not uncommon for me to have to walk through demonstrations to go to work.

 

Sometimes I felt very uneasy doing that, and there were indeed times that coworkers got stuck in the crowd when the police were involved. It can be a scary situation to have angry people around you.

 

Some of them were fine though. I went to work on the day of the "Million Man March" and met some truly delightful people on the subway who had travelled great distances to be there. My gut was that it would be fine, and it was, but many of my coworkers stayed home.

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Not trying to be political. Please don't go there!

 

(This didn't happen to me, but in my area.)

 

I genuenily want to know what you would do if your middle school child was allowed to leave campus, during school hours, walk downtown and protest with 5000+ other students & adults. Crowd was mostly high school students.

 

I know what I would do and without telling my husband he had the exact same response but I'd like to know how others would react. Middle school is 6th-8th grade.

 

Not acceptable. Sorry, kid.  Your own time is your time and I will respect that. 

 

Your school time is not your own time.  You stay in school during school time.  Want to protest after school?  Fine. 

 

If you are asking what I think of the school for not stopping it, then I think that's wrong.  They can't just walk out.  They are on your watch.   

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Mine is older, so I'm trying to think back:

If the school sent or took the student to this protest, I would have expected to be informed and signed a permission slip.  I would be upset that that didn't happen, but I guess how upset would depend on how much I trusted the school.

If the school knew the student left and didn't contact me, I would be upset.  I think that is their responsibility. They a in loco parentis, so should let me know if they aren't in charge anymore.

If the student skipped school and no one noticed, that's on the student (and possibly the school, but not every class takes attendance at that age.)

 

If it were my kid, they should have informed me via text or phone or carrier pigeon where they would be.  I would be upset if they didn't do that no matter the event.

 

In our school district, if a kid is tardy to a class, you get a call (at the end of the day). So yes, I'd be upset if my kid was off campus and the school was unaware of it.  I can understand the point that if a crowd of kids were doing this, the school may not be capable of stopping them all. But I'd expect they were doing what they could.  and certainly not encouraging it.

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I think it is against fire codes to lock anyone into a public building. Most schools are locked on the outside, yes, but the doors can still be opened from the inside for safe egress in case of emergency. 

Genuinely, in this day and age, I didn't think this was still a concern?  Fire exits, clearly marked, almost always trigger fire alarms in most buildings I have seen.  Getting out that way would set off the alarms in the whole school and wouldn't exactly get a student out without consequences. 

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Genuinely, in this day and age, I didn't think this was still a concern?  Fire exits, clearly marked, almost always trigger fire alarms in most buildings I have seen.  Getting out that way would set off the alarms in the whole school and wouldn't exactly get a student out without consequences. 

 

And what happens during a power failure? 

I don't think it is safe to lock a building from the inside. 

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Let's also say that middle school students walk out en masse. Even if teachers were hypothetically restraining them, they couldn't hold them all back. So then, of course, they need to notify parents. Again, if you have to notify a large group of parents, and you have a limited number of staff (some of whom are still with the students who didn't leave) and phone lines, it could take a little while to call everyone, and then there's no guarantee that you're even going to be able to reach every single parent. 

 

Of course I wouldn't want my student leaving and putting themselves into a potentially dangerous situation, but logistically I can see how the school could be quickly rendered helpless to prevent it. 

 

This. As long as the school tried to stop them by telling them the consequences ("You may not leave campus or you will be suspended"), I don't know what else the school should do to prevent it. Our middle school used to chain the doors shut. I always wondered what the heck we'd do if the place burned. 

 

I would be ticked at my middle schooler if s/he did not have my permission to leave school, and I'd support the school's punishment (as long as it was laid out beforehand in the handbook and not a knee jerk increase)

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Our middle school had a no-leaving-campus policy. I would expect that to be enforced. Our high school, OTOH, allowed students to leave during the school day and I would think it would be fine. I think the question would be consistency.

 

Were all the students who left to protest marked as absent or tardy and given the normal punishments? If not, I'd have a problem with that, too.

 

Emily

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We get robocalls and sms text very fast. When the local school was on lockdown, everyone with kids in K-12th knew within minutes.

 

We are far from downtown and to get there involve walking on the freeway itself since a few portions have no sidewalk.

 

We also have police cars on site because of vandalism by students on neighboring properties.

 

My kids assigned middle school is bad enough that people pay for 3 years of private school if they can't get into a public charter school. If the middle school students do a walk out, they would likely get city police cars and California highway patrol out to make sure they don't block the freeways. We have plenty of texting while driving people as well as beat the red light people here so people walking onto roads and freeways risk injuries.

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Rock on kid, rock on. Had my child been enrolled in a public school here in Seattle FT, I imagine he would have gone. He has a bus pass and knows how to get home from Downtown so I would not be upset. I also know my son would have told me in advance of his plan or contacted me via phone to let me know where he was. I also know that he would only go of it was something he felt passionate about. He's not the kid who will just do what the other kids are doing to do it...I have ample evidence of that.

 

Not all education takes place in a classroom.

 

And there is absolutely nothing taught in a single afternoon of school that is unmissable or more important than civic action.

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