Silencing the children

When a South Carolina elementary school didn’t like how its students were behaving, it instituted a policy of complete silence. No talking in the halls or the cafeteria. At all. (Link from technomom)

From the article:

A committee of parents and teachers came up with the idea to thwart bad behavior and inappropriate conversations among students.

“I don’t know why, but during the last few years, they (students) haven’t had as much control of themselves,” said Meadowfield teacher Lisa Curtis, who chaired the committee.

Well, if you silence them instead of trying to talk to them, you’re not going to find out why, are you?

If students do a good job of keeping mum, they’ll soon be allowed to whisper. They’ll also get lessons on what’s appropriate conversation for school…

Stephens argues the policy is not as restrictive as critics think. Lunch is only 20 minutes. And most schools require silence in the hallways, she said.

This whole idea bothers me in so many ways I’m not sure which one to rant in first.

  • Starting with, what right does anyone have to try to silence anyone so completely?
  • And, how do we expect our kids to act respectful if we so clearly don’t respect them?
  • And, why do we work so hard to turn our schools into prisons that anyone with any sense can’t wait to grow up and escape from?
  • And, would any adult put up with or be expected to put up with such treatment, no matter how unruly their workplace?

But mostly I think there’s something very wrong with our attitude about children and society in general, that such a policy could even seem appealing. There are other ways to handle discipline and crowd control.

And there are worse things than noisy hallways.

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