Should he be allowed to attend graduation?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by mincc, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Can you say more about this? Do you mean that someone on this thread stated something self-evident? Or that people tend to view their own beliefs as right (or self-evident)? Thx..
     
  2. TeacherGroupie

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    That people as a class, including yours truly, tend to view their own beliefs as self-evident.
     
  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Whenever any of us has something we believe strongly in-- it's hard to see why others can't or won't believe the same thing. It doesn't matter which side of what issue you're on: if you feel strongly, you probably believe that your point of view is undeniable.

    I don't get the impression that TG was referring to one or the other side of this issue.
     
  4. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I am in class; my students are taking a test. Our discussion tonight was amazing; every student participated and all are agreed: this decision was wrong, these people are foolish, but all in all? "Oh well."

    In this class I have Francie, who has been battling cancer for three years and has been given only a few more months to live. I have Roger, who broke his back in October of his senior year and missed all but the last month of class. I have Cecelie, whose immune system is so compromised, she has to wear a kind of mask when she is in a large group. I have Mark, who has cystic fibrosis and ended up getting a GED because he was too far behind to even consider trying to graduate with his class. The rest of the class is "normal," in that they have suffered only the ordinary griefs and tragedies and setbacks that being alive requires.

    Not one student in tonight's class agrees with this board's decision. They all think that in a few years this boy will be embarrassed at being allowed this "privilege" that he did not deserve. However, they all also agreed that when a family is in crisis, they often become obsessed with trying to make sure their afflicted one is exposed to every experience possible, and that the judgement of these families is quite often flawed because of their closeness to the situation. Final analysis: Step back, sigh, shake our heads, and let them have their way. "In a few years, this guy will be where we are now, and he'll understand how silly he and his family have behaved."

    I asked: "Do you believe that exceptions should be made for some people, when it comes to graduation?

    Every single one of them said, almost in unison, "Why?"
     
  5. TeacherShelly

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    I am such a curious person, I always ask myself, "How could an otherwise smart and reasonable person believe that?" I ask it with genuine curiosity because there is always a bit to flip that will make their pov make sense. I don't do this so I can change my mind, but so I can open my mind.
     
  6. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I know what you are saying Shelly. There are two kinds of people in the world. The people who see everything logically and do everything strictly by the book. They follow rules to the "t."
    The other type of persons are the ones who think with their hearts. They don't ALWAYS follow the rules because their hearts won't let them. I am a rule breaker all the way. My heart stands in the way.
    Now let's try and keep in mind that just because the "logical" people find it important to stick to the rules at no cost, doesn't mean that they are unkind or mean. They have been known to do some very amazingly kinds things for others, just so long as NO rules are broken in the process. The rules are made to be followed.
    The people who think with their hearts, are prone to be so sad for people in distress(especially children it seems,) that they would break every rule in the book to make them feel better. They choose to take their chances and love so hard that their hearts break to pieces at the thought of causing any more suffering for those who are already hurting.
    If you feel that I am pointing a finger at YOU (whoever feels that way,) then you are misreading my post and your heart might not be in the right place? I did not slam anyone in this post and there is no need to be offended. I feel what I said is fair and correct.
    As for this discussion turning into name calling and arguing,how about this. Take a deep breath and call it a day.
    If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch, or the couch or the backyard, but don't discourage people from posting how they feel.
     
  7. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jun 18, 2007

    Does it have to be a line? How about a border line? (an imaginary line on a map)
    They should be Guide lines with room for discretion.

    The passion shown here was fantastic just shows how dedicated teachers are.
     
  8. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    My "lines" would be taking a lot of detours.
     
  9. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Many years ago, my brother was allowed to "walk" with the class but did not receive diploma until 2 classes were finished - they were never finished, he never did receive his diploma. Yet he was given the chance to have the experience of moving on with his group. Nobody got anything more or less from him walking with his class and/or not finishing his work.

    A couple weeks ago I attended our local graduation. Yeah for all the kids who made it by the skin of their teeth! Yeah for all the kids who were at the top of their class! Yeah for the girl who was offered a total of 1.5 million dollars in scholarships! Yeah for the girl who almost died in a car wreck last year and was graduating a year late, in a wheelchair, to a standing ovation. And over in the corner, the guy who did not get to walk with his class, yet he had the strength of character to show up and cheer on his classmates. You can tell by talking to him that he is rather simple and a little slow. What is his story? I don't know. But whatever it is, it made me sad and proud at the same time. He will never be able to recapture that special experience of turning the page to a new phase of life. All the rah-rah would have gone on even if he had been seated in cap and gown. It wouldn't take anything away from all the rest of the group.

    I'm cheered by the board's decision. Life is not black and white, it is very very messy.
     
  10. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I don't understand why this student was not part of the ceremony. Most likely he had an IEP, so should he not have gotten a certificate of completion rather than a diploma?
     
  11. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    So well stated I just had to print it again.
     
  12. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Proud2Be - I don't know his situation. He is in a non-academic class with my daughter and works at a local store part time. I don't think he has an IEP but I don't know. He is either super shy and tongue-tied like some boys are at that age, or he is a little on the slow side. My daughter pointed him out to me and she didn't know why he wasn't graduating.

    Mostly kids who don't make the requirements here to graduate, don't show up for school the next year. They are just too embarassed. I think there are some other avenues they can take to finish up, but for them, high school is over, just like for those in the ceremony.
     
  13. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    We don't really know the entire situation but they let him walk, he's happy, the parents are happy and the school is happy so it seems. Was it the right decision, who knows but it seems to have ended well.
     
  14. Amers

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    Jun 18, 2007

    I just wanted to say, I have really enjoyed following this thread. It has been interesting reading everyone's different opinions on such a controversial subject!
     
  15. JustMe

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    Jun 18, 2007

    Maybe with this post I'll be finished here...

    I suppose one reason I'm glad the person of conversation was able to walk is because I'm not too wrapped up in the argument that he didn't "earn" his degree. Let's be honest: how much did I have to do to "earn" my degree? Not much. I took honors classes and one AP class, but mostly I took ag and art classes. I worked on the farm growing up, but then at fifteen I started working upwards of 40 hours a week for a public job. School was not my priority. It couldn't be. We were poor and we needed money. I came to school most days, but missed quite a few of out pure exhaustion. And then, I repeat, most of my classes were complete jokes. Waste of time. Pathetic.

    So, there is a decent chance that already this boy has done more actual course work than I did. And I know I'm not alone. The school system I grew up through was "simple" and not challenging. I guess I just feel that if I wasn't held to super-high standards then there is no reason to claim he would cheapen the walk (not to intentionally bring that back up). High school is important, but it is high school...no one is earning a doctorate there. Then again, that is a problem with the education system - there is no true standard. Maybe my " high school culture" differs greatly from others. Students graduated not being able to really read. My cousin, who is my age and was certainly not an IEP student, can't to this day tell you the months in order. Well, my thoughts on this are just too complicated for a discussion board...I don't think I'm adequately expressing my feelings... I just feel pretty confident that others graduated and walked the stage today who gave much less effort and learned much less than the boy we're discussing.


    The issue of name-calling has been brought up a couple of times, and I either missed something or it connects to my "cold" comment. This is my opinion: There are many, many people in this world who would love to be the one to tell this boy to his face that he can't walk. It would bring them great pleasure and just make their day - because they would be pissed off that someone got something that they didn't. No questions asked, no consideration - case closed, go home, hook up to your IV and do some math. I find that cold, compassionless. That, my friends, is my opinion. I'm not saying you're going to Hell, but on my personal compassion-o-meter, that falls on the "lack-of" side. We all have different perspectives as to what compassion is.
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Bonneb:

    At my HS Graduation (100 years ago) there was a 21 year old student named Mark. Mark had Downs Syndrome. Mark had taken 8 years to successfully complete what most of his classmates did in 4 or less. Mark was in a couple of my classes, and he worked his butt off. When he finally earned his diploma it was amazing. Not only did he receive a FIVE MINUTE standing ovation when he walked across the stage, but you could see the joy and pride of accomplishment in his entire physical demeanor. I was and have remained impressed at the sheer amount of will power and work that it took Mark to finally achieve his goal. Because he earned it, and it was not given to him under any guises of pity, he had a real source of pride.

    This has been a beautiful and interesting conversation. I have been fascinated by the differing points of view. Isn't that what makes us more interesting than the other primates?
     
  17. mincc

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  18. TeacherGroupie

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    This is certainly an opinion, and quite forcefully and colorfully put. But now I am puzzled: I had thought that one of the roles of a teacher is to teach and model civil discourse and respect even for those who hold opposing viewpoints. Have I missed something?
     
  19. TeacherShelly

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    "A triumph of perseverence," said his neighbor, father of another graduating senior. That's a perfectly acceptable alternative way of looking at it (alternative to seeing it as an unearned privilege).

    How about seeing the shades of gray? Just a suggestion to the general reader :)
     
  20. Sagette

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    I didn't read through all the thread, so forgive me if this has already been mentioned. But at my college graduation, there were people who "walked" even though they were a few credits shy of the actual degree. This was with the understanding that they would be completing the requirements by the end of the summer sessions. And these students had not been dealing with a life threatening illness, I know one was just lazy and didn't attempt to finish the requirements in a timely manner. I don't understand why this is even an issue as the student is planning on finishing the credits over the summer.
     
  21. TeacherShelly

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    With all respect, if you wish to understand why some people take issue, just read through the thread. Some are trying to help others open up to their point of view. Not to change your mind, just to help you understand their view. FWIW, I agree with you.
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    QUOTE: "This is certainly an opinion, and quite forcefully and colorfully put. But now I am puzzled: I had thought that one of the roles of a teacher is to teach and model civil discourse and respect even for those who hold opposing viewpoints. Have I missed something?"

    Have you missed something? More like, have I missed something? Because I really cannot believe that one would take such offense to me being honest by stating that there are cold, heartless people in the world. No one in the DB has said anything like what I described, but I know that there are people who feel this way. I personally know people who feel this way. Period.

    There are people who see the "Feed the Children" commercials and say to themselves, or out loud, that as long as those starving, bloating children are in Africa then they couldn't care less. There are people, when they hear of tragedies, such as an entire family burning in a house fire, say that God is punishing them and the world for sins. There are cold people in this world. That is quite a nice term, if you ask me. It is NOT disrespectful for me to feel this way. I was clear that it is not as though I think "cold" people are horrible, but we have different perspectives on the world.

    Relating to this topic specifically, I do not think that anyone is necessarily cold purely for thinking that this boy should not have walked at graduation. Please reread that sentence, because it is very true of my feelings. Those, however, who would take pleasure in dismissing his request - because there are people who would - have a place in their heart which for whatever reason is scarred.

    So, if you want to pull the "teacher card" and make it as though I perhaps wouldn't model respect, that is fine. I'm completely comfortable in my abilities as a teacher, and I know without question that when students leave my hands they are able to defend their positions on issues, yet accept those from others which differ from theirs, they are more understanding, respectful, and yes - compassionate people.
     
  23. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Your suppose to be your a preschool teacher!:D
     
  24. TeacherShelly

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    JustMe, do you make room for the possibility that those people who would take pleasure in dismissing his request might do so because they believe it is for a higher and good purpose? For example, some people have given whole class discussions on this subject and conclude that this young man will soon feel rotten and down that he didn't earn his walk. This is their considered opinion and unanimous concensus. Would you consider that pleasure, in sparing him a later regret, cold? FWIW, I think the idea that anyone knows what another will or should ultimately feel is pretty arrogant. And I also inferred some strong judgemental implications. But that is my interpretation and my opinion.
     
  25. JustMe

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    1. I think my idea of "taking pleasure" in this scenario is not the same as yours.

    2. I'm confused by a couple of your statements towards the end, so I'm going to leave this be and eat some spaghetti.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It may be true that some people would want to tell that to that boy; I have no idea. But I saw none of that here. A number of us expressed the opinion that graduation should be about academic acheivement, not beating life's tragedies Yet a number of people have somehow twisted that into having it in for this particular boy, or being cold or not "running with the big dogs"... whatever that means.

    I speak only for myself: I wish all the best to the boy in question, and to all the kids I mentioned who are all struggling against cruelly unfortunate circumstances. Whether or not that makes me a candiate for Hell is between me, my priest and God.
     
  27. TeacherShelly

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    Well... now you're just making me hungry ;)

    I think I know what you mean, though. I've seen people line up to be the one to deliver bad news. It's disgusting. I was trying to see if you could accept the idea that maybe (just maybe) someone who seems so cold might not be simply evil, but instead, might have a different way of thinking about it. I like you, and I'm not trying to say you're wrong. I'm just pushing this for some unknown reason... hahaha.

    I will try to clarify my confusing statements if you want.
     
  28. JustMe

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    The spaghetti is boiling, so I have a few minutes. Why do I keep coming back to this? :)

    Alice: I know that no one on this discussion board implied that they were ruthless diploma-guards. I was speaking in general. I thought I said that at some point, but perhaps I did not.

    Oh, and I think you sincerely misinterpreted the comment about Hell, or perhaps I misinterpreted your reponse. I didn't mean that sarcastically, I meant that I REALLY didn't think that meant someone would go to Hell just because they "failed my compassion test".

    TeacherShelly: That is exactly what I mean...while most people don't want to be the bearer of bad news, some "get their kicks" that way. Additionally - yes, some people would feel comfortable in the decision to say no because they could imagine in the future it would be best choice for the student. I imagine that is how those in Mamacita's class feel. I was referring to those bitter people; those who say, "If I'm going down, you're coming down with me" - that type of attitude.

    Whewww...I hope my dinner is ready!
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Again, I saw none of that in our discussion of what should qualify for graduation. All I saw, at least in the beginning, was a discussion of whether there should be a waiver of the academic requirements to "walk" at graduation.

    Now this thing has a life of its own.

    And, again, I stand by my opinion. Cherry Hill is a big district. Next year or the year after, there will be another equally tragic story. Someone else will want the requirements waived. Only this time there will be a precedent I think the professionals on the school board will be sorry they caved into public pressure.

    Again, perhaps that makes me a candidate for hell.
     
  30. JustMe

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    This has been a great discussion. Over and out.
     
  31. Mamacita

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    I did not notice 'bitter people' who wanted everybody to go down with the ship. I saw only concerned people who wanted fairness for all, and nothing that wasn't earned. And we all define "fairness" differently.
     
  32. JustMe

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    For the love of God, I thought I've made it clear a few times that I am not talking about specific people on this board, but instead people in the world's "general" population.

    I signed off this discussion, so why in the world did I even check back in. I'm going to get an ulcer! :)
     
  33. JenPooh

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    Did I read that he got to walk? If so, I'm happy for him. I think they should have let him. Why? Because it's not like he was a delinquent and random trouble maker who didn't care about school. His reasons for being behind are legitimate and being taken into consideration. I don't see how letting him simply walk is hurting anything. It's the diploma in hand, to me, that really matters. JMO.
     
  34. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    "Not running with the big dogs" is referring to the people on the forum who are always offended about everything everyone says and perhaps these people should sit in the living room and stare at the wall if they can't discuss and debate.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

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    Grammy, I'm confused. Can you please explain to me who you're trying to encourage to discuss and debate with this post?
     
  36. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    TG, you are confused. The porch is rather nice actually. It is clean and comfortable and if it's really your porch, no one can be allowed on it. However, if you do decide to get off the porch, be prepared for others to bug you now and then.
     
  37. Grammy Teacher

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    Good night everyone! Sleep well.
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  39. TeacherGroupie

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    I'd thought so too, but it seems that what's operating here is the politicians' definition of debate, where the object is not to air issues and come to an informed understanding but to cow the opposition into silence.
     
  40. jazzminjoy

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