Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rules, rules and more rules!

Welcome to school!
We recently received in the mail our school district's "Student Behavior Handbook: rights and responsibilities"... all 72 pages of it! It would appear their legal council has been involved and is borrowing heavily from other school districts.

Wow, who do you think reads and discusses all of this?  Likely not a single one of the students who will find themselves in the principal's office and later expelled because of misbehavior.

This handbook reminds me a bit of the detailed laws and consequences for "misbehavior" as defined in the Old Testament book of Leviticus.  When laws become so vast and ridged, it seems all of our life can be lived trying to abide by strict rules, rather than living fully and generously by grace.

It is troublesome when such vast handbooks are created that focus on punishment and all the things we're NOT to do, rather than focusing on what it is we CAN do; those things that would be in our personal and communal best interest.

This reminds me of the field of youth work that used to spend all of its time and focus on preventing problems; teen pregnancy, drug use, school delinquency and drop out, etc.  Thankfully there is now more focus on developing assets, not just avoiding trouble!

When asked to summarize the oppressive Law of his day Jesus took a positive approach, saying "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it: 'You shall love you neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

Wouldn't it be nice if our school district could summarize their student behavior handbook so succinctly...

1 comment:

  1. I was also disappointed by the amount of money that went into creating and mailing out the list of rules. Fear of litigation is so powerful.