Recent Vandalism Symptom of Parental Failure

Joelle Nelson, Editor in Chief

A number of disturbing incidents representative of a sadly surly and disrespectful attitude among too many teens have recently plagued our community.

Incidents of shop lifting, property destruction, and human cruelty have all been covered by La Puma in recent weeks.

This unfortunate behavior on the part of Lamorinda’s youth is a symptom of a larger problem: Complicit parents.

Administrators are limited in how they can respond when they find a student destroying school property, so they turn to “restorative” justice.  Actual punishment is avoided as the parents of these ill-tempered teens would rather sue than allow their children to face appropriate discipline, and maybe learn that actions do, in fact, have consequences.

So, a student goes into the bathroom, breaks a soap dispenser and floods the floor by stopping up a sink. A janitor finds it, administration tracks down the culprit. Student is dragged out of class and slapped with a task like helping the janitor clean up the mess. The school pays to replace the damaged dispenser.

The student goes home, and parent supports the student’s life choices.

Parent continues to donate money to MEF.

Sense of entitlement continues.

The same cycle can be found at the middle school level. At Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (JM) a student breaks too many rules and thus, privileges like attending the class trip to Washington D.C is revoked.

In comes the angry parent, always ready to mobilize at the slightest attempt at discipline.

Instead of accepting a refund for the pre-paid expense, the parent demands the student attend the trip. The message is clear: Money trumps moral values.

In this neighborhood, whether something is right or wrong is determined by a family’s level of income, or baring that, the extent to which parents are willing to disrupt the system by spearheading an avalanche of well-orchestrated outrage.

Is it really any wonder so many Campolindo students step off the high school precipice socially and morally unprepared for the expectations of a world without a parental safety net?

I love my parents, and I know they only have my best interests in mind, but sometimes they have to let me fail and face the consequences.

Parents are failing their kids precisely when they don’t let them have this essential learning experience.

We exercise our own agency in every decision we make, even the bad ones.  We can’t let our parents shelter us from the consequences, no matter their intentions. Being held accountable for our actions is a critical aspect of growing up.

For all of the outstanding academic instruction offered by our well-funded schools, the community still has some work to do in addressing the social and emotional needs of its students.