School Rules For Fools

25/03/2013 11:23

When I was in high school, there were many things I did not agree with – certain rules that I thought were too much to ask, too much to expect - things that were just plain unfair. For the entire duration of my high school career, “grown-ups” told me that one day, when I am all grown up, I will understand why those rules were important and what value they added to a child’s upbringing. Well, it’s been a while out of school for me now, and truth be told? No, I still don’t get it. I’m still waiting for the realization to dawn upon me as to why I was held captive in a disciplinary prison for 5 whole years of my life.

And now, instead of feeling sorry for my peers and myself, I feel sorry for every poor generation that must endure the wrath of the schooling world. Now having been born in England and grown up there, spending most of my schooling career there (apart from high school) I can honestly say that South African schools are more hectic with rules and regulations. I know that there are several exceptions, but I am talking about the majority, in particular, religious schools (especially catholic)

Naturally certain rules are necessary; equality and no tolerance of racism, bullying or prejudice etc. Let me fill you in on exactly what I am talking about.

-       Slicking your hair back everyday into a bun so tight your lungs almost feel the pain of your hair not being able to breathe.

-       Having to wear “summer” uniform even when winter has clearly come early, and similarly having to wear winter uniform still, even when summer has dawned upon us earlier than expected (torture).

-       Being forced to do P.E when you simply do not wish too. Simple as that. Or, if you are a woman experiencing “that time of the month” and you are told exercise will help to ease the pain. Um, coming from someone who has had severe period pains my entire life; I can tell you that this is utter poppycock.

-       Being forced to choose your official final subjects when you are only 15-16. Unless you have known your entire life, most children of this age do not in fact know what they’re futures hold for them or what they want to pursue as a career. I sure didn’t. If I had known back then, I would not have struggled through geography or biology, as I do not require either of these to operate a camera or editing software (unless biology was to teach anatomy of computers and cameras) this is unfair and unnecessary pressure for children at such a tender and fragile stage in life. Why not let them choose just before Matric, at least?

-       Not being allowed to wear one ounce of makeup - and God forbid you are caught with a strand of last night’s mascara still dwelling on your eye lashes, and face the rath of your teacher, humiliating you in front of the entire class and forced to remove every last ounce in the nurses office. Similarly, if caught wearing nail polish, you are “trashing the school’s good name” and look like a night walker. So, it is the intention for us to look like unattractive, self-loathing robotic clones?

-       Having to wear your skirt so long that if it is so much as 1cm above your kneecap, you are declared “slutty” and made to pull it down in front of everyone. Or being suspended for 3 days if you are found to have your shirt un-tucked, saying, again, that you are trashing the school’s name. Um, how are you always supposed to know your shirt is un-tucked?? Unless you walk around looking at your feet the whole day like a reclusive emo kid.

-       Having your class notes checked to see if you have been listening, and scold you if your notes are inadequate (Varsity has it right – if you don’t wanna listen, it’s your problem)

-       And on a similar note, getting into trouble if caught daydreaming or not listening, and being asked on the spot what the teacher was just saying. Followed by um-ing and ah-ing, drooling and blushing, and a satisfied teacher enjoying your humiliation and suffering. Not cool. We all daydream every now and then, and it should not be a crime worthy of  capital punishment.

-       How about when a child puts his or her hand up in class (oh, the amount of times this happened to me) to ask whether they may attend the bathroom, only to be told NO! And to sit back down and wait for the bell to ring. Now pardon me, but needing to pee is a non-negotiable topic (as are other things you may need to do in there) When you gotta go, you gotta go, and who is a school teacher to tell you that you may not? Just to maintain discipline? Well then, if those children’s bladders explode or they get some ugly disastrous infection, they should be able to sue those teachers that would not let them relieve their bladders. Simple as that. (Some schools even have systems of “bathroom passes” in place. Really? I need a ticket to go do my business? Limits people, limits.)

-       One of my personal favourites, requiring a doctor’s note if you are at home for the day. ESPECIALLY on a Monday and Friday, as this is suspicious – is it a sneaky way to get a long weekend? Nope. Have you ever gotten a cold or the flu, and felt way too horrific to go to school, yet you know how to medicate and get better without the assistance of a medical professional? Must we go to our GP every…single…time we get a cold, just to be told the SAME thing and be prescribed the SAME medication? What a waste of money! All just to give the school reassurance that you are not bunking.

To conclude: I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Now obviously there are such a vast majority of rules in order to instill discipline in children’s and teenager’s minds – yet more than is actually necessary. Set them free a little bit, so that their high school careers are not just one tunnel of imprisoned depression. You never know, they might actually end up doing better and being more successful with just a little bit of wings (and no, I’m not talking about red bull)


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