Thursday, 21 March 2013

School Cancels Honors Night to Avoid Hurt Feelings

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A Massachusetts school principal has cancelled his school’s Honors Night in the belief that it would cause students who are not receiving an award to feel self-conscious and disappointed in themselves. According to Principal David Fabrizio of Ipswich Middle School, Honors Night could be “devastating” to the students who worked hard, but did not earn good enough grades to receive an award.

"The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients' families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade-point average," Fabrizio penned in a letter to parents.

Fabrizio asserted that he decided to cancel because academic success is often contingent upon support at home, which not all students are lucky enough to have.

Predictably, many parents are angered by the principal’s decision. "It's been a tradition in Ipswich, and you're very proud as a parent to see your child, as well as some of the other children who made, really, some great efforts," said one of the parents, Dave Morin.

“I am mortified at the comments Mr. Fabrizio made,” Facebook user Patti Rairden wrote on Wednesday. “Accomplishments should be recognized. They encourage more strides toward excellence.”

Another user, Joey Tiberio, wrote that it’s people like Fabrizio “that are killing this country.”

“Maybe it would encourage other students to work harder,” Nancy H. Murphy DelSignore wrote, referring to keeping Honors Night.

In response to criticism, Fabrizio defensively responded that he will include the honors ceremony in an end-of-the-year assembly where students will be recognized in front of the student body, rather than in a separate evening in front of families only.

“Ipswich Middle School is dedicated to high achievement in every facet of our students’ lives. We did not cancel honors recognition as erroneously reported by FOX News Boston,” he wrote. “We changed our Honors Night from an exclusive ceremony at night to an all-inclusive ceremony during the day in the presence of the entire student body.”

He continued, seemingly contradicting the letter he sent to parents explaining the change, “This isn’t the dumbing down of America. This isn’t everyone getting a trophy. The same kids who were honored before are being honored now.”

He now asserts that the change is an improvement because it will allow the students who have achieved good grades to be honored for their success and serve as positive examples to their peers. “We had a situation where our best students were being honored exclusively away from the rest of the school. The problem was, those who needed that motivation weren’t there,” Fabrizio told the IPSwich Chronicle.

Yet if the students who excelled were honored in a separate ceremony away from the other students, would that not actually prove to be less “devastating” to the students who don't get the awards, according to the principal's logic?

TheBlaze countered Fabrizio's new position: “On the flip side, there’s also the fact that holding an evening event was special and offered children who deserve praise the necessary accolades. By simply merging this event with the larger, end-of-year assembly, the unique nature of the awards disappears.”

The entire ordeal is reminiscent of the popular children’s film, The Incredibles, wherein superheroes were forced to go into hiding because their presence made average citizens feel inadequate. In an effort to abide by the new rules, the superhero mother tried teaching her superhero children to hide their heroic abilities, much to the chagrin of her children. During a heated discussion on the subject with her son, the mother argued, “Everybody’s special,” to which he astutely replied, “Which is another way of saying nobody’s special.”

Similar politically correct efforts to guard students from any negativity are pervading education systems across the world and are interfering with children’s educational development, as well as social development. In the United Kingdom, teachers are banning children from having best friends, forcing them instead to play in large groups.

"I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together," U.K.-based psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni told The Sun. "They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they're learning to deal with it."

While the effort is being touted as a means to protect students from hurt feelings, some psychologists believe that hurt feelings are a necessary component of growth. “I don’t see how you can stop people from forming close friendships. We make and lose friends throughout our lives,” asserts the organization The Campaign for Real Education, which advocates for more parental choice in state education. It adds that the “ridiculous” policy was robbing children of their childhood.

Spokesman Chris McGovern notes, “Children take things very seriously and if you tell them they can’t have a best friend it can be seriously damaging to them. They need to learn about relationships.”

A school district in Maryland outlawed hugs, classroom treats on birthdays, and handing out of party invitations at school if the entire class is not included.

All the political correctness prompted The Inquisitr to write:

Trying to sanitize our children’s lives from every harsh reality of life is both futile and counterproductive. Learning how to deal with little stumbling blocks prepares children for the hurdles they will face later on. I very distinctly remember my Dad explaining to us at an early age that life wasn’t fair. As a result, we never stomped our feet or threatened to hold our breath until our faces turned blue because of some perceived injustice that blatantly flew in the face of fairness.

Ipswich Middle School is just another fatality in the war on “hurt feelings” in our schools. The end-of-year assembly, which will now include the handing out of honor’s awards, is tentatively scheduled for the week of June 17.

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