Has the Lack of Discipline Led to a Lack of Manners?

Where have manners gone?  What about common decency? Courtesy?  I guess they've gone out of style. I posted about an incident at a local fast food restaurant in Should Discipline or Teaching Methods Change? , as well as, more comments about discipline (or the lack thereof).  A few days later a friend saw three teenagers in the park while she was on the walking trail. One of them was using the restroom in the park in full view of anyone who happened to be there. The other two were loud and belligerent when she told them that public restrooms were available. In fact, one of the teen- agers told her that they could do what they wanted where they wanted.  She moved on down the trail, passing a grandmother and her granddaughter. That is when she made the decision to call the police and report the incident.  They arrived too late to catch the group. The incident left her unnerved and angry. These events may sound like we live in a large city, but we live in a very small town. Less than 11,000 people live in our small community.  It wasn't so long ago that people would sleep with the windows open and forgetting to lock your front door didn't end in tragedy. Not that way any more. On a regular basis, teenagers have been caught vandalizing public property or engaging in  other "petty" crimes (actually in my book, no crime is petty).

About the time I heard of this incident, another friend told me of the changed discipline policy of her school district. Not changed for the better. In fact, more responsibility was being placed on the teacher and less on the students. Students faced little (or no) consequence for misbehavior. They are not being held accountable. Discipline has become a numbers game. It looks better on a district report to have fewer students sent to the office for discipline. The name of the game, Make it Look Good for the Main Office. So... in other words the teacher takes the blame, the child doesn't learn about taking responsibility, and the cycle continues.

Yes, teachers are to nurture and provide a safe learning environment for students, but they also have the Responsibility of teaching their students to be accountable.  The trend towards over indulgence and pampering has continued to escalate. Teachers are no longer allowed to send students to the office and schools that have administrators that support teachers are rare. Kids know this and parents even tell their children that there is nothing the teacher can do about inappropriate behavior.  Unfortunately, this trend is resulting in a mass exodus of dedicated, experienced teachers, AND young adults with no manners. Young adults who have a prejudiced world view. They think everyone owes them something and they can do whatever they want, wherever they want with a total disregard for anyone else (AKA sense of entitlement).

It is refreshing to see young adults (and older ones) that demonstrate common courtesy and manners. They should be commended on their actions and behavior when their peers are standing around with their hands out demanding their way.   I am old fashioned in many aspects, but to me, manners never go out of style. They should be taught, reinforced, and modeled. Our students need to see courtesy in action. They need to know that belligerent behavior is ugly.  Teachers need administrators that support their efforts to educate our students in social skills, even if it means a trip to the office.

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1 comment

  1. This phenomenon seems to be spreading over the globe; neither cities nor small towns. There must be a solution for that !


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