About 12 years ago I was driving down Doctors Road heading to school after a meeting. It had been raining after a long period of dry weather. The car in front of me suddenly stopped at the roundabout despite there not being another car in sight. I slammed on my brakes and ever so slowly slid into the car in front of me just nudging its bumper bar and denting it. Flashing through my head were my Dad’s words when teaching me to drive to leave a greater gap between cars when its wet, particularly after a dry spell as the oil build up will make the road surface more slippery. I paid for a new bumper for the owner. I learned the hard way.
As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to keep our children safe and to help them learn responsibility. My father had done his best to help me to learn the easy way. He had told me exactly what would happen, just as it did. I had to unfortunately learn from experience.
We learn how to take on responsibility only by being given more and more responsibility and then paying the consequence for failing. My father did not pay for my accident. I did. That lesson has helped me be a better driver.
Last term, the Governing Council supported a recommendation that students pay for damage done to school property. It seems like a “no brainer”. Students who break windows, ruin library books or drop iPads and crack the screens be responsible for their repair or replacement. Over $5000 was recently paid to fix iPads. Over $2000 for lost or ruined library books. The cost of replacing broken windows from children kicking them this year has exceeded $1000.
One boy collected enough cans and bottles over a 3 month period to pay off the $100 cost of his iPad repair. His parents did the right thing by not paying his debt and making him responsible for it.
All Year 6/7 students were asked to purchase their own iPad covers this year as all had been ruined in past years. Less than 40% of the students have. A cover can be purchased for as little as $5.00. Purchasing a protective cover is learning responsibility. When students break an iPad they “learn the hard way” only if they have to pay for it. “It was an accident” is not an excuse.
As of next term, any student without an iPad cover will lose the privilege of having the use of one.
We all want our children to learn to be responsible adults. We do not help them by trying to rescue them. We would prefer that they do not have to learn the hard way as I had to do. Sometimes, it is the only way.