In criticizing efforts to control poor behavior at the Bonny Eagle High School graduation, Edgar Allen Beem includes two statements puzzling to me. One is “Thousands of students and parents sign honor codes just to keep school officials happy.” In my experience, most parents and students will work hard together toward a better way of doing things and then abide by the joint decision. As I understand it, a set of clear rules for behavior was worked out, agreed upon and signed by this year’s seniors and their parents.
The second puzzling statement is “the worst behaved kids tend to have the strictest parents.” In my experience, this is not accurate. Kids who have firm, fair, loving and strict parents are best able to understand that a signed promise really means what it says and is not easily changed. Children who have been taught at home that a pledge is a pledge may have “strict” parents, but hey would be apt to understand the concept of a group of fair, jointly drawn up rules.
Mr. Beem and I agree that “respect has to be earned, and you don’t do it by cracking down on kids who are in a celebratory mood.” Graduation is a joyous time for the seniors and their families; there should be plenty of fun and celebration. But there are times and places for fun; “fun” happened in 2005 at Bonny Eagle, and, in the opinion of the majority, spoiled the ceremony. It was decided to change things.
Mark W. Biscoe