Handling Conflict in School

by NYC Firm Schools on February 18, 2010

The relationship of a student with their teachers and school faculty are a vitally important link in the quality of that student’s education. We stress so often that one of factors that enables Firm Schools to be so incredibly effective is the simple fact that they choose students who are a good match for the school. When a student has a supportive, respectful and mutually agreed upon relationship with their teachers and school staff, there is almost no limit to what they can do.

What happens when a student and a teacher simply don’t see eye to eye, however? What happens when they outright do not get along?

Then a high school senior and an honor student, Ms. Evans repeatedly clashed with Ms. Phelps, her English teacher, over assignments, Ms. Evans has said.
She turned to Facebook to vent her frustration. At home on her computer, Ms. Evans created a Facebook page titled “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever had” and invited past and current students of Ms. Phelps to post their own comments.

Learning to properly and effectively deal with difficult people and situations is one of the many jobs that parents and other supportive adults must help children learn. Respectfully dealing with others, even when we don’t necessarily agree with them, is a part of becoming a social leader.

The former student mentioned in the NY Times article discussed here resorted to public name calling during a disagreement with her teacher, with an online equivalent to spray-painting graffiti about the woman on a public building. The State of Florida has ruled that her suit against her former school for suspending her can move on, however.

A South Florida teenager who sued her former principal after she was suspended for creating a Facebook page criticizing a teacher can proceed with her lawsuit, a federal judge has ruled.
The student, Katherine Evans, is seeking to have her suspension expunged from her disciplinary record. School officials suspended her for three days, saying she had been “cyberbullying” the teacher

One of the lawyers, Maria Kayanan, associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said the judge’s decision had clearly extended the protection of First Amendment rights to online writings of a nonthreatening manner.
“This is an important victory both for Ms. Evans and Internet free speech,” Ms. Kayanan said, “because it upholds the principle that the right to freedom of speech and expression in America does not depend on the technology used to convey opinions and ideas.”

If you are a parent with a child in school, talk with them about the ways in which you do and do not expect them to handle conflict in their lives and become a role model of respect and discipline.

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