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School Considers Punishing Kids for Parents' Lack of Involvement

The Short of It

An Atlanta, Ga., area high school is considering a new rule that punishes students for their parents' poor engagement.

The Lowdown

To boost poor performance at Cobb County's Pebblebrook High School, one board member is recommending they adopt a measure that would restrict students from participating in sports and extracurricular activities if their parents don't attend meetings with teachers and act otherwise "engaged" in academics.

Critics argue this rule is biased against poor families, parents who work long hours, and those who can't take time off to get more involved. Rich Pellegrino, whose child attends Pebblebrook, talked to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about his opinion of the proposed rule saying, "To me it's nonsensical... to punish children for their parents' actions or inactions."

If Pebblebrook passes the measure, it would be the first Atlanta area school to restrict students from extracurricular activities for the lack of engagement from their parents.

The Upshot

As a working parent whose younger children often restrict me from getting involved at my oldest daughter's school, this rule offends me. I'd be furious if my daughter couldn't join Girl Scouts or play basketball just because my work commitments or younger kids' schedules prevented me from being the class mom!

That being said, parents do need to be involved with their kids' lives to any extent they're able. Showing up for concerts or special events sends a message to your children that you care about what they're doing. It's also essential to form a relationship with their teacher, so you know what is going on in the classroom and have a good foundation for discussing any issues that come up throughout the year. I'm lucky because my daughter's teacher is willing to meet with me at night when my schedule permits. I would hope if this measure is passed in Atlanta, the Pebblebrook administrators would be more flexible to help parents with obstacles get more involved.

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