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GUEST COLUMN: Back-to-school required reading

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Once upon a time, 40 years ago when I began my teaching career as a band director:

Parents made their children behave. No more.

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Parents would tell me at conferences that if they (their children) got in trouble at school they would be in “double trouble” at home. No more.

Parents would verify what their children were telling them at home with the teacher. No more.

Parents would “thank” the teacher for disciplining their children.

No more.

Parents made their children apologize to the teacher when they falsely blamed the teacher for something that wasn’t true. No more.

Dads didn’t abdicate, to the mothers, their part of the child-rearing equation. No more.

Students wouldn’t threaten a teacher if he/she was disciplined. No more.

Students wouldn’t “quit” if demands and expectations were “too high.” No more and today parents let them “quit,” in droves.

Students wouldn’t scrawl all over the bathroom wall that “I am going to kill Mr. Femling on March 27” because he was disciplined the day before. Believe it. It happened.

Students, high on meth, wouldn’t pull a hunting knife on a teacher. No more. That teacher was me. I disarmed him after a two-hour discussion. He was then arrested. Believe it.

Elementary and junior high students wouldn’t falsely accuse a teacher of “sexual” advances. No more and many parents buy into these lies and deceptions.

Good students would tell the teacher, in private, what kind of disciplinary “sabotage” was being planned by disruptive students so the teacher could predict and prevent problems. No more.

Good students would tell the teacher, in private, what transpired and who was responsible for disruptive acts.

No more. Snitching is “taboo.”

Fathers (yes, in general) would “lay down the law,” stopping bad behavior on the “seat of our pants.” Then we were taught to say “Yes sir,” with respect, before sitting in the “big chair” to think about our actions for one, two or three hours, depending on the infraction. Only then would we “politely” ask, with a “smile” on our face, if we could get up and play. No more.

God help our society as we relinquish control over our children. The U.S. will pay, sooner rather than later.

Don’t blame the teachers anymore, please. If you, as parents, can’t handle one, two or three of your own children imagine what it’s like to handle and educate 25 to 80 (bands and choirs) students in a classroom.

The moral of this story: Discipline your children before they go “back to school.” Learning, playing and working “together” will, once again, be a fantastic experience.

BRUCE FEMLING is a retired band instructor with 35 years in education, including time at both Aitkin and Crosby. He is a Baxter resident.

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