Yesterday, I posted a comment on my facebook account that resulted in more response and discussion than any comment I had previously made. The issues at hand pertain to privacy, how public high schools are run, how colleges are marketed. This also may pertain to the ongoing discussion of civility.
Below I describe two scenarios which are anonomized versions of real events that happened a few days apart in two different schools. Please tell me what you think of them.
Ninth grade. An elective class. A faculty member from a local vocational college comes to class to give a presentation on the academic material related to that class. After the presentation, the visitor mentions that the students in the class may wish to attend this college after high school, and if so, there are funding options available. She hands out a post card with spaces to put name, address, phone number, etc. for students to fill out. The students are told they will receive more information about the college and funding opportunities if they do so. They are also told, and this is paraphrased as closely as possible from the actual event, “My boss really wants me to come back with these cards filled out. Please fill them out so I don’t get in trouble.” The high school teacher running the class makes no comment. The students receive the cards, write stuff on the cards, and hand them back in.
Later, one of the student confesses to a third party that she wrote silly stuff on the card. “I gave a fake name and said my address was 1234 Streety Avenue,” she said.
Questions: Did the teacher do anything wrong? Did the person visiting from the vocational college do the right thing? Did the student do something wrong or disrespectful in filling out the card with joke material? What would you say to the teacher, the college rep, or the student, if you had the chance? What would you write in a letter to the administration to this school if you were a parent of one of the students in the class?
Freshmen in a special program in which they visit area colleges to get an idea of what is out there for them to work towards as they progress through high school are on a visit to one of the colleges, and a representative for that college hands out a form for the students to provide their name, address, phone number, etc. The teacher that accompanies the students tells them that they must fill in the forms.
All of the students write stuff on the forms and hand them in.
A little later during the visit, a representative of the college points out to the high school teacher that several of the forms were filled out with information other than the students’ name, addresses, and other contact information. Some of the forms contained profane language. Some of the profanity was severe, and a subset included misogynist remarks and at least one anti-gay remark directed at one of the college reps.
The students who did this were identified and punished by not being allowed on the next one or two field trips to local colleges.
Questions: In what way is this second scenario different than the first? Was the punishment appropriate for the students who wrote the profane language? Should the teacher have acted differently during the visit? Are there policy changes that should be suggested for either the high school or the college?