School policy tells parents to let kids problem solve on their own

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After gaining so much attention, the school have been subjected to accusations that they’re treated their students poorly

It’s happened before.

The kids have just been dropped off to school, and then back home you suddenly see from the corner of your kids’ homework or their lunch box left on the table.

Worried that they will need it, you pick the items up and rush to school to give it to them.

Countless of school all over the world have seen the scenario play out, but not Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock in Arkansas.

In fact they have a decades-old policy against bringing forgotten homework, lunches, or sports equipment to their sons. And when the rule was posted on their Facebook page, it gained national spotlight.

School Policy Tells Parents To Let Kids Problem Solve On Their Own

Photo credit: TODAY Parents

Speaking to TODAY Parents, the school’s principal Steve Straessle, explained the reason behind it.

“Teenage boys will often hit the default switch of calling parents to swoop in and fix problems they encounter,” he said. “We encourage our boys to fight that inclination and, instead, think how they can solve a problem on their own.”

A father to five children, the principal also said that the policy’s secondary rule is to teach teens the importance of “soft failures,” which he described thusly:

‘Soft failures’ are the times when a boy comes up short. It’s when he forgets his lunch, doesn’t make the team, or faces some sort of consequence for behavior that is beneath his character.

Soft failures are learning experiences that are the foundation of becoming an adult. Soft failures have never ruined a life. The lack of soft failures has ruined many lives.”

Educator Jessica Lahey agrees with the school’s policy.

Next page find out how the school deals with its sudden popularity.

“The argument against policies like these—that children can’t be expected to remember everything all the time, and we should not punish them for such lapses—misses the point,” she told TODAY.

“Childhood is a continual, long-term process of learning how to make our way in the world, and parents who short-circuit that education by rescuing their kids are not doing them any favours.”

After gaining so much attention, the school have been subjected to accusations that they’re treating their students poorly.

“In the case of the forgotten lunches, boys can get credit in the cafeteria, borrow money from the front office, or bum some food off a buddy,” the principal said. “No one goes hungry here.”

Principal Straessle also believes that his students will benefit from learning how to handle such problems and from take responsibility for their actions, and that these lessons are as important as the rest of their high school education.

“It is intrinsic to our mission of helping parents build self-advocacy, self-reliance, and personal responsibility in our kids,” he said.

“Educators know that a policy like this is simply one point in a quiver full of educational arrows. It is not cruel or unforgiving. It is a lesson not found in textbooks, but just as vital as calculus or English composition,” he added.

READ: One in every three children is a victim of school bullying. Is yours?

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