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Vol. 112 - Issue 1, Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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Mercury Media Group
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Opinion


Students’ behavior reflects on their school
By Bruce Watson

As a parent and teacher, I am always looking for real life incidents that provide teachable moments on values, manners, proper conduct, and not following the crowd. The following true story is full of many teachable moments not only for students but for adults too.  

R.S. Mercury
Watson

The Richfield Springs McDonald’s is in a strategic location enabling visiting sports teams to stop for dinner on their way home after competing at local schools. It is not uncommon Between 5 and 10 p.m. to see an occasional school bus stopped there. Three crew members were working at McDonald’s on a week night not long ago when a school bus pulled in to the parking lot. The team entered McDonald’s where other local patrons were already enjoying dinner with their families.

After ordering their food the team proceeded to be totally disrespectful with actions involving throwing food, papers, wiping food on the windows, coming out of the bathroom with their pants around their ankles, and using loud, bawdy language which caused families and diners to leave. Where were the team’s coach and the bus driver? Reportedly they got their complimentary meals provided by McDonald’s and returned to the bus to eat there.

How can we turn this incident around to all learn from it? If children are raised and behave in their homes like this, we cannot expect them to behave any different in a restaurant. How often have you been sitting in a restaurant and had children running around playing tag while parents sit oblivious to what’s occurring? If your child were part of a team where this sort of behavior was occurring would he join in? Could the team have been made to pick up their mess after they were finished and leave the restaurant in better condition? Another issue is to make sure our schools have athletic policies that state that if the team stops to eat while en route from an away game the coaches remain in a supervisory role and oversee their team’s behavior.

As patrons we have to be bold in our responsibilities, too. We shouldn’t be afraid to speak to players if their behavior is lewd and unacceptable and we should do what my source for this story did. Just write down the name of the school on the side of the bus and call the superintendent, athletic director and principal to report the incident and demand investigation and some sort of apology to the restaurant.

Students need to know that their behavior at sporting events, on field trips, and on any off campus event reflects the school they attend. An entire school district receives a bad rap if our students exhibit bad language and behavior in public. Lastly if we are in a restaurant and see a team with coaches behaving well, approaching the team even as a complete stranger and complimenting them on their good behavior and wishing them luck on the remainder of their season can work wonders.

The superintendent of the school involved was called and in return the McDonald’s of Richfield Springs received an apology for what transpired at the restaurant.  

Teachable moments occur everywhere and helping our youth become people of integrity and good character is everyone’s responsibility. If we don’t model how we wish our youth to behave, we can only blame ourselves when incidents like this happen.



 


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