Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Parents Sue School over Son's Cheating

I read a recent article in the San Mateo County Times: Helicopter parent sues school over son's punishment for cheating. The father, Jack Berghouse, a family law attorney, believed the school district was wrong for kicking his teen out of an English honors class for copying someone else's homework. He argued that the school had conflicting policies and that the penalty of being kicked out of a class was too harsh and detrimental to his hopes of getting into an Ivy League School.

Once the story came out on the internet and beyond, Mr. Berghouse receive hate calls at his office and the story received nationwide attention. He had clearly hit a nerve. Beside the irony that the lawsuit's popularity in the press probably put his son on the "questionable character" list on Ivy League admissions, Berghouse did his son no favor by not allowing him to take the consequence and learn from his mistake.

I think people are becoming aware that one result of helicopter parenting is the creation of a sue-happy society: an accepted model of lashing out when things don't work out the way we had hoped. Everyone seems to want something for nothing, and this is why our children have become so entitled.

Berghouse did not dispute that his son had cheated, but his lawsuit against the school was clearly an attempt to patch up his son's wrongdoing. So when our teens are spewing out demands, and snapping at us- telling us we need to buy them a smartphone because, "everyone else has one," we need to take one big look at ourselves. One great big look.

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