There are things at schools all over the country that students, teachers, employees, and visitors that step foot inside the property are prohibited from doing. It's not just actions, some are words, clothing, devices and games. As crazy as these sound, some have a logical explanation.
But our point is that there are other things that the school would be better without, other than hoodies and backpacks, and could be understood and accepted by the students and their parents. Here are just 9 suggestions on what things schools should be banning, changing, or removing for the young learner's benefit.
10 Unhealthy food
Junk food in school needs to be banned for obvious reasons. Why do vending machines in school still have these kinds of food in them? Obesity is a serious thing in the country and as the CDC shares, childhood obesity is not that far from adult obesity. The CDC report states that for kids aged 2-19, 18.5% of them are obese.
That is 13.7 million kids and teenagers. We do our best to give them healthy food at home, but what about when they're in school? They spend about two-thirds of their life in school, they eat there, some twice, so we should at least feel comfortable knowing that the school is providing them with healthy options.
Schools can't ban smartphones or any device that children can use to contact their parents during emergencies. These kids have gadgets and it's just evolution, we didn't have them at their age, let's let them enjoy the wonders of technology now. But using them inside the classroom, while having class, is wrong. An LA Times report states that 73% of teens carried smartphones two years ago.
That number is definitely higher today. We can't ban it totally, so why not restrict access? Block the wifi in all the rooms, use those scramblers so they won't get any kind of Internet signal. Then as soon as they get out of the learning space, the signals go back up in their devices.
8 Inappropriate Clothing
The subject of clothing in school can be eliminated by uniforms, but let's table that glorious argument for another day. It’s hard to draw a line between what’s okay and what’s inappropriate. Here's an example of a dress code policy in Hemet High School in California: They do not allow wearing of ripped and torn tops and pants, that’s understandable.
We want our kids presentable and neat while getting their education. Schools should make it simple, clothes that are inappropriate are items that makes the student look untidy, not presentable or indecent, showing their undergarments and/or private parts, those should all be banned.
Our kids have it easy in the USA as there are countries who have a lot of schoolwork and as much homework at home. Russia and Singapore are some of the countries that assign a lot of homework to students. But China drills down on it like no other, even giving homework to children during summertime.
Homework is as important as studying in school, but isn't too much homework just work? Parents recognize that the kids won't have time for any other activities like recreational play and reading, even family time, because of homework. Let's give them more free time at home, maybe ban homework during weekends at least.
6 Physically Competitive Games
Competition is what makes school great, we did it everyday in class trying to come up with the best answer for our teacher. However, competitive physical games are a different thing. A great example is dodgeball, it's a simple game we play in school but lately it's been stripped and exposed for what it really is: bullying.
But USA Today disagrees, they claim that it's not oppression but it teaches us about life. If our school bans dodgeball, they should also ban other unsupervised physical competitive games. It's not dodgeball, really, it's how the game is played. These games teach kids the sweet feeling of winning, but at the expense of another child's humiliating defeat.
5 Pointless Clubs
Is it the world we live in today, or are we just getting older? Why do we find some clubs pointless and they are not educating our children; the Lettuce Eating Club is just an example. Clubs are a great way to harness our kid's potential, they can join the drama club and find they have a natural ability to act.
We won't know they have a golden voice until they sing in front of us and the entire school. We agree joining clubs is important, but school administrators, please weed out the silly and pointless ones.
4 Gym Class (In Its Current State)
If you were to ask many kids what they think about gym class, many of them will admit that they hate it. Exercise is important but in its current form gym class tends to be an antiquated form of getting kids active.
The Atlantic even has an article about how gym negatively affects students to the point that they cut class just to avoid it. Gym class is an old school tradition, but some traditions can be altered and re-shaped so it can be appreciated by the students. Let's focus on sports and physical activities that wouldn't single out the unathletic kids. Re-brand it but don't take out the gym teachers.
3 Shortened Recess or Removed Breaks
Explaining how important recess is for children and their parents is going to require referral to a state bill in Connecticut requiring all schools to give kids at least 50 minutes of recess time. The New York Times covered this story recently, and that led us to thinking. If recess is not simply unsupervised playtime but a method of self-discovery for children in terms of problem-solving, curiosity, and creativity, should we petition our kid's school if we think they do not give enough time for it?
Some schools even prohibit children from having recess as a form of punishment, this could be translated as educators depriving their students the opportunity to be creative and curious.
1 Computer Labs
Schools should politely decline donations of defunct and old computers and all kinds of outdated hardware. Kids today know what's new and what's old, especially with technology. Why should we expect a student to learn how to use a disc, or a floppy if we ourselves don't even use them anymore. Computer labs are only effective and educational if its technology is not outdated.
Some might say that a computer lab might be a waste of time and resources since millennials are born with a smart device in their hand. But some parents, teachers, and institutions, like the tech company Viewsonic, still believe they matter.