Other Issues

From graduation gifts to preventing teen suicide, this section provides information on a variety of topics affecting high school students. Learn what to do when your child is expelled, you need financial aid or you’re looking for a teaching job. Get expert advice on protecting your teen from substance abuse, finding the right high school and handling personal technology on campus.
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Certain questions always seem to present themselves unexpectedly at the worst possible time. But life is like that, isn't it? The old, comfortable, predictiable play book we used to follow thirty or forty years ago has gone by the boards. Here then are some answers and some resources to help you deal with these tough questions.

My kid has been expelled?
Being notified that your child has been expelled is serious. The timing will inevitably be very awkward. You literally will have to stop whatever you are doing and deal with this crisis. For a crisis it most assuredly is. The mere fact that your child broke the kind of rules and did something which warranted his expulsion means that you need to get to the bottom of the situation. Why did he do this? Counselling will probably be required. Both for him and for you. What recourse do you have? Probably not much. The contract which you and the school signed spells out the consequences for infractions of the code of conduct which guides students' lives at school.

Finding a new school won't be easy but is doable if you hire an educational consultant to make it happen. If you do it on your own, you will spend countless hours calling and explaining your situation. It makes more sense to have a detached and professional consultant do all that for you. Efficiently and cost-effectively.

I want to find a teaching job?
If you want to
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I can just hear you saying "He's got to be kidding. After spending inordinate amounts of my valuable time and resources getting my child into private school, the school can decide it doesn't want her back next year?"

Yes, the school can do that. Sad. But true. Read the contract which you signed with the school when your daughter was first accepted. It very clearly spells out the rights each party to the contract has. And one of those is that the school does not have to automatically renew its contract with you. The contract has a finite term. Usually for one academic year.

How do you avoid the school sending a non-renewal notice? You make sure that the following are in order:

1. Acceptable academic progress
While it would be nice if your child could be first in every subject she takes, that is asking a bit too much. But you definitely want to keep her in the top third. If the school recommends extra help or even tutoring, don't fight that recommendation. Calculus may have been a breeze for you. But if she is struggling with it, be ahead of the curve. Accept the help offered.

All they really want is to see are her best efforts and maximum cooperation in achieving good results. There's a larger lesson that the school is trying to teach here as well. And that is to not flinch at life's challenges. Life is full of seemingly impossible
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Cindy Springsteen writes about teens for the Long Island Examiner. I asked her about the challenges facing teens and their parents in the 21st century within the context of sending them off to private school. Here are her answers. ~ Robert Kennedy

RK. Does sending your teens off to private school help protect them from drinking and other forms of substance abuse? Your reasons?
CS. No, I do not think sending your teens to a private school is going to protect them from the dangers of drinking and other forms of abuse. Teens are teens and just because they are in a private school, they will still be exposed to everything that is available to them in the public schools. In some cases it is said that private school teens come from families with money and could more easily purchase bad things. This is a personal opinion.  
RK. Cindy, I agree that teens are teens. Whether they go to private or public school, they will be exposed to all sorts of opportunities to drink. The difference, however, with private school is that if they are caught, the consequences will be serious and swift. I know of an instance at one of my daughters' schools where a couple of seniors decided to sneak a drink on campus a few days before graduation. They were caught and were not permitted to attend graduation.

RK. Let's look at another serious issue. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death
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Students in private schools must follow their school's guidelines and directives when it comes to using personal technology. Personal technology includes devices such as laptops, desktops, cell phones, Blackberries, PDAs, language translators, video players, and MP3 players.What is somewhat perplexing to many mature teachers is that none of these devices were in common use ten years ago. The reality is that young people have all some or all of these devices and use them naturally, freely and without much thought.
As a rule there are limits on these devices and their use in private schools. Let's look at five things you are not supposed to do with personal technology. Breaking the rules in your school could land you in a heap of trouble, including expulsion. If you are a parent, have a discussion with your child. Review her school's personal technology use policy. Help her understand the limits and the reasons why. Remind her further that she has no rights in a private school. So if the school disciplines her for an infraction, there is no recourse.

Private school students are covered by contract law, not constitutional rights. Her rights and privileges are clearly detailed in the contract you, her parent, signed with the school. This is a legal and binding document.

Here then are five things you must not do with personal technology while under school jurisdiction.

1. Harrass
Harrassing is broadly defined as bothering somebody. It takes many forms and runs the gamut from racial
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Every year there are reports of private school students taking their own lives. Suicide casts a terrible pall over any school community. It just seems so pointless, so senseless. Yet, had members of the community acted on the signals the young person was most likely sending, that suicide could have been prevented.
The academic work in private school can be very heavy. The pressures to succeed, to get into the best college, to not let parents and others down combined with the reality of adolescent uncertainities can create a climate for depression. Depression can lead to suicide. But suicide is preventable.
Suicide is preventable.
Suicide is the 3rd largest killer of young adults between the ages of 15-24. But teen suicide is preventable. You just have to know the warning signs.

As a parent you need to spend quality time with your child. Listen to him. Don't talk at him. Share your experiences and feelings. Be available. Keep firearms and other weapons locked up.

As a student you need to be aware of what is going on with your peers. If you notice somebody acting strangely or talking about 'ending it', take it seriously. Get help.

As an administrator you need to promote awareness of suicide. You need to proactively hold training for suicide prevention. Create 24/7 access to an anonymous suicide hotline. Offer help and counseling. Above all do not stigmatize students or staff for reporting information.

As a teacher you need to be
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