We all have different ideas about what the best education looks like for children. Between the stress of the world around them and the distractions of the Internet, it can be hard to create that optimal learning environment.
Now a number of local school districts are turning to bans to get kids focused and on track, efforts that have been supported by some and criticized by others.
In Stoughton High School, school administrators recently banned all “political items” like Black Lives Matter, Pride, and Thin Blue Line flags from classrooms in an effort to limit disruption and distraction. Some faculty members were unhappy with the decision because they feel these items signify a welcoming space for students.
“Pride flags help LGBTQIA+ students feel safe and welcomed in school. Taking down Pride flags could hurt students’ well-being and make them feel like they have nowhere to run,” the faculty member told the Boston Globe.
Elsewhere in the state, schools are banning cell phones from the classroom to pull more focus back to learning. The Buxton School in Williamstown in western Massachusetts, Dartmouth High School, and some classes in Marlborough High School have all told their students that cell phones will not be allowed in the classroom.
Reliance on cell phones and social media rose significantly for young people during the pandemic. As school districts try to get back to normalcy and improve the test scores that dropped during that time, some have found that a complete ban is the best way to get students on track.
However, as schools work to undo that learning loss, tensions continue to grow between school leaders, educators, and parents over who should have the most say in a child’s learning. These tensions come to head at school board meetings and in individual encounters between parents and school professionals. As parents lead the charge for book bans and curriculum changes in the name of “parents’ rights,” some argue we’ve gone too far.
“Parents and kids have too much control in the schools these days. Kids aren’t held accountable for anything and teachers can’t do anything about it. Districts are less concerned with teachers actually teaching content. Instead, they spend half the class talking about emotional and social issues,” a teacher from Concord told Boston.com in a recent survey. “Teachers just want to be in the classroom teaching the content that they enjoy teaching, instead districts are making them do 100 other things. Teachers are sick of it. Let them teach!”
Many of the bans proposed are done so in the name of improving children’s well-being, but are bans the best way to reach that goal?
We want to know: What, if anything, should schools ban to improve the learning and social well-being of children? Let us know your thoughts by filling out the survey below or e-mailing us at [email protected] and we may feature your response in a future article or on Boston.com social media channels.