“School” Should Not Equal “Prison”

While driving by a high school yesterday, I saw something that made me almost come to a stop in the middle of the road. I thought I must be seeing things… but no, I looked back, and it seemed that I was correct. Maybe I was misguided in the intent of what I saw, but it appeared that the high school parking lots for students HAD COMBINATION LOCKS HOLDING THEM SHUT. I want to think that I was confused somehow, that there were other exits from those parking lots so that the students could leave if they needed or wanted to without authorized personnel being required to unlock those gates. If someone can correct me on this, then please do.

I do know, however, that a high school in Texas (where a friend of mine attends) does indeed lock its students in with a gated parking lot. Students arrive in the morning, park in their designated spots, and the gates are shut and guarded for the rest of the day. Only teachers or students with permission slips are allowed to leave.

You might be thinking right now that it’s common sense to allow only students with permission from their teachers to leave. Maybe that’s right (I have my doubts at this point… that’s another topic altogether) but I don’t know how to condone gated parking lots for high schools. To me, that says volumes about the school’s inability to connect with the children it claims to serve. Only prisons should have to bar their exits. If a school has such a hard time keeping students in its classrooms that it has to forcibly lock their cars away for the duration of the school day, then how much do they think the student is interested in learning at that institution, really?

Education should be something that is sought after by students who desire knowledge. Some may pursue education simply for the money and career they see at the end of that road, but that is their choice. I’m not saying that I think teens should just do whatever they want or be lazy; no person should be allowed to forgo all work in favor of a selfish existence mooching off others. High school students who have no interest in attending school for knowledge should have some other occupation. I am a proponent of apprenticeships for teenagers which can give them valuable experience in a job that they may like to pursue as a career. Yet if a person does not care to advance themselves in life, only making minimum wage and scraping by, then that should be their choice also.

Education should be a privilege offered to those willing to work for it. But when it is mandatory for all, even to the point of physically tying students into the classroom, then education no longer becomes a freedom but a punishment. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

If you aren’t completely offended by my view now, then I recommend this video. It’s a class valedictorian giving her speech at the graduation ceremony.

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