Lecce, everyone on tour except “discoli”: storm in middle school

The class goes on a trip, but the “bad guys” stay home. It happened too Alighieri Diaz Middle School from Leccewhere the professors of another decided to punish it students more turbulent, to exclude them from off-site teaching activities: a trip in San Cataldo to learn more about water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and sup. A drastic choice that amazed me parents of these 12-year-olds. “They made a selection – explains the mother of one of the excluded students – and punished the most restless, those who were most to blame for behavior, but it seems strange to me. My son, along with me, did not want to be sad, but some of his companions were disappointed. “The class – confirms another parent – is extremely noisy, the professors have called us several times to report the children’s behavior, but our children are not dummies, they are just lively: Discriminating them in this way will give them benefits from the behavior’s point of view? I do not think so at all. ”

The previous one

To find a similar case, we need to rewind the tape with national news until 2019, when in one school On average in Massa, Tuscany, only 86 students out of the 110 who attended second grade that year were selected for the school trip on the Amalfi Coast. A nest of goat hamsters of controversy arose, with angry parents and the principal claiming the election. Because when teachers agree to follow their students out of school, they are accountable to the law for everything that happens to them: not everyone therefore wants to take responsibility for taking even lively children with them and risks endangering safety group . But to what extent – albeit for understandable reasons – is it right to draw a line between the good and the bad in a group of 12-year-olds?

Expert opinion

Maria Podo, a developmental psychologist, explains what the original mistake made in this story in her opinion is: “The educational journey – she says – is still seen as a reward and not instead of a moment of group cohesion as it should be”. It is difficult to exceed the severity of judgment over a school that has “faced two very tough years, exhausting teachers and perhaps – the expert continues – causing one to lose track, at least a little, of the main purpose of the teaching function it will say to train the person beyond than to transfer knowledge “. For Podo, the missed school trip, allowed for some and not for others, was a lost opportunity. The dichotomous choice to take the trip or not – he adds – can only be explained if it is momentarily recognized as a reward and not as one of the deepest moments of formation that children of that age can experience ». Worse: “It’s like giving them a badge that says they can no longer change and refusing to give them a chance. While taking into account the feelings of all the parties involved, let’s try to put ourselves in a 12-year-old’s place: everyone would be upset, and even if they did not turn out to be, this presumed indifference would be the result of the same reasons that cause some children to use swear words in class or to fight ». The assumption is actually that “pre-teens are an age where it is difficult to show oneself and recognize oneself for what one is. I understand the parents’ confusion – the psychologist Podo concludes – but they must not forget that the family is the cradle of the expression of the personality, the reason it develops on ». The missed school trip, in short, comes downstream of a road where school and family have not been able to enter into dialogue, and seeks refuge in the pleasant corner of simplification, punishment, discharge, leaving children to “pay”.

The protest

The parents’ protest has so far not taken the road as an official complaint, but dissatisfaction is spreading between those who fear that their children’s restlessness will degenerate and those who again stress how difficult it was for these children to face. last two years in school: “We also have older children – they continue – who went to the same school without having these problems. Distance learning, the difficulties at work that some of us have had with the pandemic, are not easy problems for a twelve-year-old to meet and burn ». For if it is true that the school has never failed to enter into dialogue with families and highlight the children’s behaviors that can be decisively intervened in, it is also true that every family is a world unto itself. Among the parents of the children excluded from the trip, there are workers who are forced to work outside the opera, or single mothers who combine lunch and dinner between one insecure job and another. A sea of ​​difficulties and needs, which the pandemic has increased and which the school with the tools it has is not always able to handle, in a dialogue with families, which in recent years has become troublesome, if not overtly conflict-filled.
The reflection is open, and the argument divides: will the excluded children have learned anything after this punishment? Or will the discomfort and distance to classmates and a more peaceful school path have deepened? Questions that only time will tell.

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