I can only ask: would the teachers who "routinely" embarrass students living in poverty please step forward? We must fix this problem.
I know, as a single parent, I have been asked to pay more than I could afford for a trip, [or Arts & Crafts supplies, or "Secret Santas", or Scholastic book orders,] when newly divorced. Women in divided families have to cough up first and last month's rent and it is a difficult position in which to find oneself. Staff was most responsive to our needs at the time. Anytime any student my colleagues suspected could not afford a trip they would approach Parent Councils who would pay the fees in a kind, caring gesture, with no one any the wiser. In one school we asked more fortunate families to donate fees, with a tax receipt, for a family who could not afford to send their child skiing. (School trips get pretty good discounts.)
What I found was that school staffs are MORE than sensitive to the needs of our students. The messages on this folder indicate how caring and concerned we are of those less fortunate. We give regularly to many Humanitarian Agencies. We care for the kids we teach. We all belong to one group or another. Parents, on the other hand, need to be able to tell their children that they cannot afford particular items. It always surprises me the children who cannot afford "school fees" - not that I agree with THAT principle, but cough up $20 for school photos a week later. But that is a parenting issue, and one which obfuscates the problem, I believe. The parent interviewed, to whom one lobby group was responding, made this complaint. It is good for kids to know their monetary limitations. When did "NO" ever hurt a child? many are up late watching TV in their bedrooms, playing their Game Boys, with homework not done and no one taking control.
It would be nice to know if there are schools in which this situation has occurred: humiliating the less fortunate, they ought to be disciplined, but I cannot imagine anyone in this caring profession doing so. We focus on the whole child. We nurture and care for kids who are facing very difficult famly situations. We look after them and continue to be the one consistency in a sometimes inconsistent life. Many children are facing increasingly difficult social, emotional and physical problems.We continue to be parent, priest, psychologist and psychiatrist to students. I would laud the work we do.
Sir Winston Churchill M.S.
A king can stand people fighting but he can't last long if people start
thinking. -Will Rogers, humorist (1879-1935)