Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

So close, but they just don’t get it.

Posted by sanityinjection on April 9, 2009

From the Denver Post comes the story of Gregg and Jaylene Christoffersen and their teen daughter Dena. (No relation to songwriter/singer/actor Kris Kristofferson.) The story is a familiar one: teen racks up huge phone bill from text messaging, parents go ballistic. I posted a similar story a while back.

In this particular case, 13-year-old Dena had sent some 10,000 text messages in one month, costing Mom and Dad $4,756.25. Worse yet, she’d been sending most of them at school, causing her to cease paying attention to her schoolwork and her grades to drop from As and Bs to Fs in only two months.

Dad’ s immediate reaction was to take a hammer to the offending phone. Dena’s been grounded until the end of the semester and her grades are improving. And the phone company, Verizon, is willing to adjust the bill to a more reasonable figure.

So you’d think all’s well that ends well, right? Parents take responsibility and straighten out their kid, right?

Until you read the last line of the story:

“The Christoffersens are asking school administrators at Johnson Junior High School to crack down on cellphone use during school. “

Oh, for God’s sake!

It’s bad enough we expect our teachers to educate our kids without sufficient pay, resources, or parental support. Now they are in charge of keeping our cell phone bills to a reasonable level, too? Stop trying to make parenting your kid someone else’s responsibility!

The school’s only legitimate interest is if the cell phone activity creates a disruption in class. If so, then they have a right to confiscate the phone until the end of the school day, as has been done with all manner of objects since time immemorial. It is not the school’s job to force Dena Christoffersen to pay attention in class or do her parents’  parenting job for them.

I realize that there are plenty of school systems that ban cell phone use at school, and that’s fine. But they shouldn’t be doing it because some parents are pissed off at their daughter’s outrageous phone bill. Sorry, that is not the school’s problem, Gregg and Jaylene, it’s *your* problem. You’ve managed to act like adults in taking the necessary steps to address the problem, now complete your journey to maturity by accepting complete responsibility for *your* daughter.

What’s next in this society? Parents bring a screaming baby into a restaurant, get flack from other diners, then ask the restaurant to post notices to warn idiots like them against bringing screaming babies into the restaurant? That seems to be the direction in which we are headed.

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5 Responses to “So close, but they just don’t get it.”

  1. tubby said

    I agree that it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the school to grant their request, but I personally feel it doesn’t hurt for the parents to ask. Frankly, I find it surprising that any school would allow cell phones in classrooms. It’s akin to bring your iPod or personal video game player (e.g., Game Boy from my time!) into the classroom. Can you imagine if we were caught playing video games during class back in the 80’s?

    I don’t think any phone call is serious enough that kids should have to bring their phones into classes. If something is urgent enough, someone can call the school and have the student located by school staff.

  2. LY said

    The kid was sending most of the texts in school – not at home. How would the parents know? They thought texting was disabled. In Junior High, kids have NO right to be texting away during class – its extremely disrespectful.

  3. sanityinjection said

    I’m not opposing a ban on cell phones in school. What I’m focusing on is the parents trying to make their kid’s problem the school’s responsibility.

  4. concerned said

    These parents only wanted fame from the article. This is very sad using a situation that should NOT have been made public to gain a bit of fame. The parents do NOT spend time with their daughter let alone discipline her. They go out drinking and pass her on for other family members to raise.

  5. sanityinjection said

    “Concerned”, sounds like you have knowledge of this family that goes beyond the article. At least I hope so given your comments.

    However, you raise an interesting point. In the Christoffersons’ place, I would have been embarrassed and preferred not to have the matter publicized to all the world. Our media have succeeded in spreading the notion that fame is the most desirable commodity there is, and that we should be eager to do whatever is necessary, including humiliating and abusing ourselves and others, in order to get on TV or obtain the attention of the media. This trend started with game shows, then took a nasty turn with “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, which featured the intentional abuse of children and animals for amusement purposes. It came to full fruition with reality TV shows such as “Survivor”. If, as you say, the Christoffersons are playing this up for publicity, then I would say a) they’re succeeding, and b) they are unfortunately behaving entirely within our society’s current cultural norms.

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