Last week a mother asked me whether students have rights at school.
It seems that her 16-year-old son was told at high school (in McHenry County) that he had no rights. Hello? Is that school in some part of McHenry County that is not in the United States?
Of course, students have rights. A school administrator or teacher might only get away with telling a student that he has no rights if that school employee is bigger, more influential, more assertive, scarier - and a big bully.
Students often complain of being bullied at school. And not just by other students, but also by teachers and administrators. Students know better, but they have a hard time asserting themselves because they are at a huge disadvantage. They can be given extra homework, sent to the principal's office, ordered to detention, or find themselves handcuffed by the school resource officer (police officer).
They learn pretty quickly not to question and not to object - aloud. But all this does is cause them to stifle their objections until they burst forth, usually at some inappropriate time.
Having said this, it is important for students to learn how to object; i.e., how to do so with respect, with courtesy and in an appropriate manner and tone. And at the right time. If the principal is yelling at you to "Shut up", little will be gained by not doing so.
So, temporarily, just shut up and wait for him (or her) to run out of steam. Pick the right time to continue the discussion. It might be necessary (or wise) to postpone re-engagement. Go in the next day to make an appointment to continue the conversation.
My stepson came home from school one day and told me about a poster he had seen at school. It read, "Stand up for what you believe, even if you are standing alone." He added, "...except at school, where you will get in trouble."
It shouldn't be that way!