Appalling lack of respect for authority

October 30, 2015

respect-for-authorityI have just a few things to say about tossing a teenage girl across a classroom. Until now, I’ve refrained from this, but when I heard a moronic CNN talking head blathering on and then, blame the teacher for not having control of her classroom, I saw red.

Now, I’ll admit, we don’t know the entire story, but since that hasn’t stopped any of the national media, I’m not going to let it stop me.


It is not a teacher’s job to instill respect for authority in a child. It is the parent’s responsibility. If a teacher tells a student to put a cell phone away, that cell phone should be put away. But that’s not what happens today. Today, the child resists, other children take cellphone videos, the media get into the act and before you know it, a law suit is filed and then settled because who wants that publicity?

Such crap. Parents should have taught this kid respect for authority. Period.

Back in the day, Sister Mary Elisabeth would have rapped those knuckles hard with a ruler and the cellphone (had there been one) would have been put away. Today, Sister would have probably been burned at the stake.


Before calling the school resource officer, they should have simply emptied the classroom and talked to the child privately. Parents should have been called. There was no need to escalate the situation to an officer.

I had to laugh at the suggestion a friend made over lunch that the teacher should have emptied the classroom, then continued with class for the resistant student alone.

But again, the big failure in this case was on the part of the parents. Period. That’s where it started.


There was none. This officer was fired without sufficient investigation into the facts of the matter. So wrong.

Again, the fail is on the part of the parents, who failed to teach this girl respect for authority. She refused her teacher’s order, the principal’s order and the officer’s order. So whose fault is this?

The parents.

If parents could be fired, they should have been. They should have their license to parent taken away. Oh yeah, there is no license to parent. Any fertile people who have sex can become a parent. What a pity.


We should be appalled at the complete lack of respect for authority that many kids today have, an attitude that is at the root of much of the crazy stuff police officers must contend with. Who would want to be a cop in this circumstance? Not me. And pretty soon, not anyone, I fear.

Not to mention, who would want to teach in this environment?


Cellphones should not be permitted in the classroom on penalty of suspension. I taught college classes that included teens. Cellphones were not permitted. This was NEVER a problem, because these kids were there to learn. They had respect for the rules. Oh, and let me tell you, they were digital geniuses, and had every reason to want to be attached to their phones. Better reasons than the S. Carolina student, I’m certain. But they were taught better by their parents.

The parents are at fault in this case. Any parent who allows a child to resist authority is at fault. Resisting authority has already cost kids their lives. We saw this just recently when a stupid teenager resisted an officer at a traffic stop and was killed when the officer was forced to defend himself. This was 100 percent on the student, in my opinion.

The school staff failed to act logically, strategically and in fact, over-reacted.

The school resource officer should not have been called in for this situation, but since he was, he should not have thrown her around the classroom, even if she hit him.

There’s a lot wrong here. But it all began because the parents did not do their job. Respect for authority is a mark of a civilized society. Without it, we are all just animals.

That’s where I think we’re heading.

What do you think?

25 comments on “Appalling lack of respect for authority
  1. I agree with you 100% on this. Parents are so quick to blame everyone else for their child’s disrespectful behavior before looking inward at their own mistakes in raising them.

  2. I agree! Most of all about the cell phones, enough with them. parents need to play a bigger part in their children’s lives.

  3. It really is a sad situation and you bring up some valid points here.. It seems like a pretty simple and common request to put away a phone, but it becomes a battle of the wills. I like the idea of emptying the classroom as it helps that teen “save face” with peers and does not escalate the battle to see if the teacher and the teen can resolve the issue, but it does take classroom time away from the others. Perhaps the teen should have been sent to the principal and let the rest of the class get on with the instruction for the day. I always dislike it when the one that is behaving badly gets more attention for bad behavior and it affects others.

  4. Andrea B. says:

    From what I have read, her mother and grandmother recently passed away. Her father does not seem to have been in the picture, but I don’t know that for sure. While I agree that there are many situations where parents have failed their children in not teaching them and guiding them correctly, I’m not sure this one can be put into that category 100%. Grief can lead people to experience many things – teens are not exempt from that, for certain.

    Instead of writing a novel in response, I’ll abbreviate my thoughts on how cell phones don’t belong in the classroom (agreed), how people in roles that have authority need a line drawn when it comes to physical contact (I just don’t understand it when there isn’t imminent danger) – especially of this nature – and so on. There’s so much to say we could talk all day!

    • I really appreciate you sharing your point of view and this additional information. It sounds like a sad story. But if I see one more talking head blame the teacher for not controlling the classroom…perhaps for me this story was the tipping point.

      • Andrea B. says:

        Oh, no doubt. The talking heads are the worst on all sides. They just go on and on without information and just ramble their closed-minded perspective. Today’s news, seriously. It’s rough!

  5. I completely fail to understand how teachers have become such a go-to target today. Our society’s lack of respect for this metier has spread to parents which spreads to students. A vicious cycle made more volatile w/ phones. UGH!

  6. Tracy Milam says:

    This has been on my mind too…it just seems to be getting worse.

  7. Carol Graham says:

    I completely agree on all counts but…….one thing you did not address was this: I have seen families where there are two kids who have polar opposite attitudes towards authority. They were raised the same but one CHOOSES not to respect the rules. The parents do everything they can but it comes down to choice and there is not a thing the parents can do to change that. The kids just don’t give a d$%^.

  8. As a retired teacher who taught the toughest kids in the district, I know too well that horrible moment when a teenager challenges you and just refuses to do what’s been asked. Two weeks ago we saw another video of a police officer who met such a child during a routine traffic stop and the boy ended up dead. Its a teenager’s skewed job to challenge authority and it takes years of experience and a special soul to know how to deal with these teenage tantrums professionally. Escalation rarely works. I weep for both teacher and cop who weren’t up for the task.

    I so agree with you that the jobs shouldn’t be that hard, it shouldn’t be up to the teacher or cop to teach respect – that comes from the home. But unfortunately, in the world of helicopter parents whose children are never at fault, that lesson is lost.

  9. Brenda Pace says:

    I have to agree on the parenting thing. It seems this generation has a high LACK of respect for elders, parents, teachers, and more. I think it stems back to not being able to bust their bums when they need it. Kudo’s to you for speaking up about this!

  10. Dead on analysis, Carol. The buck starts way back in the home.

  11. Laurie Oien says:

    Amen to all of this!!

  12. Sandy Nelson says:

    I read that the teacher asked her to leave the classroom and go to the principal’s office. The girl refused to leave. So they brought the principal to the classroom. The girl still refused to leave. So then apparently the protocol is to call a resource officer to get her to leave. She refused and placed her hand under her seat. In a video, we don’t know what the girl said to the officer approaching her, but I’d bet everything that it wasn’t nice. So the officer has his authority insulted by what appears to be an entitled brat, and he puts hands on her to remove her from the chair which she is still hanging onto as she is carried through the air. Once on the ground, you then hear the officer say calmly, put your arms behind your back.

    This officer had no chance. Once they called him into the problem, it was a no-win situation. The school used him as a scapegoat. In the few video’s around, there is not one word of objection coming from the teacher or the principal when the officer removed her from the chair. No screams of “stop!’

    It’s the girl and her guardian that should bear all the consequences and take responsibility for what happened. Or maybe the protocol the school has in place should take some responsibility. But, that’s not going to happen. Instead, a guy doing his job is fired and blamed.

  13. Diana says:

    I agree! Very insightful posts

  14. Not all children live in homes where respect for authority and manners are taught. Single parents may not be around enough to try. Teachers are overworked and underpaid, that’s a fact, but when parents aren’t available they should be the 2nd line of authority to enforce respect. It bothers me so much there are cops in almost every school these days. My grandson’s school has been on lockdown twice this month. There is no utopia for education any longer, it’s more like a combat zone. It takes a village but sometimes the village can’t be everywhere.

  15. I agree with most of your points. No officer should have been called…but after seeing that video, I think that girl is lucky he didn’t break her neck. Fired? You betcha. And without due process? I’m not sure what you mean….it would be very hard to NOT fire that guy.

  16. I don’t know the story that you refer to but I’m going to google and see if I can find it. However, I completely agree with your thoughts on teaching our children respect for authority. Most parents try but sometimes they leave it too late. They let it slide when their children are young and by the time they are causing trouble, it’s too late. Thanks for linking to #featurefridays

  17. Lily says:

    Wow. I think you are mostly wrong here. Due process for a savage thug officer who vented roid rage on a little girl who was just sitting in her seat? Would you like your child thrown around a room for not standing up?? Cell phones are part of life now. It’s illegal to take a kid’s cell phone, actually. Get with the times. Have some freaking compassion.

    • I would hope that I’d have taught my child that when a teacher says to put a cell phone away, it goes away. And then, none of this would happen. None of us knows exactly what happened, we only know what has been reported. So are we now the jury? Due process is the way EVERYONE should be treated, on the federal level it’s the 5th amendment that mandates it, which is made applicable to states by the 14th. It’s a right under the Constitution. Period. Would you want to not be treated in accordance with it–it is a safeguard.

      We are not judge and jury on the officer. We don’t know enough. But we do know that there is a growing general lack of respect for authority on the part of children, that responsibility lies with parents and that’s what this post is about.

  18. Carolann says:

    I agree as well. It’s the responsibility of the parent. I don’t think an officer should have been called either especially with what’s going on today with such disrespect for them. Kids are being taught to disrespect authority and it starts from the top down!

  19. I agree – parents are failing their children which, ultimately, ends up failing society. This generation has little respect for authority but I think some of it has to do with the complete idiots who are in so many positions of power. Some days I really lose hope for the future of civilization.

  20. I couldn’t agree more. Some parent’s today encourage their kids to set themselves up for a ‘settlement’. My husband says a day doesn’t go by at the car dealership where he works that someone comes in with ‘settlement’ money.
    That said, the officer lost his temper when the student hit him and that shouldn’t happen. The police and others in authority are so frustrated with the lack of respect they receive, and they are also living terrified, in constant fear of being shot and that is a perfect recipe for over reaction.
    If we don’t stop it, we will lose all civility. Sadly I feel we are already there in many areas of our country.

  21. Kathleen says:

    What a great conversation here. Many problems have been identified. We have not come up with many solutions. I want to blame the parents, then they could blame their parents . . . Some good parents have children lead astray by peer pressure. What ever the answer, I agree with Beth, the adults in the picture were not adequately trained in conflict resolution.
    Oh so sad, I wish there was a quick fix but there is not.
    Fridays Blog Booster Party #30

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