Do adults in your high school have generous spirits?

Guest blog by Heather Hollifield

A first-year, assistant principal has to learn many things about the school’s families and students. So far my most difficult task has been to learn how to know when students are lying to me.

Between 30 and 50 percent of my time is dealing with discipline issues. Many of these issues revolve around cell phones.

Recently, one young lady was turned in for having her cell phone out in class. I received the referral and was getting ready to assign one day of ISS (in-school suspension).

When the student got to my office, she started crying. At first I thought it was fake. Then I listened, while she described some of her problems. She is in therapy, getting help to deal with several related issues. I was still ready to assign ISS until I looked at her record and saw no prior violations.

I decided to let her go with a warning—even though I was maybe “being taken.” Later that afternoon I called her Mom about the cell phone. The mother said her daughter had been cutting herself for several months and that her older sister committed suicide earlier in the year. I was saddened by the story, but I was glad I got that one right – letting her go with just a warning.

As I think about the six virtues, the one that seems to be important for HS teachers and administrators is generosity. Troubled students need to feel like adults in their school have generous spirits.


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