The teacher’s responsibility in the classroom and the rights of students in the classroom are an important issue in education today. The responsibility of teachers and the rights of students directly affect each other. Class field trips are situations where the rights of students and the responsibilities of teachers come directly into play.
Teachers are responsible for student’s safety on field trips to an extent. Teachers can be held liable for a student’s welfare if “foreseeability of such harm” exists (Johnson, Musial, & Hall, 2005, p. 113). If a student’s safety is jeopardized by the teacher’s inability to foresee the situation as a threat then the teacher can be held accountable for the student’s welfare. The teacher and students both have rights. The issue of teacher’s responsibility is a cloudy subject because it is not always easy to say what could be a foreseeable harm when being surrounded by teacher’s, but I would not want my student to get hurt on a field trip because a teacher was not paying attention, or the teacher was not efficient enough in making good decisions.
The teacher’s responsibilities influence the student’s rites because in order for the teacher to maintain a child’s safety on a field trip, the teacher must limit the student’s rights. This type of behavior is not beneficial in the way that students may not have the first hand experiences that they would hope to have when attending field trips. Students who are not allowed to bring alcohol on a field trip to Europe may say that “the guidelines infringe on his freedom to express his acceptance of European culture, where partaking of alcohol during dinner is a norm” (Tinsay, 2007, pp. 3). This idea puts into question whether or not it is fair to restrict the student’s rites in order to protect them. Restricting rights of the students may also make them more inclined to break these rules.
The student’s rites might override the teacher’s responsibility to maintain a safe environment for the student in certain situations. This situation has more potential to cause conflicts when the class is on a field trip. The student’s might bring an illegal substance such as alcohol on a field trip, and this may lead to student’s endangering themselves and other members of the class. The student’s right to privacy infringes on the teacher’s ability to maintain a safe learning environment in this situation because the teacher can not protect the student from ingesting alcohol. The teacher can be aware of her students to the point where the teacher would notice the students behavior, and the teacher would be able to make decisions accordingly.
When I was a high school student my locker was searched. This was a situation where the teacher’s responsibilities over rid my rites as a student. There was a rumor that I had been writing letters to someone about drugs, and the police came in and searched my locker. I came back from class and found my locker a mess and heard from my fellow classmates that the police had been there. The police took my notebooks as evidence. There was nothing in my notebooks that was dangerous to my fellow students, and my rites were violated. My class notes and a few notes to my boyfriend were in the notebooks, but they were never returned. The school allowed this to happen because they were trying to protect my fellow classmates, but it was a completely false accusation that caused me a lot of stress. This event violated my rights and caused conflict with my school work.
The issues related to rights and responsibilities in the classroom are a major issue in schools, but it is a hard issue to discern. I think that teachers should try their hardest to not infringe upon a student’s rights. I feel that students, especially older students, should be given responsibility to an extent that they can learn responsibility. If students are given freedom and corrected when they make bad decisions than they will learn, and students are in school to learn. I think that teachers should be liable for the student’s welfare, and I feel teachers should be aware enough of their students, try their hardest, and use their knowledge to make the best decisions for their students. I understand that teacher’s can not always make the best decisions. I also believe that, that is why the laws are somewhat vague and it is tough to establish rites and responsibilities for teachers and students.
Johnson, J.A., Musial, D., & Hall, G.E. (2005). Introduction to the Foundations of American Education, (13th ed.). : Allan and Bacon.
Tinsay, S. (2007). Field-Trip guideline flaws. Cypress Chronicle, (), . Retrieved August 18, 2007, from http://media.www.cychron.com/media/storage/paper910/news/2007/07/28/Opinion/FieldTrip.Guideline.Flaws-2913937.shtml