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Eric Cummings, president of the Marion County School Board, said it was time for the district to create a virtual school code of conduct to address parental behavior now that issues have surfaced during online lessons.
About one-third of Marion County students, or 14,000 K-12 students, learn at home, and a few of their parents seem to have forgotten that their laptop’s camera and microphone. child pick up words and pictures in the background.
Cummings said he received reports of women wearing shirtless bras falling into the frame behind their children who started classes. In other cases, parents can be overheard using profanity.
“Kids and teachers see it and hear it,” Cummings said.
This causes the teacher, who teaches from his class at his assigned school, to scramble to mute the sounds and turn off the screens.
“A teacher familiar with the platform can quickly turn off their screens,” Cummings said. “If this teacher is unfamiliar, these children might be exposed to things they are not used to seeing. We need to create some type of online etiquette protocols for parents. “
Cummings was watching an online course recently. Cummings saw a teacher’s screen. This revealed that most of his students were staring at the camera. Their faces filled video squares, or blocks like in the real Brady Bunch shape, all ready to learn.
In one of the squares, a man was looking at the camera of the laptop computer.
“I looked at the teacher’s screen and all of her kids were there, but in one of the blocks there was a man with a beard,” Cummings said. “It was the child’s father who was trying to bring the student together. I was like, ‘Who is this old man looking at all these little kids?’ “
But more importantly, Cummings said many parents interfere with teachers’ attempts to lead their class. And too many parents help, or actually do, their child’s work during online school.
“We need these parents to let these teachers teach,” Cummings said. “If they were in regular class, the parent wouldn’t be sitting there helping them. The way a parent learned to do, say math, is not the way they teach today. “
Mark Avery, president of the local teachers’ union, said he had heard numerous reports of teachers struggling to take control of classrooms and being subjected to rude and unacceptable behavior from students and parents .
He thinks more advice is needed. He said there must be consequences for the actions of students, as well as parents.
“It’s still a classroom,” Avery said.
Avery pointed to a YouTube video posted by West Port High School teacher Kiara Feliciano. The video was titled “Expectations for Goalies: What I Will and Will Not Accept”. The teacher calmly said that everyone is having difficulty.
The teacher realized that after two days of school this behavior had to change.
“After the first two days, I realized that I really needed to talk to you in order to support your children the best that I can,” said Feliciano. “In order for me to help your child, I need more help in return.”
Feliciano said in a traditional classroom that she “can limit distractions”.
But by teaching a virtual school, she can have “50 to 60 students at a time,” Feliciano said, adding that she had no way of controlling 50 to 60 households.
“Your child needs a quiet space for him to work,” she noted, adding that some students turn their microphones on every time she cuts them off.
“Students play offensive and inappropriate music during school hours and use inappropriate language in discussion streams,” she noted. “I can’t be in your house to help with these things, but I think you can help me here.
Feliciano then turned to a more serious discussion at the end of the six-minute video.
She said, “When your child’s microphone is on and I’m teaching, I don’t need to hear how attractive you think I am.” She said that other students did not need to hear such “bad talk” in her class.
“I don’t think it’s cute or funny, and that doesn’t flatter me at all,” she said. “If anything, I’m humbled by it. You degraded and reduced me then.”
She went on to say: “My students will then not see me as an educator, a staunch defender of the right to a quality education, but rather they will see me as a piece of meat.”
“They learned this from your example,” she concluded.
In response to this behavior, Cummings emailed a copy of the document from a school district in Pennsylvania. called “Code of Conduct for Virtual Learning” to district staff.
The document was created by the Colonial School District, located in an area known as the Plymouth Meeting, an area that straddles the townships of Plymouth and Whitemarsh in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
The Colonial Code of Conduct specifically addresses many student behaviors, including dressing and speaking appropriately. There is a section that talks about the behavior of parents regarding cheating.
And this section states that parents should “make sure that your child’s work is genuine and original.”
Cummings said he would like the Marion School District to expand it to include parents, also adding dress and language expectations for adults.
School district spokesperson Kevin Christian said the district will release a video on September 21 that will give advice to parents on how to help their children succeed. Regarding certain behaviors of students and parents, he said, “We will not allow this in the traditional classroom.”
“How do you tell people how to behave in their own homes? Christian asked. “We need to have the cooperation of parents for online courses to be successful.”
Joe Callahan can be reached at 867-4113 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JoeOcalaNews.