Stepford Students

After Sandy Hook, schools are easing outsider safety concerns, but perhaps a new danger is growing inside the building?

Article first published as Stepford Students on Technorati.

Across the country school administrators are addressing the safety concerns of parents. Districts are doing a great job installing security cameras and locks, and strategically assigning teachers at doorways to prevent evil doers from entering a building. These measures go a long way to ease concern, but could there be a different kind of danger growing inside the building?

Schools have always been on the lookout for students who were disassociated, alienated, or mentally ill. Until now, it’s felt like proactive measures to identify students needing help, but Sandy Hook changed everything. Now, it’s beginning to feel as if schools may be shifting their intention to scrutinizing students in an attempt to identify and remove potential future evil doers. Understandably, we all want to make sure that no one harms children like this again—ever. And yet without considering the human spirit and the unique qualities we encourage our children to explore, we may be missing something vital while we create a whole new danger to fear.

Controlling a Human

Remember the 1972 novel by Ira Levin, The Stepford Wives? Written at the height of the feminist movement, it fictionalized the lengths to which some would be willing to go to maintain control.  In Stepford, husbands banded together to enforce limits on the interests, achievements, and behaviors of their wives. The husbands felt threatened by their wives who were exploring the possibility of becoming something more than homemakers. Once the husbands realized that people can’t be controlled, they substituted their wives for something that could be controlled—robots.

Welcome to Stepford

What are the implications of a community focused on finding problems? They find problems. What are the implications of a child who is different in such a community? The child can become a problem found. Thinking back to The Stepford Wives, I wonder what it must feel like to consider moving a family to a   small upper-middle class community these days.  Stepping into a tightly monitored system with narrowly defined expectations about your child’s interests, achievement, and behavior could feel dangerous.

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Author: Lorraine Esposito

Lorraine Esposito 914-410-7502 Lorraine Esposito is a certified professional life coach, mentor coach, owner of The Center for Coaching Mastery at Westchester Community College in New York, and nationally recognized author of The Peacemaker Parent, Solving Problems for Today, Teaching Independence for a Lifetime, Lorraine is the featured life coach for a popular New York radio station, WFAS 103.9 FM and is in collaboration with and featured blogger for the National Football League and USA Football adding a ‘coach approach’ to coaching youth sports. Lorraine’s client base includes CEO’s in the entertainment industry, White House and Capitol Hill public affairs staff, entrepreneurs, global TED speakers, award winning writers, new coaches just starting out, successful business women between 40 and 55 looking for more out of life, and parents needing a little help making good on their parenting promises. Lorraine’s career matches the diversity in her coaching practices. Starting out in the rural mid-west, Lorraine has owned four small businesses; the first, an automobile repair center, started at age 16. Her corporate experience is mainly in negotiating multimillion dollar contracts as the buyer of domestic in-flight food and beverages for Trans World Airlines and then as a procurement manager for the New York City Transit Authority. Lorraine’s strength has always been creatively finding solutions to even the most complicated goal. In addition, Lorraine’s 30 years as a professional fitness coach continues to add depth to all her endeavors. She has been featured in various print, broadcast, and on-line media and is a public speaker regarding personal leadership to community and school-based audiences. Lorraine lives in New York with her husband and two teenage sons.

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