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Don't make the less fortunate feel bad with your Ivy sweatshirt!

TheGFGTheGFG Posts: 4,449Registered User Senior Member
edited May 2012 in Parents Forum
NYC prep schools institute dress codes and Facebook guidelines barring seniors from broadcasting acceptance to top colleges - NYPOST.com

One high school is not allowing kids to wear college apparel before May 1st so that students' admissions success isn't rubbed in anyone's face. I suppose the theory is that after May 1st, the kids are going to feel less disappointed because they've had time to process the news and chose a school for themselves? We saw some similar stories in past years where schools tried to prohibit obvious celebration of acceptances.

I suppose that in the interest in preserving a harmonious learning environment it makes some sense. But at the same time, there is a prevalent attitude now that our schools need to engage in social engineering to try to make life "fair" for all. They give awards to kids merely to boost their self esteem and they try in various ways to stifle the smart and talented so their less intelligent and less talented peers don't feel bad.

In my opinion, this is a presumptuous form of playing God and we mere mortals can never do it right. Through this rule, the school is essentially implying that there were kids who were equally deserving who didn't get accepted and they shouldn't be reminded of this terrible injustice while at school. Well, how do the teachers know who truly IS most deserving? And what is "deserving?" The CC mantra is that unless you've examined the applications side by side, you don't necessarily know what kids may do outside of school or how creative and well-written the essays were, and thus can't make any judgments. Furthermore, no one can see into the life of student and know exactly how hard he has worked compared to someone else. Maybe the lucky ones were actually just harder-working. And beyond that, there are all the other potential inequities of natural ability, innate intelligence, family resources and luck that make one child more successful than another. No one controlled for those things for 18 years, but now in senior year the school staff wants life to be fair?

My youngest is a recently declassified special education student with a below average IQ and poor social skills. She has worked extremely hard to compensate for a lot of disabilities. She is doing pretty well academically but has no friends. Only our family knows the details of her life's struggles--like how as a 7th grader she still sometimes has toileting accidents, how she still can't do many normal things like jump rope or comb her hair. Even we don't know what it's like to be her and have her processing difficulties. But there's one thing she's pretty good at: running. She wasn't always good at it. She couldn't even walk normally when she was 5 years old, much less run. She had to learn the mechanics of running that other kids just do naturally. Long story short, she has worked very hard at her sport. It is her main EC. She runs on her own and does core exercises in the off season and on days off from school.

Well, today at her track practice the coach told her she was "too good." From now on, despite being the best distance runner on her team, she will only do one event at each meet. The slower girls will contine to do two. Why? Her teammates are trying to beat her and can't. A few are whining to the coach about it. So he has decided to take my D out of her races so the other girls can have a chance to win them. Now these girls are normal. In fact, they are above normal--cute, smart, popular, and are the second-best runners on the team. In all likelihood, they have more talent than my D and certainly more strategic ability, but she has put in more mileage. Eventually, they will beat her. In sum, they are rich in many ways, whereas my D is not. If you only see the bare bones of the story, you might agree with the coach's decision. But from my vantage point it is anything but fair. These are the sort of things which happen when people try to play God and make things "fair."
Post edited by TheGFG on
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Replies to: Don't make the less fortunate feel bad with your Ivy sweatshirt!

  • coureurcoureur Posts: 11,363Registered User Senior Member
    The title and the article's lead paragraph suggest that news of Ivy or other high-end school acceptance is being singled out for prohibition. But if you read the actual polices as explained in the text of the article, it is acceptance news from all colleges that students are being urged to downplay or delay announcing.

    If high-end schools were being singled out, but acceptance news from other schools was still okay to broadcast, I would object. Ivy-bound students should be allowed to have school spirit too. But if the policy is applied across the board, I see nothing wrong in guiding young people in having some sensitivity for the feelings of others. It's a form of good manners.
  • davidthefatdavidthefat Posts: 1,521Registered User Senior Member
    OP, you are using a straw man argument. Track and wearing a certain apparel is totally unrelated topics. I am aware of the point you are making, but it's a logical fallacy.
  • absweetmarieabsweetmarie Posts: 1,905Registered User Senior Member
    And at the Packer Collegiate Institute, students are instructed not to update Facebook with university news until after school lets out.

    A dress code is one thing, but not sure how this school justifies what feels kinda like a free speech violation to me. Why would they think they can control (or want to try to control) what a student posts on his or her own Facebook page? That's nuts.

    As is the story about TheGFG's D and track. That makes me angry.
  • barronsbarrons Posts: 23,391Registered User Senior Member
    I think it is ridiculous to ban wearing your new school gear be it Yale or RVCC. Time for the kids to deal with some harsher reality. And be proud of their school.
  • stradmomstradmom Posts: 3,312Registered User Senior Member
    Oh. For. Goodness. Sakes! Is this really what we've come to?

    Good manners should not need to be dictated by an institution. [see first line of post]

    My own children had their share of rejections on the college front. Those were upsetting, especially for the child who learned of her rejections from Ivys an hour before going to a mandatory school National Honor Society meeting where several of her classmates announced their acceptances.

    But you know what? She survived the meeting, and she's survived four years at a non-Ivy school. It was a better fit in the end.

    Another child was rejected from a prestigious conservatory while her close friend was not only accepted but received a full scholarship. (And still didn't attend but chose to enroll at another school that he felt was a better fit.)

    In both cases, there were tears and disappointment. And simultaneously, there was joy for the success of their friends.

    I appreciate the intent behind the school's decree but I think it's misplaced.
  • arabrabarabrab Posts: 4,353Registered User Senior Member
    TheGFG -- I'd have a chat with the coach and her special ed teacher. That is just wrong. (I hope she does Special Olympics, too -- it sounds like she'd do very well with that.)

    And personally, I'd love to see schools and students show a lot more kindness from March 25th - April 15th. It can be really brutal out there.
  • parentofpeopleparentofpeople Posts: 941Registered User Member
    I wonder if when they have their sports team tryouts, the kids who make the team have to wait before they can wear the team apparel to school so that those who didn't make the team don't feel bad.
  • cobratcobrat Posts: 6,286Registered User Senior Member
    Funny. While I don't think it is the school's place to be making such rules....I do believe that kids who fail to learn how to celebrate their achievements in a classy manner from parents/experience which takes into consideration the feelings of others are going to be setting themselves up for social and even career difficulties down the line.

    Know of several people who were so crass about attending/graduating from respectable/elite schools...including HYPSMC who ended up losing friends, potential dates, and even getting themselves fired/not hired because they came across as elitist obnoxious a**h***s. One of those accounts came from an acquaintance who interviewed one of those obnoxious types he rejected for a position for that very reason. Ironically, he and that rejected candidate were alums of the same HYPSMC school.

    Incidentally, I caught a lot of hell from one side of my extended family for wearing a shirt from my LAC during my undergrad years because it was still a painful subject for some less accomplished older cousins.
  • BayBay Posts: 9,789Registered User Senior Member
    Rather than forcing kids to hide their acceptances to spare overly-sensitive classmates, schools ought to be teaching the rejects how to lose with grace and dignity and congratulate the winners. We obviously need more education in good sportsmanship.

    And GFG, your D's coach is a jerk!
  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 Posts: 5,808Registered User Senior Member
    My guess is that the college acceptance issue was causing major distractions and/or disruptions during class... whichcase I don't object to that at all. I am skeptical that it's really an issue of hurt feelings.
  • BluePoodleBluePoodle Posts: 179Registered User Junior Member
    The schools have a right to do whatever they need to to reduce distraction in the classrooms. It won't kill anyone to wait until May 1st to wear their sweatshirts! I think "good sportsmanship" extends to being sensitive to other people's feelings. It's not like they are never going to be allowed to wear their new Ivy T's!

    I do think it is not within their jurisdiction to make rules about the facebook announcements. We live far from many of our family members and facebook it how we communicate with many of them. That is more of a personal space than on school premises.
  • cobratcobrat Posts: 6,286Registered User Senior Member
    Rather than forcing kids to hide their acceptances to spare overly-sensitive classmates, schools ought to be teaching the rejects how to lose with grace and dignity and congratulate the winners. We obviously need more education in good sportsmanship.

    An older Caltech graduate cousin would add that it is just as important for those who are winners to not act like "sore winners"*.

    Didn't really sink in until I started seeing/hearing about such folks losing friends, dates, and even jobs because they behaved in such a manner.


    * A.K.A. Not acting classy with consideration for feelings of others.
  • GeminiMomGeminiMom Posts: 316Registered User Member
    Um, what am I missing with this "policy"? It sounds as though kids can wear whatever sweatshirt they want after May 1. Do the hurt feelings magically go away on May 1???

    As someone who has witnessed way too many celebrations of academic mediocrity over the years, I don't see anything wrong with letting students wear the sweatshirts of their intended school before May 1.

    GFG -- what a terrible decision by your daughter's track coach. Hugs to her. I hope she is not too devastated. Will you talk to him?
  • BayBay Posts: 9,789Registered User Senior Member
    I am all for dress codes, and if the reason is "distraction" then I support the ban.

    If it is because some people think it is not "classy" to wear your University of Scranton sweatshirt to spare the feelings of those who did not get admitted, then I say there is no better time than now to grow up.
  • HiimColeHiimCole Posts: 192Registered User Junior Member
    That's ridiculous. Just the entire concept. Think about it, not being able to wear a sweatshirt of a college you will be going to, I'd imagine they wouldn't want people telling their friends they are going to an Ivy either, because that would hurt kids feelings just as much.

    I go to school in an area where kids straight up aren't accepted to top universities, so if one of my friends wore an Ivy shirt I wouldn't be mad, I would be happy for them.

    Where is the cut off? I'm going to a top 20 non-ivy, would I be able to wear a shirt from that school?


    Also, I truly hope the anecdote about your daughter only running one event was just food for thought. If your daughter is good at several events she should be allowed to run in all of them. Why wouldn't the coach want to win? Why wouldn't he let his best runner run? The other athletes have the practices to improve in.
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