If Your High Schooler Forgets Something At Home...Tough

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

Administrators at one Florida high school got so fed up with parents dropping off forgotten items for their kids — they decided to do something about it. Lake Mary High School is now a no-drop off zone. Sorry kids.

“Attention students and parents,” reads the sign in the front office of the school. “We do not accept items for drop off such as lunches, backpacks, homework, sports equipment. Please plan accordingly.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the school will provide a cafeteria lunch if a student has left their lunch or lunch money at home, but otherwise Principal Michael Kotkin thinks students should come prepared for their school day — no other exceptions. The article goes on to explain “the drop-off phenomenon has increased in recent years, principals say, fueled by cellphones that give students a ready way to seek help and a shift in parents’ views.”

Who knew the forgotten item drop-off had become such a plague? I certainly didn’t: when I was in high school I wouldn’t have dreamed of calling my mother to drop off an item I’d forgotten. That just wasn’t something that was done. There were no cellphones so it wouldn’t have been as easy, but I still wouldn’t have thought to bother my parents unless it was a real emergency.

Teenagers are human and they’ll make mistakes; no one expects them to be perfect. But the thing is, when you make mistakes and forget things – you learn from those experiences. If we swoop in to rescue our kids every time there’s a misstep, we miss an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson.

Yes, if you forget your gym shoes you miss a day, and your grade will probably be affected. Same goes if you leave a term paper at home. But high school is the time when we groom our children to be functional, independent adults. That doesn’t mean expecting them to be perfect, it means allowing them to learn the lesson that there are always consequences — even from mistakes.

“Where’s the sense of responsibility? Use your planner, use your phone … learn how to be responsible,” said Principal Kotkin. Yeah – it’s a drag, and he sounds like kind of a jerk – but he’s right. No one is following you around when you are an adult, correcting your mistakes. Life just doesn’t work that way. The sooner we teach our kids that, the better.

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