School's 'Problem Solving' Note To Parents Goes Viral

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

School receives backlash for trying to teach kids to problem solve on their own

Parents at Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Arkansas got a very clear message from principal Steve Straessle at the start of the school year: if your kid forgets something at home, tough.

Catholic High School For Boys posted this image to their Facebook page, and ruffled a lot of feathers. They posted it with this comment: “Welcome to Catholic High. We teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and problem-solving.”

“If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please TURN AROUND and exit the building,” the note reads. “Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.” The sign specifies “son” because this is a school for boys, by the way.

“Teenage boys will often hit the default switch of calling parents to swoop in and fix problems they encounter,” Straessle told TODAY Parents. “We encourage our boys to fight that inclination and, instead, think how they can solve a problem on their own.”

For those of us whose kids are not junior high or high school-aged yet, we may have not considered what happens when kids have a direct line to parents all day in the form of a cell phone: they use it. Apparently, kids texting their parents for forgotten items is something that happens all the time. A similar story surfaced last year when a Florida principal said “enough is enough” and made the same type of announcement: “We do not accept items for drop off such as lunches, backpacks, homework, sports equipment. Please plan accordingly.”

When I was a teenager I never would’ve dared call my parents to shuttle something to school for me in case it was a real emergency. Lunch? Homework? No way. These aren’t elementary school kids, they are adults in training, who in a few short years will be tasked with the responsibility of remembering all their crap themselves, every day.

Some parents do not see this as a lesson in responsibility, they see it as being needlessly harsh:

“You can’t problem-solve on an empty stomach, without your schoolbooks or if you’re depressed from getting in trouble because you forgot everything. Give them a break!”

“This so-called “Catholic” school has a problem showing compassion to people who forget things. They must be without sin to be able to cast such a stone. But they probably just left the house in a rush and forgot their compassion on the way out.”

“No, I dont agree. This is wrong, if my kids ever need me to bring them something and I am more than able to, My kids will get what I came there for.”

“This isn’t “problem-solving”, you assholes, it’s child abuse.”


There are thousands of comments on the thread — clearly the note touched a nerve.

No one wants to think of their child going hungry during lunch time. No one wants to think of their kid’s grade dropping because they forgot an assignment at home. But no one is follows you around when you become an adult, correcting your mistakes, either. Life just doesn’t work that way.

The sooner we teach our kids that, the better.

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