LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas Catholic school is teaching students to be problem solvers, riling some parents who believe its strict policies go too far.
Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock posted to Facebook last week a sign that greets parents when they arrive at the school: “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building.
“Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”
The post was accompanied by a message that read, “Welcome to Catholic High. We teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, and problem-solving.”
Principal Steve Straessle told KARK the policy has been in place for decades, for a good reason.
“We put a sign up on the front door to not only alert new parents to the policy, but to remind people why we do it,” Straessle said. “It’s simply to help boys avoid the default switch of calling mom and dad when things don’t go right to bail them out.”
A plaque on the front of Catholic High points to the school’s ultimate mission.
“Come, boys, so that you may become men,” it reads.
Catholic High senior Patrick Wingfield told the news site he wasn’t sure what to think of the school’s approach to personal responsibility when he arrived as a freshman, but now appreciates the lessons he’s learned.
Initially, “I was kinda shocked,” Wingfield said, “but after a couple years here I understood why it was a rule.”
“It makes me think for myself and not rely on other people to do things for me,” he said. “And if I make a mistake, I need to learn from it and try to fix it.”
Catholic High’s Facebook post went viral over the last week, racking up more than 115,000 shares and nearly 3,500 comments over seven days. And while a few thought the school should “Give kids a break!” the vast majority supported Catholic High’s tough love approach.
“The school of hard knocks,” Marg Lunn wrote, “totally agree with the school.”
“It’s called learning through natural consequences,” Victoria Augustine added. “A child doesn’t learn responsibility when mommy or daddy comes running to the rescue, and they really don’t die!”
“Maybe that’s what is wrong with this generation- too coddled,” Brenda Littlejohn posted. “They need to learn. It won’t hurt them to learn the hard way – it will make them stronger in character. It is not neglect, but love when you teach them to be responsible.”
“If only all schools were like this,” Barb Shear added.
“This is what I should have done for my kids. Too late now. Sorry kids,” Melodi Coy wrote.