Required community service is forced labor

First posted March 10, 2009, on my blog before the Camera’s system changed and still worth sharing for whenever this idea raises its ugly head:

Next year, Rona Wilensky, the principal at New Vista, will require students at the school to complete community service to graduate. She dictates community service for all students much like a judge or jury would require it of criminals.

I agree with Helayne Jones, BVSD School Board president when she said, “I think that having compulsory community service gets away from the spirit of what community service is.” The school board should stick with Jones’ thought for the rest of the BVSD students. Required community service is simply forced labor.

Back in the early 1990s the school board wanted to change graduation requirements to include a slightly more rigorous academic preparation like a little more English or American history. The result was such an uproar you’d think students were being forced to march 50 miles through a blizzard in below 0 temperatures. The biggest complainers were parents and teachers.

This year one parent appealed to the school board to require community service for all BVSD students. One parent! She should do her homework before approaching the board. What is good for her children isn’t necessarily good for all. I’d love it if everyone was required to take a religion class, an ethics class and three years of a foreign language. In their off hours, I’d like everyone to take piano lessons and sing in a choir, too.

Any move by the school board to require community service for graduation is all about social engineering. And just because Obama approves of community service doesn’t mean our local school board members have to act like his minions.

Volunteerism is a matter of heart. If forced to complete it, students or criminals can be given an opportunity for their hearts to absorb some good there. However, it is just as likely or even more so that the good will escape them because it is forced. They will simply fulfill their required hours.

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