View Full Version : Community Service for High School Students?

05-17-2001, 11:49 AM
From the People's Republic of Chicago:

I heard on the news this morning that several hundred Chicago high school seniors are in jeopardy of not graduating because they have not completed their mandatory community service. Apparently, before one can graduate from a Chicago high school they have to complete 40 hours of it. A school official was quoted as saying "Not completing community service is the same as not completing a required English course."

To me, this seems ridiculous. Isn't community service assigned to people convicted of minor crimes? Is it a crime to be in high school? I'm assuming this service entails doing menial work for the city (picking up garbage, etc.). Doesn't the city have people that should be doing this without having to draft kids into service? What the hell do I pay taxes for? And what if these kids have after school/weekend jobs?

I have no problem with people volunteering to do community service. But it should be voluntary. Screwing with a kid's education unless he helps pick up doggie doo on the lakefront seems outrageous.

I wonder if this crap goes on elsewhere, or if it is just a Chicago concept? I've never heard of it before. It sure would have p!ssed me off when I was a kid, though.

And finally, for the jacka$$ who thinks picking up trash is as important as learning English, I guess he must not spend much time here.

05-17-2001, 11:55 AM
Never heard of that before, Fraz.

I'm not sure it's about picking up garbage but about developing a sense of responsibility to community. Done correctly, I think I would be a proponent. Tying it to graduation seems a little stiff to me but if it's been that way all along and students were aware of it for 4 years and couldn't complete 40 hours, then they deserve what they get. I guess I'm a fence rider on this issue. I like the concept but I'm not sure of the details in the iteration.

05-17-2001, 11:55 AM
I would say it depends on the work they are doing. If it is educational, I don't see a problem with that, however there is no reason to have a bunch of law abiding high schoolers mowing lawns with some drop out convicts.

05-17-2001, 12:05 PM
I guess I'd feel a little better about learning a sense of responsibility to the community if the community in question actually gave me ANYTHING in return. In the time I've lived here, I've got nothing from this g#ddamn city but grief. And I certainly would not want my children doing unpaid work better left for criminals and minimum wage morons.

05-17-2001, 12:07 PM
I guess now that I'm out of school (and i did plenty of C.S. in the day) I don't think its a terrible idea....Maybe the logic is to instill some type of civic responsibility. Without making everyone do it, and only the troubled kids...you get into "descrimination" issues.

So many kids don't have anyone teaching them personal responsibility, self motivation, and betterment, be it for themselves or the community in general. I don't play on swings, but in HS and since, i've personally been involved with building playground equipment several times....

someone has to do it.....

I'm guessing all of these kids have known and blown this off all year...just like i would have.

Community service can involve many things besides picking up trash...reading to kids, hanging out with old folks at the community center....lots of things that could relate to an interest that every student might have...future doctors could work at a free clinic etc...

05-17-2001, 12:07 PM
Slow down. I don't agree that all minimum wage employees are morons, but I do agree with you in theory

Baby Lee
05-17-2001, 12:11 PM
Community service can take a number of forms, from picking up trash and mowing, to serving meals at homeless shelters and building houses, a la Habitat for Humanity. I see no problem with making students aware of the needs of others and the dedicated work associated with filling those needs, so long as protections are in place should the student volunteer for service in a dangerous area or around potentially dangerous persons.

The teen years are filled with a lot of free time, I'm glad someone in charge sees the importance of filling a little of that time with public service. Let them see early that helping others isn't just something 'other people' do.

05-17-2001, 12:12 PM
In reflection, the moron comment was a bit uncalled for (talking about the PRofC always gets me fired up). God knows I did my share of minimum wage crap when I first joined the Navy (had I counted what I made by the hour, I'm quite sure I would have been far below minimum wage when I first went in). However, I still wouldn't want my kids doing this crap.

If you want to teach your kids responsibility, have them get PAYING JOBS. It worked for me.

Baby Lee
05-17-2001, 12:12 PM
Or, in an abbreviated form, "what Iowanian said."

KS Smitty
05-17-2001, 12:25 PM
Ditto to Iowanian and JC. I live in a small city (less than 400) and if it weren't for the citizens of all ages doing what they can when they can we wouldn't be able to do a lot of improvements and "beautification". It gives them a sense of belonging and community that prevents vandalism and gives them pride of ownership. They aren't building roads on the chain gang or anything dangerous but they are improving the qualitity of life for everyone by doing something for nothing and getting an ego boost when they realize how it's appreciated. I don't know that it should be a requirement for graduation but helping your community is a good thing.
Paying jobs are great and kids should have those but community service gives a much broader sense of responsibility to the world they live in.

05-17-2001, 12:32 PM
that if this weren't Required these Chicago Couch Potatoes wouldn't get off the damn Nintendo Chair long enough to leave the house let alone do the service.

Last time I checked a little work never killed anyone..actually, it does sometimes....population controle I guess.

Maybe 40hrs is alot to require...but over a school year, Its hardly unbearable...

I think they should be working for money TOO!

I was on a tractor at age 8, working for farmers by 10 and riding hay racks by 12....excuse me if I don't feel bad if some 18yr old fat kid from the 'burbs has to pick up some Snicker Wrappers that he's dropped all year out of the park....he might think twice about throwing out trash if he has to pick some up.....

05-17-2001, 12:35 PM
My take on this is that Chicago is simply exploiting a free source of labor. Funny how I don't see any tax relief as a result of this brilliant plan.

If you want to do volunteer work, fine, but it should not be mandatory, and certainly not at the risk of a child's diploma.

Perhaps if I still lived in Jefferson City (where I grew up) I might feel a little differently. That's a community worth serving. I'm quite sure I've made my feelings clear about the one I currently reside in (mercifully, only for two more weeks).

05-17-2001, 12:38 PM
But if more of the same "street thugs" you were talking about the other day, were busy with some mandatory "volunteer"(just like when the judge makes me pay "mandatory donations"...which is legalized extortion).....they would have 40 less hours to terrorise your neighborhood......maybe even clean the place up a little.

which makes it a more livable place for you.

Good luck with the move btw.

05-17-2001, 02:40 PM
I went to school in OP and had to do 20 hours of Community Service, and it was for a grade. It wasn't too bad, but alot of people didn't do it and got F s.

05-17-2001, 07:29 PM
I've reflected on this a bit, and I think the thing that bothers me the most about it is that the school is forcing students to do non-school related things. Perhaps it's just the rebel in me, but to me, this would be like my boss telling me, after a hard week at work, to go mow somebody's yard for free on the weekend.

Chicago public schools also have a lot bigger problems than kids refusing to do community service.

It seems a better way to implement this program would be to make it voluntary, but reward participants with extra credits. If they worked it that way, I'd think it was great. But forcing it on people is BS, IMHO.

Zebedee DuBois
05-17-2001, 09:30 PM
My kids are required to do community service as part of their school program, and I think it is a good deal for them. Community Service is not required across the whole school system here. My kids opted into a supposedly "more rigorous" curriculum, and CS was part of the deal.
As said by others, the CS can take quite a few forms, and I haven't heard of any of my kids friends picking up garbage - you're right, no kids want to do that kinda stuff. Some volunteer at hospitals, nursing homes - Many church activities that they might of done anyway can count as CS. My kids have served at banquets held for several nonprofit organizations, put GoodWill baskets together at Christmas time, and stuff like that. It gets them involved in the commnunity - out of their own little worlds. I think it does them good to give a little back, and 40 hours over the year is no great burden.

Working a job for pay can also accomplish many of the same goals. My oldest has a job, and getting payed for accomplishing something is a valuable life lesson. But I think it is also a good thing to help out others, without expecting a reward for yourself other than self satisfication.

KS Smitty
05-17-2001, 09:44 PM
Another thing in favor of this being required; these kids may be exposed to an event that may drastically change the direction their life is headed. Community service can make you feel like you really do have the power to change the world, and it's like the butterflies in South America: even a little change can create the ripple effect and who knows where it will stop. I'm just glad that there are people that do this without even thinkin about it and I wish that more younger people did it of their own free will. Goodnite all.

Zebedee DuBois
05-17-2001, 09:47 PM
Good nite Smitty. :cool:

Jim Hunter
05-17-2001, 10:41 PM
I think its BS to require the kids to do this.....unless it is part of a civics course that they elect to take. Can the kids do their service during school hours ?? If its mandatory for them then they should be able to do their time during the normal school hours...IMO

05-17-2001, 11:11 PM
Interisting Idea. I heard on the news a few weeks back, were some dorm's required it in order to stay there.

Frazod, I understand your angery, I too have lived in a few towns were I could care less about the town. But it does have to begin somewere. I agree with most of the points made here supporting it, but I think it could be done better.

Working for money is good, BUT most kids could care less about working, because mom & dad open there wallets for everything.

I think It should be required, for those students who are not employed, or involved in afterschool activities. This way it gives them something to do, and maybe gives them some sense of being apart of the community.

As for requiring it during school hours? please they spend a total of what 6 hours in actuall class time a day? I don't think the loss of A little after school time is gonna hurt them.