Do no harm

Social engineering is ridiculous quite often, but this really reads as if it’s out of The Onion, A Best Friend? You Must Be Kidding:

“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”

Still, school officials admit they watch close friendships carefully for adverse effects. “When two children discover a special bond between them, we honor that bond, provided that neither child overtly or covertly excludes or rejects others,” said Jan Mooney, a psychologist at the Town School, a nursery through eighth grade private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “However, the bottom line is that if we find a best friend pairing to be destructive to either child, or to others in the classroom, we will not hesitate to separate children and to work with the children and their parents to ensure healthier relationships in the future.”

The article is in The New York Times. It’s a paper which usually tries really hard to pretend toward objective distance, but I get the sense that even the author of the piece was a bit confused by the weirdness which had infected the educational establishment. This effort will fail because of human nature, just as the Israeli Kibbutzim failed.

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5 Responses to Do no harm

  1. gneek says:

    Hm… I’ve had a quite a few friends, but always one at a time. I thought I was weird like that.

  2. John says:

    This will fail, but only after doing tremendous harm to the kids. I would be livid if some teacher or councilor tried this with one of my kids.

  3. Larry, San Francisco says:

    Hey, what is wrong with kibbutzim? The first liberatarians I ever met were my hebrew school teachers who were raised on kibbutzes.

  4. jay-w says:

    Equality 7-2521, call your office. … Say what you will about Ayn Rand’s writing style (or lack thereof), but she was prescient.

  5. D says:

    When I was in school I had a “friend” who basically bullied me and others into being his friend. I wish teachers had noticed that. He’s doubtless a very unhappy person now.

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