I'm generally a law and order kind of girl (both the concept and the TV show). But I believe bureaucracy can end up being a mask for fear of failure. And I think I'm witnessing it at my son's school.
There have been a large number of minor bureaucratic rules created with our new principal in September. Most of them are quite small and not worth mentioning, others seem to have good reasons behind them. What troubles me are the sheer number and the absolute adherence being enforced without much room for reason, common sense or compassionate exceptions.
Too many rules inspire (or are inspired by) a culture of fear. You can see it in the airlines in the myriad of post 9/11 rules. Malpractice laws, strict guidelines for "acceptable" touching in the workplace, it all springs from the same desire to have an external force to point to rather than risking blame. Ironically, most of these rules do not have the effect they were intended to and often end up simply making it harder to deal with genuine issues.
I've worked very hard to not raise my children in a culture of fear. I was raised in one, taught to be wary, to suspect and to curtail. This isn't a legacy I want to pass on. So it bothers me to see my school being transformed into a red-tape prison.
With luck, common sense will prevail. Protection cannot be legislated. Too many guidelines form a barrier to creative solutions while doing little to actually solve the perceived problems.