Officials at Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock are serious about trying to get their students to take responsibility and learn to think for themselves.

The nearly 750 boys in grades 9-12 who attend are expected to bring to school all the things they will need every single day. If they don’t, they will have to go without. Parents aren’t allowed to bring any forgotten item into school

The sign above is posted on a school door, stating the policy in no uncertain terms:

“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 policy has been around for decades, according to Principal Steve Straessle, who was told by a longtime teacher who is also a graduate of the school that it was in place when he was in school in 1972. But it became known beyond the school community when the picture of the sign was just posted on the school’s Facebook page and was shared thousands of times.


So does it make students remember to bring everything to school? Straessle wrote in an email:

I can’t answer whether it makes kids less forgetful or not, however, it does help teach kids to problem-solve when things go wrong.  Every issue mentioned in the sign can be fixed right here on campus if a boy is willing to look a little deeper than the default switch of calling mom or dad.

Some Facebook readers praised the policy, while others worried about what happens to kids who forget their lunch. Straessle said:

For boys who forget their lunches (which seems to be the most controversial part of the sign) they may get credit in the cafeteria or borrow money or food from a friend.  No one goes hungry.  The only issue is that our boys are to take care of it themselves without hitting the default switch.

The school also takes an interesting approach to how it labels its courses. Its website has a basic fact sheet about the school that includes this:

Catholic High School, selective in admissions, offers only college-preparatory courses. None of these courses, no matter how advanced or difficult, is labeled “Honors” or “Advanced” because of our conviction that such labels promote an intellectual elitism, and because those students in courses not so labeled are disposed to believe they are inferior and that less is expected of them.