Add in a good portion of society’s ills and you have a 2 sentence summation as to what is ‘wrong’ with America; not that, if asked, a dozen people wouldn’t give you a dozen or more answers apart from the one just laid out. And you will never lose a vote as a politician, city, county, state, national, fail to gain the attention of an audience, captivate and keep the rapt attention of almost any group detailing the increasing shortcomings of United States education; purported experts, political leaders, office running hopefuls to point persons in strategic industries armed with statistics, research, world comparisons with like countries, other westernized civilizations have been bemoaning the abysmal state of education for 35 odd years. Sending a fissure of nervousness through the public to enact education reforms, new tactics, teaching methods; common targets in the modern era education debate trying to pin down what exactly is making American education so bad and the world’s education so much better include beating up on teachers unions, remember school reformer Michelle Rhee, highlighting the most extreme situations to mock rules couched in absurdity leaving teachers in vacant rooms collecting a check awaiting a vast and lengthy hearing process, rules making it virtually impossible to fire teachers, even flagrantly bad ones. Calls going out right, left and center, echoing across every corner of the country for those teaching our most precious commodity— children to be better educated in their grade level, specific teaching subject, to better educated over all meeting higher standards to make it into the classroom. Common core has become a laughing stock because implementers went from talking about a uniform set of benchmarks and curriculum materials to be covered in each grade, at each section of mandatory education to dictating how teachers should teach those materials; in our frantic scramble to compete with the latest country to emerge on the world stage, they ignored input provided by teachers on what is feasible to be crammed into a school year, a grade level leaving room for organic, natural learning, fun activities (especially in younger grades) equally capable of teaching key concepts, also accompanied by shouts about extending school days and school years commiserate with China, Japan, South Korea— effectiveness untested, unproven. Latest on the rostered woes plaguing education we’re slowly, painstakingly learning through the proliferation of video phones, security cameras in educational environments and the tendency for things to go viral on the internet what a bad combination young gung ho cops trying to make their bones and older, blue to gray haired (usually female) teachers are to both schools and students. Videos showing teachers, school personnel, police officers embedded in schools to mentor, curb theft, truancy, drugs, violence, be a positive force being anything but, resorting to violence before any other problem solving, resorting to violence for the least little increasingly made up infraction. Incidents juxtaposed against continuing public comment referencing ‘the way kids are these days’ implying reactionary adult behavior, extra authorities brought in are a direct result of kids with no manners, respect, adherence to law and order, forget authority, no boundaries and that age old go to— spanking synonymous with the only functional form of discipline, true or not, the clear lack of it imparted by parents, and we wonder where our kids are getting it? The exclamation: and look where it’s gotten us; look indeed, but we all aren’t seeing the same thing. American education is so abysmal because it is permeated with persons, from the top down, more interested in exerting their authoritah, drunk on the power and influence of their job title/badge than concern about fostering any sort of learning, forget cultivating wisdom; who are perfectly ok, in fact absolutely giddy, rules are based not on rudimentary safety, law and order but ego trips, pet peeves, as long as their ego is the one being stroked, their pet peeves are the ones being given credence and eliminated. Hired educators and administrators, adjacent periphery personnel who will resort to being arbitrary and cruel, petty and vindictive to keep hold of that illusive power they have gained, would rather crush kids under the boot of authority less because they are out of control and more because they can, oozing profound dislike for young people merely because they exist; though it must be said kids who are out of control are that way primarily because their civil rights, fundamental dignity as human beings has been systematically violated, fact that transcends across all racial lines whether it’s blacks and Latinos surviving the neighborhood to come to school and be denigrated for their culture, their attitude, their perspective that is keeping them alive or white students hassled to their breaking point by non-sense dress codes, because teachers don’t like their parents, they are poor, come from the wrong side of the tracks, embody the type of person ‘who will never amount to anything.’ Underlying false premise behind public support of inarguably violent authority figures leaving a legacy of violence with our children throughout their formative years, is the concept fear (of authority) and pain (corporal punishment), in the home or at school, is the only way to instill, ensure compliance, adherence to public order. Illustrating Michael Eric Dyson’s point to a T in his essay confronting Adrian Peterson’s child abuse charges, “The point of discipline is to transmit values to children. The purpose of punishment is to coerce compliance and secure control, and failing that, to inflict pain as a form of revenge.” Ignored for the aforementioned false premise the unmistakable reality treating children like this from pre-k through high school only galvanizes their tendency to ‘act like animals,’ to say nothing of being called that through the foundation of your life. Yet anything is better than society overrun by hooligans, thugs, hood rats, if this means slapping a kid, kicking a kid, beating their ass, so be it. As much as we seem to think we’ve gotten away from the 1950’s, the social structures that made us great in many eyes, kept a climate of civility now lost because we have abandoned that that worked so well, this is exactly like the 1950’s and exactly why it’s wrong, we just didn’t have video to prove it; whether it was socially acceptable, the social norm or as plain as no one did anything about it despite their feelings doesn’t change that truth.
An ongoing rash of school resource officer violence against students is the malignant natural progression of both problems, authority’s addiction, obsession with power and our willful misunderstanding, misinterpretation of what our authoritarian roots net us in benefits; prompting some to demand reexamination of placing said officers there to begin with, growing popular arguments to remove them voicing concerns we have militarized education identically to the way we have militarized police and that such force has no place in the learning arena. Others calling for understanding the unique position we’ve put school resource officers in having to alternate between friend/mentor to professional capacity on a dime. Contrary the ‘badder and badder kids today’ argument clung to when bolstering said officers behavior, claiming they deserve pay raises, medals, not firing, charges and jail time, repeatedly what students did doesn’t match up to the amount of force used; description at the very least doesn’t apply to the kids in question. Take video one above, no we don’t know what was done or said beforehand, but as pointed out by astute commenters, by the time the officer is slapping and berating the student, proceeds to savagely kick him, he is not being violent, is not fighting back, though he would be well within his rights as self-defense. Adding to the uneasiness felt by viewers there is a second officer appearing to watch the whole thing doing nothing to intervene on behalf of the assaulted teen; in recent years there has been an ongoing debate about bystanders in our culture, getting them to do something to help those in trouble, to should they be charged under lesser statutes when crimes occur, they are aware yet do nothing. Key in the Steubenville case where bystanders filmed the assault but did nothing to stop it, Whoopi Goldberg used her platform on The View last year to join Florida police’s outrage at woman’s rape on a public beach amidst a huge crowd. Unlike the collective misunderstanding consensual sex at parties, consensual sex on even a public beach, both places where there is routinely also alcohol, is fairly common, these are fully adult, trained police officers; there is no ambiguity as to what is happening, what constitutes proper procedure, conduct. Moreover it does nothing in terms of managing, mitigating, preventing any escalated behavior from the student in this instance, doesn’t do anything to curtail future incidents; it doesn’t teach the student, even at the high school level, what to do instead of whatever he did wrong, help get to the bottom of family problems, grade issues, bullying, gang or drug problems causing the student to act out, a heartfelt talk between him and an adult convincing him to ignore the streets or hang in there with boring, useless subjects, get his high school diploma to move on to what he wants to do with his life, the ultimate job of a school resource officer. A school resource officer brought into the school, dedicated to the school, one of the few there, not because of violence, problem students, an all too ready assumption, rather owing to the schools sheer size; not lost on anyone Baltimore is the same city whose police needlessly arrested then caused the negligent death of Freddy Gray. Video 2 is starkly more telling in this regard; the restraining hold he has on the student might be justifiable considering reports indicate he was there to break up a fight between 2 or more students, yet his body slamming the girl into the concrete giving her a knot over her eye, could have easily resulted in a significantly greater injury, is not. Because nothing in her body language, words spoken, if any, signal she is combative, resisting, scrutiny of footage suggests he’s doing all the moving including picking her up and slamming her down on her face no less; her side of the story, when interviewed by news outlets side by side her mother, was she wasn’t fighting, there was a verbal altercation with another student, her trying to persuade the other girl to go somewhere and talk, at which point officer broke through the gathered (expecting a fight) crowd, video showing the rest. Videos 3 and 4 news, culture, trend watchers and a majority of the public are already familiar with; an officer with a reputation as ‘officer slam’ lives up to that reputation throwing a non-violent student out of her desk, to the front of the classroom, roughly handcuffs her, then targets her friend for sticking up for her against such violent treatment stemming from a cellphone out in class. And an officer so inept at dealing with children he let an 8 year old’s trip to the bathroom degenerate into a need for handcuffs. Mirroring a too common occurrence asserting your rights under the laws, rules and guidelines of society earns you the title deviant, disruptive, disrespectful of authority, a discipline case, forget if you were right, the person in ‘authority’ overstepped their bounds, didn’t expect you to know either legal statute or school policy on subject X; matching what happens in the streets when citizens, minimum old enough to drive, school officers on their rights and the law producing angry outbursts, needless arrest, processing through the criminal justice system. An alternative to complete resource officer removal, upping the age requirement to at least 40 since ‘officer slam’ was 34, the Texas officer responsible for slamming the girl down on her face was 27, the recurring pattern is how young these officers are; noting these are the kids, people who respected authority, were ‘raised right,’ probably spanked and here’s the irrefutable result staring us in the face—people so consumed with respect, avenging disrespect, real or imagined, they ‘had to’ beat up on children, shouldn’t we be proud? Dismissed, talking, relating to kids was implemented about the same times as school resource officers because it worked; either owing to a history of officers, authority figures calmly talking to kids, helping them solve their problems despite the decade’s perception (Andy Taylor was the dad we all wish we had right?) or officers, authority figures who were raised this way and decided to break the mold, did what they fervently wished someone had done for them, emulated the one person who did reach out. We all had that one teacher, principal, coach who made a difference, who potentially pulled us off the wrong track, inspired us to go into a certain career, just shined through making a hated subject not so dry, boring, understanding its complicated difficulty. Now we’ve reverted back to the worst in educational history, America or elsewhere; we would rather focus on complete compliance and utter control than focus on winning the hearts and minds of young people through being excellent, even good, at your job; because good teachers don’t have to yell, threaten a scare to keep order, facilitate absorption of the lesson, effective school resource officers don’t have to body slam students, place small children in handcuffs the visual of absurdity when they have to be applied to said child’s forearms to remotely fit. Violence begets violence; no one asking where in all this needless enforcement of rules for the sake of rules, one section of society’s picture of morality governing benign personal behaviors is there time for learning? Rather the violence they are learning by experience.
It falls in line with when teachers lose their cool, the immediate go to reaction is what did the student do to deserve it, comments referring to children over and over as animals especially if students involved are something other than white, remarking schools need zoo keepers not police officers oddly in reference to controlling students when perhaps they should say that pertaining to teachers. Viewing the first video above overwhelming problem isn’t that the kid disrupted class, was laughing after being smacked in the head a reported 5 times, either cynical opinion expressed by teen hating, kid hating, every child is obnoxious, aggressive and the reason the world is going to hell naysayers, because he realized he had her job, could get her fired post provoking her to lose it or simply because he was unfazed by what she did meaning he will continue goofing off, being stupid, inhibiting other students learning. The problem is best summed up by the following YouTube video comment highlighting her, the teacher’s, childish behavior to rival the teens: lock her up. She shouldn’t be free because she looks like a toddler throwing a fit and if they did this at school more then likly they would get kicked out. She acts like a child but your the adult & no better because if he would have hit you then you would want justice. Also how dumb can you be now days when there are camera’s every where? I don’t think this is the first time she has done this either. It doesn’t matter what this child did you are there to teach right from wrong but no your worse then the child because kids make immature choices. [Sic] Adding in giving older, good teachers a bad name, fitting a stereotype become routine reality of not only older people who can’t teach but blatant refusal to engage students, present material in a relevant, palatable manner, teachers who think it beneath them to be asked to do so; instead of creating a class they want to come to because they are going to see the cool things you can do with geometry she was so Frustrated. Didn’t know what else to do. Couldn’t engage him. So she hit him. Locked up may seem harsh and extreme but firing would be appropriate. Next video establishing a pattern, younger teacher same issue; who exactly needs the calm down chair, the student whose paper is savagely ripped up yet they go sit in the chair as ordered, the rest of the classroom’s students sitting quietly, well behaved despite what they are witnessing subjected to a rant over their fellow student’s inability to count something correctly in math, not open defiance, disruption, silliness? Or the teacher who ripped up and threw away, behaviorally reprimanded, not to mention humiliated, a student in front of their entire class for failure to gasp a concept, gasp a concept as quickly as everyone else, frustrated because she can’t adequately teach the child, the child in her mind won’t, more evident can’t, assimilate a skill? At a charter school supposed to be the savior of those it can reach in urban areas to boot; highest test scores not looking near as promising when uncovered is how they got them. Still the following is a comment on the CBS News footage, “So What,??? She disciplines a child. Are you kidding??? Teachers were like that when I was in school and more. Kids need the discipline. Fuck you who thinks this is too harsh. Teachers used to spank in class. WOW. Theeee only place where children get proper discipline and now they want to soften that up. How REDICULOUS. [Sic] Ridiculous is, independent his other comments on corporal punishment, disciplined for what, not getting it as fast as their classmates, being slower than everyone else, possibly having a hitherto undiagnosed learning disability; would it help to know this is first grade? Fear, humiliation and anxiety don’t help learning, don’t cause students, at any level, to rise to the occasion, this was one of the reasons for the ‘love to hate’ response to J.K. Rowling’s Professor Snape; regardless of Snape’s methods being described as British, European education circa the 1960’s, reducing a child to terror (Neville Longbottom) is wrong. Example from the real world, Adrian Peterson’s child abuse charge brought out several challenges to the old school including testimonials from boys, now men, wacked on the knuckles by catholic nuns, paddled in school startlingly surprised when they met their nun teacher(s) years later hugging them and talking about how proud they were of how they turned out; sentiment being do you have any idea the trauma you inflicted, how can you talk about us being your boys, your pride in us considering what you did? Most can’t conjure a justification for video 3, not that there should be justification for anything seen to this point, made worse is that this is a pre-school center, she is a special education teacher who predictably resigned after the video was released to the public. Not so with the last one showing a teachers aide shove then attack a student holding him by the throat, students who witnessed the incident saying there was a verbal altercation but both student and teacher were in each other’s faces; comment bulk consisting of how he probably deserved it, he got the ass whooping he should have gotten at home, he’ll go straight now, hoping disrespectful kids like him learn their lesson. Escalating to allegations the video shows depicted student trying to, kicking the teacher, but the body language is all wrong; it appears the student was trying to demonstrate something with his foot, perhaps why he got into an altercation with another student, how someone’s property dropped on the floor got damaged or what the teacher though he saw him do moments before, is standing to the side of the teacher not in front latter ideal for kicking someone, seconds later teacher goes off. Is it entirely possible he was talking crap, threatening to stomp the teacher, kick his ass (audio unclear except for the string of expletives coming out of the teacher’s mouth) sure; it’s likewise equally possible he was not, he was verbally defending himself against an erroneous charge by a clearly, by his actions, unsuitable teacher’s aide. Situations exacerbated by, kids wouldn’t be ‘talking so much smack’, so inattentive and disinterested, completely apathetic if they didn’t know the system is rigged, that it doesn’t matter how well they do, if they do well and go on to college because there is no reasonable guarantee, possibility of getting a job, no matter what field you major in, saddled with insurmountable student debt instead; students from the hood, poor whites knowing the slim likelihood of earing a scholarship even if they try, no money to afford post high school training without it. Further, if you know teens are mouthy, shouldn’t you know how to handle that before signing up to teach them, help in a classroom with; then why do you engage in conversations, use language bent on provoking them, knowing full well they will grow out of it whether you smack them around or not, why does the goal of adults appear to be backing children into corners, doing things solely to produce the worse, most extreme response then smacking them down when they do predictable negative comments about youth on their lips? This BuzzFeed comment provides critical, accurate insight, about where adults and kids really are,”These people are OBSESSED with the concept of respect, and yet have no idea where kids this age are in their psychological development. They want to say “jump” and expect the kids to say “how high” without a pause. They want teenagers to have the social reasoning skills of an adult in their 30s, but the subservient and childish attitude of a kid in a “teacher-pleaser” grade (6, 7, 8, and 9 year olds). They’ve got this idea of “good, disciplined” teenagers marching in formation and chanting “yes sir.” But bro, that’s not how teenagers and preteens act. Even the most well-behaved, properly raised teenager is going to be a pain sometimes, because developmentally, they’re supposed to be questioning everything and challenging authority. But these so-called adults in their lives are, again, OBSESSED with feeling “respected,” and feel entitled to “respect” (though what they mean is “unquestioning subservience”), and therefore, feel entitled to fly into a violent rage when a teenager is “argumentative.” Or “defiant.” Or “didn’t listen.” You see how in none of these videos is the child actually being violent or dangerous. They’re doing things like sassing back, raising their voice, or silently refusing to do something the first or second time they’re asked. Which contradicts the fantasy these people have who went into education or law enforcement to “get respect” from a less powerful group.” [Sic] You just think smacking them around will make them grow out of it faster AKA decrease your annoyance faster, not the mentality you want in an educator.
Seeing this child’s recorded paddling by school officials generated similar responses shock and outrage interspersed among no wonder the teachers spanked him, the parent should have been the one to do it rather than making the school do it for her, ‘looking for a pay day’ when she ‘boo-hooed’ to media after signing the form, abdicating something that was her responsibility. His alleged offense, he ran around hitting kids in the bus line, running when they tried to catch him, spitting in a teacher’s face; wait how does that work being a kindergarten student age 5 he comes up to roughly any teachers hip no further. Meaning you’d have to be awfully far down for him to come close to spitting on you, or following super nanny’s advice, you got down on his level, but got right up in his face, violating anyone’s sense of personal space and he spat on you, he reared back trying to get some breathing room and you admonished him causing him to thus spit on you. And if that is anything close to what happened, how can we believe the remaining parts of the administrators’ account? Parent having signed the required permission form they elected to spank him; her uncomfortable with what was happening began recording drawing the online outpouring on both sides of the issue. Sounds eerily like what happened to my friend’s oldest son in second grade accused of almost kicking the principal in the head; problem, he is special needs, diagnosed at that time LD, later autistic, was/is a known claustrophobic, her head was way too close to him and his foot (he wasn’t taking karate people), she violated the calm time routine in his IEP by talking to him while mad rather than sending him to a safe place, letting him return when his is calm, ready to talk and getting up in his face, nearly getting kick for her own stupidity as much as his ‘defiance.’ Fortunately they don’t use corporal punishment and my friend is brave enough to buck the social retro trend. Putting aside the crying and ‘histrionics’ from the child seen in video, whether the mother is remiss just standing there recording it rather than stopping it if she disagreed, doing it herself because he misbehaved, the feeling watching the 2 adults if you’re going to do it, do it and stop dragging it out, turning it into a product yourselves is, A- you don’t know how to effectively spank a child, quickly stating why he’s being spanked, administering X number of swats and moving on and B- the fact the paddle is nearly as tall/big as he is multiplying the chance of injury (beyond ‘acceptable to spankers’ pain or bruising) no matter how ‘lightly’ you use it. Particularly disturbing here is why the parent allowed, signed the permission form permitting them to spank her child, what she felt afterward; she initially permitted the school official administered spanking because she feared being sent to jail over his unexcused absences, ultimately deeply regretting what she let them do. The school, authorities says they never said that, but they never dissuaded her from the notion either; proving in certain parts of the country, the South, social pressure would push this parent to conform, sign the permission slip independent of what was best for her son. Charles Barkly said something similar in response to the Adrian Peterson child abuse charges remarking every parent in the region would be in jail if what he did suddenly qualified as abuse— disturbing much? Another inconvenient fact for pro-spanking advocates, schools who employ it have no less or more discipline problems than the ones who don’t; corporal punishment doesn’t work no matter how many say fear of the paddle kept them from a world of trouble, it didn’t hurt them, taught them. Several from decades past chronicle learning how not to get hit, not ceasing to do wrong necessarily, not caring if they got spanked, Dead Poet’s Society anyone; neither do those spanked claiming it helped them know what they would be without spanking because it is all the ever experienced. Plenty do tell stories of the trauma they were left with from it, the clearly defined abuse it masked physical, even sexual, mental, emotional, psychological; keeping in mind those generations are the ones who dared to do something different with their kids. Consistent theme threaded throughout all stories on these subjects, terrible, non-existent problem solving, failure in the simplest tenets of child management; glaringly obvious in kindergarten teachers at a loss to deal with kids not indoctrinated by preschool despite the spotty availability and humongous waiting lists. The boy is 5, in kindergarten equaling new to the school environment, he’d been absent so had had less time in school than his age group peers, was considered a toddler just a year before; weighing these factors, why not suspend him from the bus for a day for his behavior in the bus line, take away the next school days recess for spitting on the teacher, make him apologize, discipline done, if the parent wants to take a favored privilege away at home, spank him at home for bad behavior at school, that’s her business. Why not also talk to him about what to do when fidgety in the bus line, be alert for any bullying, provocation from other students they might have missed; maybe he was having a bad day, he may be ADHD, autistic, mentally ill, how would you like to be spanked for that, for having a disorder, having bad day? Recognizing little kids hit each other, it’s not the end of the world, the makings of a psychopath, a thug, a bully; handling it is important, handling it correctly paramount, choosing to handle it sans violence (hitting/spanking) isn’t the same thing as forgoing discipline. It’s called a preputial response; not being the first bus line problem story heard maybe the problem is the bus line, their approach to it. Why not have the smaller kids engage in a game of Simon says, sing preschool, car songs waiting to get on their buses not just expected to stand there? Never mind giving them more recess would make then less wiggly too, but administrators do this over and over; school starts in my town at 8:20, kids cannot be dropped off before 8:00, kids not allowed on playground before then so are prone to using the benches in front as a jungle gym when parents need to be at work by 8:00, 8:30. Recently my friends second son (8) got in trouble because he was given the reward of using an i-pad for good behavior 5 minutes before time to go home, upset, having a meltdown when he couldn’t finish what he was doing; parent going well that’s on you, you knew there was only 5 minutes and should have given him something else to do, i.e. the word search he was doing when she came to pick him up trying to calm himself down. Especially since he is ADHD, on a litany of medications to achieve near normalcy, on an IEP, his doctor even saying last visit he doesn’t need a medication change, the school must engage him more. But AHD and related ‘alphabet disorders’ are made up excuses for bad behavior; bad behavior overall the result of no discipline, to the naysayers no spanking, at home. Not our spreading abandonment of progress in education as far as understanding stages of child development, newer teaching methods in the 80’s 90’s circa 2000 meant to entice learning; too focused on measured results i.e. test scores, formal reading and writing ‘workshops’ seen in kindergarten. Or that my friend did/still does on occasion spank him; medication is the only thing that gave her a foundation to address his behavior, when his meds aren’t working it’s obvious because he does a complete negative 180. When they are thus age appropriately frustrated, dislike school, call it stupid, can’t ‘tow the line,’ they are the problem and out comes the violence, cruelty arbitrary petty vindictiveness; ironically we all remember the line on the Bart Simpson poster: “I will not expose the ignorance of the faculty.” Hmm maybe, just maybe there’s your problem.
Today prevailing attitude, opinion— the infantilization of America, the wussification of America is to blame for parents too afraid, too weak willed spank their kids and chaos is the effect; also producing reactions to videos featuring cops and teachers attempting to restore basic order demanding their punishment not the children’s, hints the calls for their firing. Officials, decision makers seen as bowing to public pressure over doing what’s right essentially feeding the problem. Wrong, unlike the days of yesteryear when parents sided with the law, the cop, the teacher or principal, had ample reason to believe what the adult authority figure told them, ample reason to trust their judgement, not to suspect them of lying or exaggerating, we see the videos with our own eyes and say; oh no, this is not what I pay taxes so you can do to my child. Video accounts on numerous occasions contradicting police, administrator, teacher statements regarding what happened in favor of the student versus the authority figure; droves of parents remembering back to their own confrontations with police, school authority, remember exaggeration, lying harassment and blatant abuse of power they will not allow their kids to endure too. “I grew up respecting my elders whether they deserved it or not….it’s a dying art form..,” a comment from the teacher’s aide choking video, unrealized is that it is a dying art from because it should be; we abandoned such a notion because they were proven unreliable and corrupt, morally bankrupt helped along by nightly news headline after nightly news headline shoved in our face complete with visual evidence. Usurping the fantasy idea adults from the 50’s to roughly 1980 didn’t defend their children, heaven help you if they caught you needlessly harassing, manhandling, unduly threatening any kids, not just their own. Anthony Spence of Baltimore and his fellow officer were immediately placed on administrative leave, him reassigned pending investigation, Spence initially charged with felony child abuse, assault and misconduct in office; though the felony was dropped and his lawyer initiated a too often seen smear campaign of the victim when announcing that outcome, his client still faces the misdemeanor assault and misconduct charges. Texas officer Joshua Kehm was fired because he failed report his physical altercation with the student promptly and properly then lied in his report trying to play it off as an accident; oh how familiar, Tamir Rice only on school grounds, luckily no one died. Worse, both schools had no idea what had taken place until a news outlet in exhibit A called for comment and exhibit B showed up on YouTube; ‘officer slam’ was fried for breaching procedure in throwing the student thus losing control of her, making his boss want to throw up upon seeing the video, and on the recommendation of the training division. Yes a technicality but one that likely took all video, witness statements and training division thoughts into account. Kevin Sumner who handcuffed the 8 year old is facing an ACLU lawsuit because both of the children he handcuffed were special needs. Our smacking teacher is on administrative leave and was arrested for assault, one resigned and the Milwaukee aide was expediently fired, arrested on suspicion of physical abuse to a child less because we have gone soft in our child rearing, lax in our discipline of the next generation and because we have higher standards for adult behavior, especially those adults who chose to work with children, there was irrefutable visual proof of what the adult did being disproportionate to a child, a teens ‘bad behavior.’ Comment author weighing in on the very first teacher centric video presented absolutely right saying had a student done this they would be thrown out, had she been treated the same she would want justice; notice too teachers, administrators, adults all get a pass when we see this type of behavior fellow adults excusing they were provoked by horrid kids. But kids who’ve had their constitutional rights (that aren’t suspended at the school doors, limited to when you come of age by the way), civil rights, even human rights taken away time and time again and react with the same violence visited upon them, they are labeled monsters, called animals. Supporters of violent treatment toward kids to keep them in line readily believe, many times conflicting video proof, any adult who says teen, student X did such and such forcing me to then do this and that; never believing the student, teen, child in question reacted in self-defense, had the same, ‘learned by watching adults’ reaction to ‘disrespect.’ Interesting when story responders talk about spanking adults (ones who never were spanked, ones whom the lessons didn’t take, ones with “bratty, out of control” kids in addition to or in lieu of spanking the child) they are almost always talking about the ‘neo-parent’ who refuses to spank, ‘doesn’t discipline causing society to have to clean up their child’s mess;’ people exemplified by the Disneyland mom who went viral after losing it in an airport after a 12 hour delay caused her and her children to miss a long saved for vacation. Missed by vid watchers mocking what an example she is (isn’t) to her kids is what she said just before she became a ‘raving maniac destined for the no fly’ “if there are no flights just say there are no flights…,”flashing us all back to the taxing, trying, hair pulling, time consuming conversations, waits on hold, transfers to different departments to manage your cable, phone, internet, handle should be simple matters, the man who taped his several minute ordeal trying to cancel his unused service; I just went through something similar trying to repair my internet after spring rains. The latter being an infinitely larger problem than the young woman who only wanted to be told the truth losing it a little post repeatedly not being told the truth. Still them we’ll punish, hold up as worthy of spanking, which as an adult is public flogging usually resorted to in countries known not to let women wear pants, reprimanded for human rights violations and doesn’t guarantee a lack of outlandish behavior, just look at the Chinese construction road rage. Not the 40-70+ year olds here at home who are patently guilty of the same violent behavior absent any of the conditions potentially bringing it out in young people, hormones, stressful home lives, abuse, you think those mean streets, bad neighborhood are easy to live on; we understand better now neurological disorders than we did in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, my sociology professor over 10 years ago was talking about minimal brain dysfunction undetected by any test to date, work at the Lawlis Peavey center seeming to support that theory. Never thought to be a legitimate problem in young people or themselves; their refusal to get tested, treated or admit the possibility rivalling the defiance of any toddler, child, tween or teen.
Contrast everything above to the people in the same positions, same jobs doing it right, making a difference by how they conduct themselves as police officers, bus drivers, exc.; the officer teaching an 11 year old hopscotch while his partner questioned her mother on how they became homeless; a young officer who pulled over a father for his tinted windows and noticed the toddler not in a car seat forwent the additional ticket instead having the man follow him to Wal-Mart buying one for the little girl. Salon.com highlighted one officer’s sane response to disruptive teens disturbing their neighbors; he joined them in the game of basketball they were playing. How about the bus driver who made such a positive impact on one family’s special needs son they penned a letter to him to be read at his retirement. When the next bus driver asked what are you doing, in the typical concerned fashion, doubtless she wasn’t expecting the answer she got; the boy in the seat had a coin in his mouth while the girl answered the driver’s question. What followed wasn’t her berating him, lecturing him, writing him a bus ticket, complaining about not having time for the extra thing she now had to do, telling him or his friend on the bus they were in trouble for not sitting down; upon mention of the coin she stopped the bus got up looked at the red-faced gasping, distressed child and performed the Heimlich maneuver probably saving his life. Yes she admits to originally believing he was teasing, just being a kid, but amended her thinking with more information, adapted to the situation, what so many adults won’t do. If we want ‘better behaved kids’ truing into ‘better equipped adults,’ we have to demand better of ourselves; firstly by recognizing we won’t melt, the world won’t disintegrate if a young person, a teenager disrespects us, ‘disrespect’ is not an allowance for us to go nuts. Our age doesn’t automatically entitle us to immediate subservice form those younger than us, to boss around teenagers or of age citizens because of the way we think something should be done, it would make our lives easier; as annoying as the ‘bratty,’ ‘out of control’ kid in the store is, our annoyance is our problem and our responsibility to deal with calmly and rationally even when that means getting the heck out of the store. Just as the world doesn’t revolve around them, neither does it revolve around us; how arrogant and self-absorbed must we be to think so? Law enforcement, teacher, average person—your pet peeves do not carry the rule of law; again your pet peeves are your own to be dealt with calmly and rationally. The authority given you as officer of the law, teacher, home owners association director does not give you unlimited power over things outside that jurisdiction, and even inside it was given to you because people thought you could be trusted with it; act like it. Your pet peeves, your annoyance, what you are sick and tired of isn’t a reason to harass teenagers when they haven’t broken the law; authority given to you is not given, to be sought to avenge yourself on the unsuspecting world. Major authority figure, teacher, ordinary citizen— people who speak in neutral, ‘apathetic’ voices are not disrespecting you, are not looking for a fight, are not defying you; the exact opposite really, have a student in your class who ‘talks like a gangbanger,’ ‘sounds like he from the hood,’ talks to everybody like that, then when he talks to you the same he’s not doing it to irritate you, to start something, it’s merely how he speaks. Stop denigrating people for their speech patterns, their cultural slag, their culture in general especially if you are charged with education them. Speaking of, if we want education to be invested in by young people, it has to mean something; no, that is not an invitation to create a national testing regime al-a China. It is a call for no more going to school, doing well and being able to go no further thanks to financial obstacles, going to college, getting a degree, no matter how practical, and not finding a job because the employment system won’t pick up the ball. No more schools as conformity dens, akin to prisons in students eyes; educators, administrators have to replace corporal punishment, violent bully cops and hair trigger teachers, support personnel with people who believe education is a calling not a paycheck, all parties, entities who understand their job is not to stop class because someone has their phone out, the bag of chips in their ugg boots, to ascertain whether your outfit meets the schools dress code instead to teach my subject, help younger students be excited about learning using everything from technology to pencil and paper, helping kinesthetic learners find a way to assimilate things creatively. Balancing discipline safety and order with situations, circumstances and age level; stop making school a place even the smallest don’t want to be by imitating the worst nanny, babysitter, caregiver they know, opting for the best, small enough class sizes teachers can manage little wigglers without having to resort to military drills and tactics. Who could forget that teen classic The Breakfast Club the principal and fellow teacher are talking and the teacher tells his colleague/boss he wanted to be a teacher because he thought it would be fun, for the summers off then he realized it was work; taking out his life frustrations and disappointment on young people who still had hopes, dreams, the opportunity to reach them. Engagement superseding battles for authoritah; it can no longer look like this “If the internet and tiny electronic devices with videocameras were available in the 1980s, many of my school’s teachers would have either been fired or shamed into quitting.” [Sic] Having a dialog with students not limited to class material but about their lives, their goals, their hopes their dreams, their struggles, listening to older students’ perspectives and ideas rather than discounting them because they came from a young person; exercising empathy and understanding about where they are in their development. Who could forget that episode of classic Everybody Loves Raymond where Debra tries to talk to Allie’s math teacher about why she was so unfocused, she had her first crush on a boy, and he has the epitome of a troubling adult response lines reading something to the effect, and Bobby likes Suzie and Jane likes Todd and that has nothing to do with math, what I’m responsible for teaching. True, but it does have something to do with your students behavior and coming down on them like a ton of bricks won’t better their focus; however acknowledgement of their predicament, demonstrating understanding might cause them to try harder because Mr./Ms. So and so get it. [W]hy I’m scred of school [Sic] response stemming from the chocking teacher’s aide, not from his unruly, sassing, talking back classmate, the confrontation ‘he caused,’ but directed at the teacher, and we wonder why kids are truant, don’t want to come to school, on top of all else listed, we wonder why people circa the 1980’s looked up at authority, shook them off and said I will do better for my kids, for the world.