Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Roughly 3 months ago Ta-Nehisi Coats wrote an eye opening, enlightening piece he titled ‘The Myth of Police Reform’ wherein he questioned, not the right of police to use lethal force, tactics surrounding headline making cases where their actions seemed like overkill, but rather society’s, America’s right to send in police, those in charge of exerting power and instilling fear, ensuring compliance, to deal with every social ill; were police the best persons to deal with unpaid child support, malfunctioning 3rd break-lights, mental illness, drug abuse? All as it related to the shooting of Walter Scott asserting police weren’t going to change, police reform was a myth until we drastically change how we use, deploy them. To which I wrote a scathing reply article noting where we send police has nothing to do with their violent, thuggish, brutal behavior once they get there, their inexplicable inability to assess a scene, holster their weapons, talk down someone high, mentally ill, despite training to that effect,  or call in persons who can. Their overwhelming tendency to lie, exaggerate, fabricate stories justifying lethal force disputed by video and the racism, classism, discrimination, hate felt by officers fueling horrifying outcomes. Nor did I fail to describe what would inevitably happen should we transition suddenly, or otherwise, to the system Coats wanted to implement; though absent any specifics, ultimately sending in marriage/drug counselors, domestic violence specialists, mental health professionals, social workers and teachers, untrained novice civilians will result in someone getting killed by a mentally unstable person beyond preliminary interventions, an unseen gun, knife, blunt object wielded by a crazed abuser, person high on designer drugs. Then the question resoundingly asked will be why police weren’t sent into a dangerous, violent situation instead of unprepared ordinary people with totally different skills. Perhaps where his argument definitively has merit and would have been better applied is to increasing law enforcement involvement in schools; now when most of us think of police in schools we picture drug prevention teachers wearing the uniform, school resource officers on the lookout for drugs, bullying, gang activity, juvenile delinquency, investigations of stolen/lost student or school property, added security congruent to a recent violent event, commiserate with the times, oh if we only knew. Juxtaposed against what should be, comprising the list above is the not unheard of trend, schools visible on the news for enlisting police help in managing kindergarten temper tantrums rather than calling parents, opting to perp walk a kid out of class, out of school for doodling on their desk instead of making them clean the desk, the entire classroom of desks, juvenile services escalating things denying the parent access to their child in that case saying she was being processed and to come back in X number of hours, police brought in to break up lunch room food fights, kids hurling fresh fruit and plastic silverware, police called in to issue threats, when school administrator ones aren’t enough, to get students to fork over their social media, smart phone passwords, in their words to prevent a school/terrorist threat. As if remitting a special needs student to juvenile services for alleged theft of less than 5 dollars in lunch money wasn’t bad enough, locking up a kid for days after writing a violent story for elementary school English class before anyone realized no crime had been committed, no threat actually issued wasn’t a sign of how far educators had fallen, using anti-violence statues to enact extended suspensions against students who dumped food on someone’s head, anti-bullying statutes against a first grader who hit another one in class, on the playground proves common sense has officially left the classroom, any education building across America. The idea of schools as a growing lost cause of what have they done now unfortunately isn’t a new idea;  it appears nothing can shock us, that isn’t to say not appall us, when we are told what a school has seen fit to do to a child for not being immediately ultra-obedient to their authorita. What may shock many is who they have co-opted into their regime of strict rules, punishments and outright insanity in the name of keeping order, upholding safety-police; yes we know exactly how the increasing bad apples have handled key headline incidents. But they do know in dealing with children you handle things differently right, no one needs to tell them that, apparently they do.

And it’s only gotten worse, beyond school police presence becoming run of the mill, the same thuggery, brutality and knee jerk default to applying force seen on the streets is now being manifest in schools; video released earlier this month shows a police officer handcuffing an 8 year old ADHD student by the upper arms for misbehavior; purportedly restrained after striking the officer. Problem, A- the boy is approximately 54 pounds standing about 3 feet tall, contrasting the officer who stands between 5-8 and 6 feet, weighing easily 250-300 pounds; B- not only are restraints used at school mandated by regulation to be limited to cases of danger to self or others, which there is no indication of via reports or video; in fact it appears, for all intents and purposes, the officer handcuffed the boy attempting to teach him that is never how you treat a police officer. Lastly addressing the pure legal arguments, mechanical restrains such as handcuffs are illegal, both by Kentucky, where it happened, state law and on a federal level. Lessening the chances the lawsuit filed on behalf of this and at least one other child subject to such treatment’s family, video shot by school staff prompting an investigation by the ACLU, is the broader question of can there be 2 sets of standards, one for disabled students and one for regular students? Latest incident to reach national attention on top of scream, seclusion rooms, restraining bags used on students with a variety of neurological and behavioral issues, those suffering from autism and other disorders placed in duffle bags with bouncy pit balls, left all day in a padded room no windows, no light. Students testifying the holds, the bags, the too often piling on top of kids by adults leaves them angrier than whatever upset them originally, resentful, seeking revenge, polar opposite to a school in Pennsylvania who refuses to use restraint or seclusion and still maintains safety and order; lawmakers fighting to remove 15 century tactics from 21st century public schools. Not to mention the recurrent theme of death caused by said holds, bags, pile-ons disproportionately, but predictably, used on special needs, disabled, behavioral disorder students; disabled students representing 12% of student bodies but a whopping 75% of discipline, restraint cases. Disproportionately coming down again on minorities; videoed young man being Latino, the other student, mentioned in papers filed, African American. Regarding our videoed officer, before we even get to the question of double or separate school, classroom standards, there is the question of why police were called at all to deal with a child virtually throwing a tantrum; again why were parents supplanted for law enforcement? If the child was indeed being that unsafe, that out of control his parent should have been contacted to retrieve him, possible suspension from school comprising 1-3 days, making use of a scream, seclusion or empty classroom to contain him just until his parent could pick him up, a meeting scheduled to discuss plans to better handle his unique issues. Further considering both children’s diagnosis, if they were a consistent behavior problem, they should have been placed under an (IEP) individual education plan devising strategies to make the child successful in the school environment, working on individual goals with each toward them being able to meet normal behavior/academic standards; which is not 2 different standards for regular and disabled kids, instead a variation on taking the scenic route to the same goal. IEP’s have been used repeatedly over the decades to bridge the gap between students with physical, developmental and behavioral deficits and their mainstream classrooms, rarely evoking any conversations centering around an unfair, double standard favoring the disabled child; rather IEP’s facilitate their inclusion, their function in a traditional school setting. Moreover, many schools maintain the option to put a child on a behavioral, academic IEP or both depending on their needs, physical parameters dictating classroom adaptations, gym class modifications placed under academia; meaning things never should have gotten to this point, there never should have been a reason to call in the police, certainly not a reason for his superiors to be defiantly defending him saying he did his job. He, the child, was remarkably well behaved by the time video is shot especially for an ADHD sufferer; for all the upset that he is, the crying, the continued comments it hurts, he is little more than fidgety, he isn’t screaming, throwing his body around even in handcuffs, he isn’t kicking his feet other than the way kids routinely kick their feet when bored, here trying to wiggle and move his arms out of the cuffs, never attempting to kick the officer, he isn’t trying to bite, cursing, threatening, throwing his head against any of the numerous objects in the room. His fidgetiness largely because he has handcuffs around his arms and doesn’t seem to know why, know anything apart from they hurt and he, understandably, wants them off; entire reason he was restrained at the upper arm is because the handcuffs were too big to be worn in the usual place at the wrist, a glaring visual reminder as to the absurdity of their use in the given situation.

Oh he’s a school resource officer, that makes it even worse because it renders his actions even farther outside his actual job description, farther beyond the pale of what he was ever hired to do, should have ever dreamed of doing, being in the school daily, interacting with kids, school staff, exceeded any parameters his job consisted of; when choosing a school resource officer you must employ someone who both knows the law, understands the role they will play and can connect well with the student population, none of which happened effectively at this elementary school. Officer Sumner is a standard police officer interested only in ‘respect my authorita,’ only the letter of the law not the spirit of it or teaching it to students, a majority of whom their ages don’t crack double digits. Highlighting what his job was envisioned, designed  to be, the age of children he was charged with working with, when  he was called in to help school personnel, when they requested he do something, as in what, shackle him, throw him into a patrol car and march him to juvenile services, who knows,  the officer should have told school authorities to call the parent/guardian, at the outskirts, DFS to handle the child, whatever home situation, medical situation was causing the problem, not put him in hand cuffs. Because, the underlying part of his job is to also advise school faculty on their immediate legal recourse per given situations, aid in problem solving from a law enforcement standpoint, logically enfolded, when law enforcement is not needed, other tools would lead to a better outcome, better achieve what staff hoped to accomplish. Exacerbating public outrage is additional details given by the children’s attorney to CNN New Day pertaining to the boy depicted; according to lawsuit documents, things escalated out of control once more when the officer was originally brought in to take the child to the restroom upon request after speaking to his mother, likely via telephone, whether she was coming to get him or managed to talk him down from whatever problem landed him in trouble is unclear. Probable explanation, the officer was male, the student was male, he being the only male available out of the 2 other adults in the room supervising him; begging the question, how did a needed trip to the toilet disintegrate into that, what happened on the way to or from that bathroom causing video we saw? Darker question still, was it something inappropriate beyond the officer’s use of force; today you are left with no choice but to wonder.  Ok so the boy struck or kicked the officer, yes bad, yes punishable, but handcuffs, really; since there was no possible physical damage to officer Sumner, since Sumner already had to know there was a discipline issue going on, being asked to escort the child in the first place, based on the room he was sitting in, the adults with him, why not tread lightly, why ratchet up tensions instead of deescalating things further with some friendly advice or leaving him alone apart from taking him to the toilet? You got kicked by a child several times smaller than you, don’t overreact; why not simply tell the adults in the room what happened and let them decide on increasing his punishment, talk to him once he’s calmed down and warn him that if he kicks/hits a police officer out in the world, out in public, he could be taken to juvenile jail? Speaking of which, why the officer was in involved with the boy at all increases exponentially the outlandishness of action he chose to take, due to the irrefutable fact he was not operating in his professional capacity at that time; the child was not under arrest for violence, crime perpetrated at school, faced no charges under the criminal justice system’s juvenile division for what was a school infraction, acting out listed under common school misbehavior, even after being kicked, officer Sumner had no declared intentions of charging him with the “assault” under  juvenile authority parameters. Increasing the perception he used the handcuffs, not to control an otherwise completely out of control, sure to injure himself, someone else child, but out of spite, revenge, exactly what he tried to punish the boy for doing to him. It’s a disturbing pattern transcending the stupid, the ridiculous, the downright silly most would mistake for a prank, police brought in to handle what schools can’t or blatantly refuse to, culminating in unbelievable legal charges leveled at children for things that would normally get them a detention, suspension from school, a spanking, loss of privileges at home, or whose extenuating circumstances, medical, mental health diagnosis mandate discretion. Take Edward Hart another 8 year old charged last year with 2 felonies after running away from his specialized school; law enforcement called when no one could find the boy. However, one quick thinking faculty member did find him at an adjacent local store alerting school and police to his whereabouts, yet when police arrived, instead of the staff member riding with him in the patrol car, since they had managed to calm him, convince him to come back to school, they simply handed him off to the officer, as if to say, your problem. Hart, who has admitted anger management problems becoming agitated again allegedly assaulting the officer and breaking a police cruiser camera on the ride back to school; after that the story gets a bit interesting, here it wasn’t the local sheriff or officers who decided to press such hefty charges, rather prosecutors who were determined to throw the book at him. Why remaining a mystery seeing as young Edward was already attending a specialized school for those with behavior problems, probably has an equal history of counseling, medication and potential diagnoses over the short years of his life or at least attempts to get him help, successful or not; the parents subsequently took age appropriate disciplinary action making him spend a day in time out, a week with no TV and took away his Nintendo DS permanently to cover the cost of the camera he broke. Proving also, they weren’t ignorant to the seriousness of what their son had done and were perfectly willing to pay for the damages he caused, perhaps would have supported lesser charges in juvenile court only balking at felony charges for an 8 year old.  One of the deciding factors key in the local sheriff’s decision not to press charges was when he questioned the school, who is specially trained to deal with behavioral case students, likely students representing a host of developmental delays, neurological disorders exc. and still managed to lose him, allowed him to run, wander away from their custody, they could give him no satisfactory answer pertaining to why the staff member who found him did not simply ride back to school with him.

Stories like his sounding all too familiar, impacting personal lives long before reaching national headlines; Edward’s punishment far too reminiscent of my best friend’s oldest son (10) who became angry at the local public library one day during a behavioral therapy session. He knocked over books and was being loud drawing the attention of library security who walked over to the desk announcing to person’s there checking out materials, “he, pointing to the child, says one of you is his parent,” when my friend spoke up the security officer tells her he will have to clean up his mess or be banned from the library. Her son at this point having already left walking toward home, a few minutes away, to better deal with his anger; my friend promptly informing said officer of his autism diagnosis and telling them he was too angry at the moment she would be happy to bring him back at another time when calm, to which they reluctantly agreed. Whole incident screaming larger societal problem, never mind library staff, not a hired rent-a-cop, are those with the authority to ban someone from their premises; we have 1 in 88 boys being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, probably Edward Hart’s underlying issue though he may not be properly diagnosed, and this officer didn’t think for one second that might be the problem, further adding to potential outburst, destruction of property by approaching him when he was angry, then leveling a threat like that. Same child toward the end of last school year was booked into juvenile services for assault charges pressed by his classroom aid after he had a meltdown when told it was time to get off the computer in which he ran away from staff, knocked over outdoor planters and other things before he could be calmed; aid’s laughable reasoning, she was in fear of her life. Forget he doesn’t come past her chest, why were you so close to him you could get hit when his IEP calm time routine dictates when he begins to get upset 1 ask if he needs his calm time, 2 let him take that time in a safe area, 3 if he runs follow at a distance, do not chase or try to take hold of him unless he is about to run into the street or leave school property; had she followed that procedure, he never would have become so upset, she never would have been hit and, independent following the other 2 directions, she had no reason to fear for her life at any time. Exactly what was relayed to juvenile services who couldn’t believe what they were hearing; no formal action taken due to his age, parent ordered to continue with previously enrolled counseling, behavioral therapy. Even more telling, later that year he was first to be seen by a new mental health service added to local schools, 2 hours with the parent reviewing medical history, behaviors seen at home/school, 30 minutes with the child and he formally diagnosed him with autism possible ADHD and prescribed appropriate medication; 2 weeks later mood medicine added and he was a different child, no more random aggression, fewer meltdowns, less severe in intensity, duration. Interestingly when school staff were told his diagnosis they responded, we thought so we just needed it formally confirmed; begging the question why they didn’t go ahead and try techniques that work with autistic kids, why did the aid pressed the charges, again seeming to want the parents to get him more, non-existent help, want them to understand the gravity of the situation, when she already knew he was slated to be examined via the new program? 2 months later, he is doing well his diagnosis amended to autism possible bi-polar; currently too young to test. ADHD is a constant battle in my friend’s house as well with her second child (8) who cannot function without a cocktail of medicines to correct his errant neurology requiring frequent adjustments; over the summer he began getting up early (one of the meds prescribed is sleep related) wandering downstairs and out of the house. On one such occasion he got into a neighbor’s car, door unlocked, keys left in the vehicle, he started it, drove it into the grass; when they called police for insurance purposes, not to have the child arrested, officer A- did not know why he was there, when seeing his fidgety, can’t be still behavior suggested she get him seen by someone ignoring her explanation of ADHD, B- saying he had never heard of it/seen it/dealt with it despite 5 years on the force. My friend literally had to lead the officer into her apartment and show him her son’s ADHD medication, mood med to curb aggression, sleep med to ensure he gets more than 5 hours a night, ending with it’s 6 a.m., no he hasn’t had his meds yet this morning because we don’t get up for another 45 minutes so my oldest can get on the bus for summer school. Here Ta-Nehisi Coats would doubtlessly say is a prime example of police being misused to the wrong purpose, except he was brought there to document essentially a car accident, per probable state/federal regulation, not to pass judgment, not to arrest anyone unless it was the negligent vehicle owners for being reckless in a neighborhood full of children leaving both their car doors unlocked and the keys in said car, and as much as police, as I pointed out in my original piece deconstructing Coat’s argument, are facilitators, conduits to needed services, first lines of defense in finding abuse, neglect, her 8 year old was under a doctor’s care, was diagnosed, medicated.  She was in the process of having him reexamined by his doctor for a medication adjustment; doctors being the ones dragging their feet. Continuing, police are regularly called upon to find lost autistic children, will encounter scenarios like the one involving the car, needing to know how to act accordingly. Would Coats honestly say police complete with scent tracking dogs shouldn’t aid in finding lost children, particularly those with delays, disorders rendering them non-verbal, unlikely to respond to strangers?

Equally disconcerting schools attitudes and perspectives on students with disabilities, diagnosed behavioral disorders, moving past ADHD, ODD and related ‘alphabet soup’ disorders relegated to excuses for bad behavior by children of parents who refuse to impose discipline, structure, the argument other westernized nations don’t use such diagnoses preferring the more standard, severe clinical designations, not shying away from recommendations of increased discipline, teachers who use ADHD as an excuse to get active kids in need of more recess, more active learning that involves the ability to move versus sit in a chair and listen on medications like Ritalin and Adderall for a calmer classroom is, their, I’m not dealing with this, chorus. Sentiments not due to overcrowding, increased class size, overwhelming demands placed on teachers to meet higher and higher academic bars sooner and sooner; chief reason why the Pennsylvania school’s approach to children with autism, children with behavior disorders isn’t the gold standard, isn’t the guideline for all, is staunchly unpopular among educators is because it takes longer. And it isn’t a matter of that’s time taken away from learning, time they are not receiving needed instruction, accumulating new concepts, falling below grade level bench marks; instead, it’s if it takes an extra 5 minutes, count me out. Neither is this a problem generated from mainstreaming into regular classrooms those who truly shouldn’t be, who should be the sole responsibility of special education divisions within public schools, attend specialized schools; almost identical scenarios, incidents have been documented at specialty schools advertised to house exclusively trained personnel capable and equipped to manage as well as educate the special needs child, only to see parent gathered audio/video of their child being bullied, berated solely because of their disability, schools possessing cameras filming staff dragging one student down a hall, shoving him into an empty room slamming his finger in the door in the process crushing it. Said staff fully aware of the cameras yet so ill-tempered ill-equipped to be there they did it in spite of them. Average public school employees, administration to instructors, being little better in fulfilling their purpose-educating kids opting to repeatedly send a child who “can’t behave” home as opposed to figuring out how to keep them in the educational environment, so bent on removing the “disruption” they fail to see why they have a disruption, school policies, structures that only serve to aggravate, cause problems; example 30 minute nap/rest period creates groggy kids who are more apt to be cranky than ready for afternoon learning or socialization or how much you can be denigrated for a lack of social graces, “not playing well with others” in a supposedly academic environment. Schools dead last in pushing local services to test specific children for things like autism, especially when the parent has already tried; returning to my friends 10 year old, in kindergarten they asked how she managed him at home, she told them, the following year though he had been formally diagnosed LD (generally learning disabled) they still refused claiming they didn’t have the time. Multiplying difficulties, they insisted on behavior management, not standards, their way rather than letting him do what he instinctively knew to do to control himself, they consistently worked against him instead of working with him being needlessly combative and adversarial in their use of authority over him. Next, seemingly utterly idiotic moves done by the school such as removing my friends second son’s, (the 8-year-old) aid, saying he didn’t need one, before he had graduated the specialized school rule reinforcement program set up between one local school and the local mental health service then jamming the parents phone when he ran off constantly, not working in concert with the parent when it came to jamming the doctor’s phone about the dire need for medication change ASAP; as hard as it was to get her older child on an IEP at all, they yanked it half way through his first grade year not even a full academic year after it’s implementation, forced to put it back when he became “unmanageable.” On a compromise his second grade year, they replaced special ed. staff working side by side with him, with a system where, if he was asking for help the teacher didn’t have time to give she was to call down there and they would send someone up; she never called, never let him use his calm time and the new principal was as flexible as a steal rod too busy earning her stripes in the new job to be concerned with a boy’s education or even  self-preservationist enough to understand the sooner he matriculates out, the sooner you no longer have to deal with him. 3rd grade another merry-go-round where they put an aid with him but not full day, the aid it turned out was not from special ed., did not have needed training but was supposed to be an additional resource for the entire grade level explaining why he was continually frustrated, explosive and routinely suspended, because people didn’t know what they were doing. His elementary school getting their fondest wish over the summer and into the coming school year having him sent to the alternative school despite finalizing his behavioral IEP, which someone finally, years later relented he needed and it took months to get, him being newly medicated, never seeing if the new things would work in regular school. Instead he was packed off to a classroom with fellow student’s paranoid/childhood schizophrenic, seeing things that aren’t there, a kid who yells intermittently for no reason only slated to pick up bad behaviors. Then not 2 weeks into the current school year 4th grade and they send him home with 1st grade level homework to the ire of his mother. Meanwhile the same classism, racism, discrimination exhibited by police in the streets begins for kids the moment they hit school doors as young as preschool according to recent research; school staff looking at identical behavior problems in white, black, brown students overwhelmingly see the actions of the latter two groups as more severe, even when all 3 committed the same infraction, believe they will have to issue multiple punishments, multiple times to correct the problem versus once for white students. Terrifying is the result this has for effected students, it causes them to fear the minor infraction, grow tired of the harassment by authority, so when they do inevitably encounter police, they are more apt to be verbally combative or run, key factors in the devastating fate of Freddie Gray. Who wants to lay odds officer Sumner just created two more sad statistics with his actions; pure fact mirroring Gray’s one he cuffed, manhandled and gave a palpable, unnecessary fear of police is Latino, one is African American.

Recurring discussions pertaining to improving education, bettering student performance, test scores, job/career readiness often hones in on training for teachers more, higher academic standards for those charged with educating, imparting knowledge to children, ensuring they have a degree in the subject they teach, undergo rigorous training for generalized lower grade instruction, have the best grades themselves when hired. Little thought given to can perspective teachers pass the practical litmus tests of teaching, effective classroom management let’s say, engineering innovative, creative learning environments that make learning fun and spark curiosity in younger grades combat boredom with lecture style settings with engaging materials for older grades.  Little things like not waiting until a kid has pulled out the bite sized candy bar his mother sent with him for snack before announcing only healthy snacks trying to make him choose something else at age 5 kindergarten. Teaching young readers pointing to the beginning of a word perturbed when they say the letter, sticking to what they do know, instead of at least attempting to sound out the word, rather than put your finger in the middle of the word to give the child a clue what you want. Or my friend watching her son’s then second grade teacher who kept trying to get a child to sound out the word homes; her saying no, sometimes you have to tell them the word then they will remember it, child proving her point continuing to read the text no longer botching the pronunciation. To her credit the former has often been a babysitter, took child development classes in high school, helped with many grade levels of homework over the years putting her knowledge to use with her own children, but if she had come to that conclusion, you would expect a lower grade school teacher easily middle aged, been doing this for years to have gotten there first. Similarly that same year at her older child’s IEP meeting where she had him show his teachers how she taught him to add columns of numbers over 2-3 digits, by drawing a line down each column of numbers he was to add so he didn’t get them confused, they didn’t appear in a jumble to him, school officials had their jaws hanging open; hardly surprising for the principal, the school counselor, but his classroom teacher? Certainly if it wasn’t a standard fixture of an elementary school math book, a simple helping tool doled out by their teacher, special ed. dealing with children who learn slowly, learn differently, need things presented in different formats for it to make since could get there right; wrong, signifying the problem. Teachers who may have the best grades, the best honors in their teaching program who may have done well as a student teacher or classroom aid but have no business taking on the full responsibilities of a classroom. Teachers in lower grades who possess no understanding of child management skills mirroring ones you would pick up in a daycare, problem solving for these little people, little personalities, teachers who have no clue how to get these young people new to the school experience to do what they want; case in point my friend’s 3rd child entered kindergarten last year, no prior preschool experience, which his assessment clearly showed; though he could already write his name he seemed to regress all year in certain areas. It didn’t take my friend long to figure out why, every time he tried to write, a task he wasn’t keen on anyway, excited to go to school wanting to learn to read, she chastised him for being too sloppy, for occasional transposing of letters or not writing enough. Again earning a lecture for the teacher from his mother about his lack of preschool, not uncommon considering waitlists in especially urban, poverty stricken areas are exceptionally long, forget the parents who think the laundry list of wanted skills coming in the door are what kindergarten is for, believe their children should have a toddlerhood before being shoved into school. Special ed. even brought in to work with him, them thinking he had a fine motor skill issue, when what he really had was standard beginning writer, kindergarten handwriting. Schools that can’t even master the basics of training bus drivers in those basic child management skills when driving a bus full of pre-k, elementary school students, driving a bus route containing many kids below 3rd grade so you can get them to sit down, settle minor squabbles and drive to school safely sans the screaming tyranny of some drivers or drivers being bowled over by students. Look at the Nightline video of the special needs bus driver, of all the people in the world who need such training, who won’t let go of the boy with autistic tendencies though his mother is right there for him to hand off to, she has to repeatedly yell for him to let her child go. Perhaps if we hired teachers with slightly less perfect grades, worried a little less about on paper standards and more about practical in action tests of being able to manage, engage and get through, connect with students we wouldn’t need so many police; adults would be able to adequately problem solve without defaulting to force to gain compliance, safety and order.