These stories I just heard about make me furious, and before I go into my details why, please watch for yourself:
· http://wtvr.com/2016/05/23/free-milk-theft/ “The mother of a Virginia middle school student said she was angry, frustrated, and mad after her son was handcuffed, suspended from school, and charged with stealing a 65-cent carton of milk from the cafeteria. As it turned out, Shamise Turk's son Ryan was on the school's free lunch program and the milk -- was free.”
· http://countercurrentnews.com/2015/02/her-water-bottle-exploded-at-school-they-thought-it-was-a-weapon-so-they-cuffed-and-arrested-her/ “Honor student Kiera Wilmot was arrested and expelled from her high school when her water bottle exploded unexpectedly on school property.”
At what point are we going to let kids grow up without fear of being put into the prison pipeline system?
At what point are we going to start looking at the education of a child rather than our individual jaded/biased perceptions of morality and behavior?
Plus, in all three cases, it turns out that the child actually did nothing wrong, but the schools doubled down on the punishment and are holding their ground; even though the school was wrong by any standard. It seems like pride is more important than the child’s education.
At some point educators have to remember that there is no value to society by stigmatizing a child with shame or a criminal record, before they have even had a chance to become an adult. Educators and the administrations have to remember to truly have the children’s’ best interests at heart.
Sadly, rules like this, judgment like this, and the non-apologetic nature of the schools tell me we have a long way to go.
I will add, before anyone says: “well there is an appeals process” or “this is not the norm, there must be more to the story”, let me say these things:
· It should be noted we are talking about children of color in these instances, and the statistics show that this sort of extreme punishment from schools happen to them more often. So this is the norm for certain populations in the country
· If your rights are being violated, you are being publically humiliated, and it is obvious to a blind and deaf dog that the administration and authorities are wrong: why should you be expected to have patience for an appeals process/ Why should your time and money be wasted over the violation of your rights?
Policemen have little or no business being part of school discipline, they are not trained, and they treat students like criminals rather than kids (http://www.today.com/news/video-emerges-boy-8-handcuffed-school-officer-facing-lawsuit-t36461 “8 year old Boy with ADHD, handcuffed at school”)
Education is supposed to be about the student!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III