Monday, May 23, 2005

Bus driver on video

A bus driver in Florida has been charged with misdemeanor assault and the two kids who attacked him with felonies. Knowing what I know about the school system, there must have been pretty good evidence the bus driver was attacked. Schools instinctively protect out of control kids out of fears of lawsuits and the parents.

I was a school teacher for ten years. I was actually almost arrested once for protecting myself from a student who attacked me after I broke up a fight between her and another girl. In a moment of ingenuity, the girl acted unconscious. She later bragged that she couldn't get in any more fights at school because she "wouldn't get the money". The NAACP's Frank Jackson, who I now regard as a racist,declared to the school board "A white teacher choked a black student. We at the NAACP demand that he be fired." There was considerable defense of me in the local newspaper as well. It gained quite some notoriety, but I just let it die down and avoided the limelight. Perhaps a mistake at this point.

They knew little, if anything about the violent history of the girl, or my history (I'm actually part Jewish and was a very popular teacher among all the students) or even that the two students fighting were BOTH black.

A local attorney, whose son was a teacher at the school and who was later fired, rumor has it, for sexual harrassing a student, went after me with both barrels, going to the school board and writing newspaper columns. I had, interestingly enough, had a confrontation with his son a few months earlier, who had a habit of flipping out and screaming at people.

There are so many things wrong with public schools it is hard to know where to begin. But the politics sit at the core of it all. Parents are voters. Politicians can scapegoat teachers to make up for flagging test scores, out of control kids, and almost any issue. GOing after parents is not a politically astute move. Hence Gov. Schwarzeneggers' recent attempts to come after the teachers' unions.

This isn't to exhonerate teachers from blame. We are, in large part, a profession that has refused to stand up for itself and catered to all the parents and politicians. You cannot go far in a system like that without selling your soul to the devil. Administrators run their schools not as democratic institutions, but as their little feifdoms. They target those who oppose them, crush the opposition, set up Stalinist rubber stamp committees to create a veneer of shared-decision making, and then do as they please. I have met maybe one or two adminstrators who weren't complete liars.

The kids I have taught know how the law plays out. They threaten and intimated as a rite of passing. They laugh at the concept of beating up teachers and their parents, without really understanding how different their children behave when they are a part of a mob mentality. We have given kids and parents all the wrong power for all the wrong reasons, and now we are paying the price.

It's time to take back our schools from thugs, criminals, and their out of control parents.


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