This is yet another one of those "it's-about-time! pieces. How many of you are tired of seeing insipid spectacles where cops are going into classrooms and handcuffing little 5 and 6 year old kids for being kids; or the one where the cop bursts into a classroom, knocking over desks while dragging and beating a young adolescent girl because she got "mouthy" with a teacher and refused to comply with some request???
I'm the parent who, if it had been my kid, would probably have wound up behind bars, because I frankly don't see the need for this kind of overbearing over-reaction to our children. They go through their maturation process like everyone else. They didn't have guns or knives - and bad attitudes do not constitute the need for arrest; neither does kissing another little girl on the cheek between TWO FIVE YEAR OLDS constitute sexual harassment and handcuffs.
Since the time of the removal of prayer from the schools, through the removal of the responsibility to discipline children by their teachers and principals, the decorum in the schools have taken a steady decline. It was a system that should not have been messed with - to begin with. The ensuing years brought less and less authority on the part of the teachers, until someone determined that bringing security guards into the school was a "good" thing to do. This eventually gave way to law enforcement, which has subsequently given way to abuse of power.
Additionally, with an increasingly cynical world view - especially after 911 and the advent of the second Bush Administration, people are more immune to violence and more jaundiced and acerbic than ever before - so that innocence is looked upon with suspicion and derision. Our children have become the victims of our own negative world view - so much so, that we had - for quite some time - abrogated our responsibilities in raising and disciplining them. We actually have young men - and some women - who view going to jail as some sort of test of manhood - or rite of passage.
Modeling of positive role models by teachers in the classroom - or the showing of any sort of affection or support for a child has become suspect. Just touching a child now is viewed as either sexual harassment, pedophilia, or assault.
In the midst of all this, our educational system has taken a nose dive- with American kids being well below the rankings of other youth of comparative ages - and teachers being borderline in terms of their knowledge of subject matter and teaching skills. We've eviscerated Vocational Education, and must now import skills from other countries; and come up with experimental programs that have set our youth even further back. And if it's that bad for white children, it's 50 times worse for Black children - who are already marginalized, attending substandard schools; with more security guards than teachers; and with little to no resources to work with.
I find it interesting that this statement is coming from both the Education and Justice Departments, don't you? Nevertheless, here it is - trying to correct some of the policies that have made our kids into criminals for minor infractions of some very human rules governed in some very inhumane manners.
I applaud President Obama for this. It's an absolute necessity that these forces be reigned in. But I do wonder if this will be sufficient? And of course, for those children who have already been traumatized by these encounters - hopefully there will be PTSD counselors to help them return to normalcy.
The rest, who have suffered under the ongoing mis-education of substandard school systems, need help and remediation in order to be able to take their rightful place in the world. Is there a rehabilitative program for those who have already been put through the prison pipeline for minor, ignominious infractions that spun out of control? Changing the law is one thing, helping them get their lives back will be quite another.
African American parents should be the first in line to make sure that their children are being treated appropriately, going forward. They should also be the first to make sure that their children are going to school to learn and participate at their best level. With the advent of the new community schools in Philadelphia, some of the parents (who were victims of the egregious pipeline) should also be able to return to school and get education and skills they were deprived of.
With the hype about the STEM program, while the rest of the world is doing STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math - the educational system is still behind - with a lot of catching up to do. I am frankly and advocate of the STREAM Program - Science, Technology, Race (Pride) Engineering, Art and Math - because that is what is needed for Black Children the world over to not only be competitive, but to surpass those who have for so long held them back in one way or another.
With the eradication of the prison pipeline, our children can go to school and focus on knowledge, creativity, self empowerment, accomplishments, and achievements.
Again, Kudos to our President.
The press release and relevant articles in reference to this is below.: