With all the startling militarization and abuses of power by the police force in Ferguson, I started to think about the militarization of our schools. It’s not uncommon for many schools and districts to have an officer in the building, typically called a resource officer.
In most schools the resource officer patrols the school with bullet-proof vest and pistol at his side. Who is he trying to intimidate, the kindergarten student? I certainly don’t feel safer. I always felt conflicted about having armed force in a school, especially an elementary school. Now with the current events in Ferguson taking place, it makes me sick to my stomach that I have to go into a building and see him in the halls everyday. I can’t imagine how the students must feel. There is certainly the stress and intimidation factor when he is taking part in the discipline process and screaming at students.
Before people say how vital they are to the community, I would argue it deters many parents from even stepping foot in the building. There isn’t a community connection, and if you are looking to enhance community connections there are far more qualified people to handle creating community bridges. The money paid to these resource officers is often funded primarily by the district. That means instead of an art teacher or a guidance counselor, we have a cop.
Schools should be hallowed grounds of learning, not a place where a cop helps in the discipline process and even potentially arrests students. Students shouldn’t have to go into a building everyday and see bullet-proof vests and pistols. Of course, maybe the high-income white schools don’t have this type of cop in their building. How can any place be a safe space if you have a person with a weapon walking around the halls yelling at children?
In addition: what is to stop the mentality of shoot-first-question-later as an acceptable validation of self-defense — as we’ve seen in Ferguson — given a situation when the resource officer (or teacher, in some realms) has a gun and a student is unarmed, but the former individual feels threatened? Guns escalate situations; we do not need that option in schools.
When you’re working in the back of your room during sixth period while the Chinese class is going on in there, and the level one students keep
accidentally saying “bukkaki” instead of another word with a similar pronunciation and the teacher frantically tries to correct them.
~ from Reading Helped Me Overcome My Racist Upbringing by Susie Rodarme (via bookriot)
This? Is why I think it’s vital that we fight for diverse literature in schools. When the book-banning folks come out, it’s so often to shut down a person belonging to a minority group speaking about experiences that make people uncomfortable. Of course we are uncomfortable. We are complicit. It takes discomfort to impel change.
Not all kids will get a real picture of the world at home; I certainly didn’t. Those kids may go on to be the next generation of oppressors, having been taught lies that cause them to see minorities as subhuman, unless they have outside influences to show them otherwise. It matters that they read books by African-Americans, by women, by LGBT authors. It matters that they gain empathy and experience others’ lives.
It matters that they become uncomfortable enough to change.
Our silence and inaction makes us complicit in these murders. If you don’t make a purposeful choice to become a white ally and actively work to dismantle the racist system that runs America for the benefit of white people then it becomes your shame because you’re white and black lives matter.
And if you live your whole life and then die without making a purposeful choice to become a white ally then American Racism becomes your legacy.
Ms. D is probably my favorite. I know her class is going to be a lot of work, but she’s really cool and just different. She’s really on our level. She does it right.~ a first period student said this about me to his dad (aka my athletic director)
Today in my collaborative classes I did a mash-up of teejay82 and allisonunsupervised's amazing lessons on growth mindset and the vibe in the room was spectacular. Well, at least it was after I tweaked post-fifth period because I totally messed up the flow in my original pl*ns; I flipped it to be more discussion based.
Poor fifth period.
Side-note: sometimes I like to decide ahead of time I’d like my students to discuss a topic rather than write, but to further encourage their participation I present the activity as a choice. Something like: I don’t really need or want you to write in response to this — I want you to talk about it — and the only reason I would ask you to write is if the conversation is lagging. And that is not a punishment, but simply because I need to know what you’re thinking and I can’t know what you’re thinking if you’re not sharing. Does that sound fair? Seriously it works wonders in immediate engagement.
Seventh period and I also coined a new phrase to add to my board. WWWD? What would Winifred do?
[Probably kick some ass.]
Nice kid, funny jokester type that thinks he can run the show — and probably does, given the foothold. But then he made the tactical error above and I must have had a real crazy look in my eye, because all I repeated was a slow “take them out” and his eyes widened and he said, “Whoa.” Earbuds instantly removed.
Dear my friend’s husband: your beliefs, as an officer, are the problem.