by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Well, I’m going to start this week off with a rather serious note – actually a carry over from a news item that was played over and over and over again on the news from 4:00 to 7:00 pm ad nauseum – with very little, if any, variation in the wording, voice, scene, information.
It centered around a Black school Principal in Philadelphia who was relieved from his post for shoving a student. Now, of course, the first reaction is “how horrible!” “he should be fired!” “He should be sued!” Etc. This headline keeps running, inflaming the viewers who are now ready to lynch this guy – or at the very least, have him fired. Now, after the umpteenth time, they tell you what the student did to cause him to shove her…
– she spit on him!
she spit on him!!!
That’s right, this child spit on him, and he pushed her away. Of course, now the shoe’s on the other foot. What would you do as an administrator, a teacher, a peer, if someone spit on you? What would be your first response? (it had me seeing red! I thought about this the entire week end! WOW!)
I don’t give a good cookie what your professional level happens to be at that time, there would probably be a dozen more things running through your mind at that point in response to such an egregious insult.
Frankly, my reaction was this: “She’d be being pulled out from under the linoleum if she spit on me. There’s not that much professionalism in the world to allow anyone – including a child – to get away with spitting on anyone.”
Not only would the child be under punishment, all parents and relatives would be hauled into the school to find out what was this child’s major maladjustment!!!
I’m an educator – In fact, I’m a guidance counselor; and I come from a family of educators. I freely admit I left the classroom the minute the government told me that I could no longer use corporal punishment to discipline the students I worked with. I had no intention in trying to govern 30+ hormone infused adolescents without having the authority to back up my words. And I also did not want to be in a school where the teacher couldn’t get respect without law enforcement to back them up. I have never had any desire to be in a gestapo situation – which is what our schools have become nowadays.
The teachers have no authority – no respect. The administrators have no authority, respect or budget; and if the kids get out of line – guess what? The parents have no authority, respect, budget, or say so. So who’s raising our kids? Well, it’s between the TV and the cops – and, oh yes, their peers who are just as backwards as they are.
Somehow, however, the government thinks this is better than parents having the right to discipline their children in the home; having prayers in the schools, and setting positive examples as role models.
Check it out – tell me honestly, which would you call child abuse:
The mother tells her daughter to not go out of the house after 5:00 and to have her homework done by the time she gets home from work. The daughter, in response, sucks her teeth, rolls her eyes, and stomps her feet in clear disrespect. The mother raises her hand to smack her daughter – who then says she will call 911. The mother puts her hand down, gives her another warning about not going out the house after 5:00PM and leaves for work. Of course the child disobeys her mother, goes, hangs out with her friends – and gets home after 8:00PM Home work not done, and same attitude she had earlier that morning. The mother tries to get her to focus – but no good.
The next morning in class. Same young girl in classroom – totally unprepared for her assignment – teacher tells her to go to the board. She sucks her test, rolls her eyes, stops her feet in clear disrespect. The teacher makes a signal, in comes the security police (gestapo), grabs the girl, knuckles her down to the floor – punches her a time or two, drags her out of the classroom – the teacher turns around and continues as if nothing has happened.
Which do you prefer?
How about this example:
You have a school that has gained a reputation for rowdiness, low test scores, absenteeism, etc. There have been a series of administrators who have tried to turn the school around, only to be transferred out or fired. You now finally get a principal who has shown immeasurable progress with the students in only a short 4 month period, with attendance and test scores up; teacher/student morale increasing, and the overall appearance of the school has been somehow miraculously transformed.
A student who had been the center of attention, now finds it more difficult to cut the fool in class, and is now having to toe the mark in bringing her grades up. It appears she hasn’t gotten the message that being the class clown is no longer what’s happening there. She decides to defy authority and begins to act out. When the principal comes to the classroom to assist the teacher, and escort the girl to his office, she spits on him. His reaction is to push her away and wipe the mucous off his face. Some of the less well educated students were hoping she would get a beat down. Some of the others thought if was funny. Ignorant students tried to escalate it into something even more egregious – the upshot of it was one student called a parent, the parent called the board, it made the news; and now a principal who is exemplary is being tried by the media – instead of being given the benefit of the doubt.
Would you retain this principal? or would you have him suspended? And what kind of person would you get to replace him – someone who doesn’t mind being spit on?
On the other side of the coin, spitting on someone is not a criminal act – the student should not be arrested, but she should definitely be consequenced – whether it’s erasing 100 blackboards, scraping gum up off the sidewalk, working with unruly kids after school – there should be some serious disciplinary action.
The upshot of this little piece I’m posting is to show that our children are not getting better or smarter – they are becoming more callous and selfish; more aggressive and hostile; they are relying more on technology and less on their own hearts and minds. That we are allowing our children to be raised by remote control – Google, TV, games, and consequences by people who could care less about them – so-called police there to keep law and order.
If we don’t get back the right to raise and consequence our own children, they will increasingly become target practice for trigger happy cops who have no other reason for existence. Disciplining a child is not child abuse – not disciplining him or her is. If you don’t provide structure, guidelines, and examples for your child to grow and live buy, the cops will impose their own for them to die by.
When the federal government took the right of parents to discipline their children out of the home they set up our Black boys and girls to be target practice. It’s time we stop allowing those who don’t care about us and our well being and the survival of our family to make life long decisions that aim at the very core of our existence. You may or may not believe in the Biblical saying: “SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD” – but you can certainly see for yourselves the consequences that we have suffered as a result. If you love them, don’t just pray for them, discipline them
As a people who have been detrimentally impacted by a host of hostile rules, this now the time to get back our basic rights and parents, protect our children from ignorant deleterious rules that have only served to set them and us back. We come from a people of discipline and creativity – time to go for what we know.
Stay Blessed &
bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com