Author Topic: 12-year old non-violent criminals  (Read 5546 times)

DonaldD

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12-year old non-violent criminals
« on: February 20, 2019, 05:10:24 PM »
AKA "black and brown children".

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/19/opinions/florida-pledge-arrest-what-about-the-teacher-jones/index.htmlSetting aside the opinion portion of this opinion piece, and taking the school's allegations at face value (though they are disputed by the student) what we have is a 12-year-old boy being arrested for using his words and being verbally disruptive - even verbally threatening.

What is not in dispute is that the boy acted according to school policy in not standing for the pledge, and that the teacher, against school policy, interfered with the student.  The student then, again, using words and not actions or violence, disagreed with the teacher; at which point the teacher had the student removed from class, leading to (eventually) the student being arrested by the police for allegedly making threats.

People will be people, and people will be stupid.  It happens.  But why is it seemingly a default position that a 12-year-old, being unfairly treated by an adult and in an escalating situation, but where there is no violence, why is the default position to arrest him?  Angry 12-year-olds say stupid,  impulsive things - it's part of being 12, angry and with a brain not fully equipped to filter itself in all situations. 

Crunch

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2019, 07:08:43 PM »
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AKA "black and brown children".

You and Jussie Smollett should hang out.

DonaldD

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2019, 11:34:16 PM »
That's a strange response - do you think the 12 year old boy faked his own arrest?  Or maybe he instigated his substitute teacher into breaking school policy and getting fired?

Crunch

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 08:05:05 AM »
I think reducing this to be only about race is similar to the hate crime hoax
Smollett did. Why are you participating in racism?

Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 11:24:02 AM »
You seem to have some confused statements of facts in what you wrote, you may consider looking at a more neutral source.  https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-polk/student-arrested-for-disrupting-class-was-not-arrested-for-refusing-to-participate-in-the-pledge

I mean, it's clear the "default" was not to arrest him.  Why do you think any student, when asked to leave class, should be permitted to stay?  Having the Dean of Students come to a class because of disruption, and then asking a student to leave 20 times, is not a reasonable result.

Neither version of the story makes it clear how disruptive the situation was before the teacher called for administrative help.  But a teacher, and in particular a substitute, has no option but to have a student removed from class if they are disrupting class.

Was the teacher at fault?  Yes.  Every version makes it clear the teacher was in the wrong.  Some are calling for the teacher to be arrested.  On what basis?  The substitute teacher was sent home that day and barred from working in the district (that's a pretty severe administrative punishment given that in NYC they can't even fire tenured teachers that have been accused of sexually abusing students).  The sub worked through a service, who I suspect is not going to be happy with them, which means this may cost that person jobs elsewhere as well.

Why is your "default" position that disrupting a class, refusing to leave when the Dean asks you too, and if you believe the school making threats after you do leave, not sufficient to get arrested?

That said, "resisting an officer without violence" is a fake a charge that should never be allowed.  It's like a "disorderly conduct" charge.  Pretty much a license by the police to charge you with something that it's impossible for you to "disprove" so they can justify an arrest.  Talking back to a cop is not a legitimate crime.  I would love to see all such discretion based charges eliminated or changed to require a massive showing of proof.

TheDrake

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 02:44:23 PM »
Florida strikes again.

Miami Herald

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Police say the 11-year-old student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland said he wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because the flag is “racist,” according to WTSP.

Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher in the classroom, said she was offended by this comment and asked the student, who is black, why he didn’t leave the country, as reported by The Washington Post.

The middle schooler’s mother said Alvarez “told my son to go back to his homeland,” WTSP reported.

“He was confused,” Talbot told WTSP. “He said, ‘What do you mean? Africa?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’”

So yeah, telling a kid to go back to Africa makes it about race.

Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 02:57:41 PM »
I disagree.  The substitute teacher making a racist comment, does not make refusing to comply with the non-racist Dean into a "race" issue.  Dealing with one racist does not entitle anyone to ignore general rules.

The substitute was sent home that day and is barred from the district.  That's an appropriate response to the egregious conduct.

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2019, 03:27:32 PM »
The substitute was sent home that day and is barred from the district.  That's an appropriate response to the egregious conduct.

I'm not being contrary but actually asking: what about the teacher's conduct was egregious?

TheDeamon

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2019, 04:43:38 PM »
Florida strikes again.

Miami Herald

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Police say the 11-year-old student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland said he wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because the flag is “racist,” according to WTSP.

Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher in the classroom, said she was offended by this comment and asked the student, who is black, why he didn’t leave the country, as reported by The Washington Post.

The middle schooler’s mother said Alvarez “told my son to go back to his homeland,” WTSP reported.

“He was confused,” Talbot told WTSP. “He said, ‘What do you mean? Africa?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’”

So yeah, telling a kid to go back to Africa makes it about race.

I'm going to file this under potential "micro-aggression" and people not always thinking through what they're saying. The statement by the substitute looks racist, and certainly causes the proverbial "meter" to move. But it may not actually be racist in the way people are trying to construe it.

I know a number of people who are very solidly in the camp of "These things are representative of my country/nation, if you don't like it, feel free to leave."

For which the Pledge of Allegiance and the Flag both solidly qualify. If "you" think the United States of America, as a Nation, is Racist and therefore not deserving of any respect, "you" certainly qualify for the "feel free to leave" offer without respect to race, religion or other creed. If you have "an identifiable homeland" that one is going to "naturally" tend to float up to the top of the list of suggested places you can leave for. And given the Student offered the suggestion, the substitute fell down the proverbial rabbit hole without any further help from there.

Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2019, 04:54:26 PM »
The substitute was sent home that day and is barred from the district.  That's an appropriate response to the egregious conduct.

I'm not being contrary but actually asking: what about the teacher's conduct was egregious?

A teacher telling an 11/12 year old to go back to his homeland.  That to me is racist and always inappropriate.

I also found a substitute teacher asserting that a student is required to participate in the pledge to be egregious conduct.  You should be aware of the rules you are supposed to enforce, or accept that you may not have them correct.  The appropriate response to the refusal to comply with your instruction to participate would either have been to send them to the office, to check with the office or to write them up for the permanent teacher to deal with.

I also find the idea of arresting a 12 year old to be offensive.  Though I acknowledge that it may sometimes be the only reasonable course, where, as here, there is no assertion of violence I don't see how it could be.

DJQuag

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2019, 05:00:26 PM »
So what happens when you think the country is doing or condoning bad things and you want to make that clear?

The pledge of allegiance is a johnny come lately ball licking ceremony, just like "In God We Trust." You can believe in what the country means, and it's Constitution, without bending the knee to an insignificant bunch of words.

There is no excuse. *No* excuse. Telling a black American twelve year old that he should just go back to Africa because he decided not to stand for the anthem is frigging abhorrent and I honestly think you're better then trying to defend that.

Edit - Seriati got in between, but this response was for The Deamon.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2019, 05:03:52 PM by DJQuag »

TheDeamon

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2019, 09:51:29 PM »
So what happens when you think the country is doing or condoning bad things and you want to make that clear?

You don't do it that way.

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The pledge of allegiance is a johnny come lately ball licking ceremony, just like "In God We Trust." You can believe in what the country means, and it's Constitution, without bending the knee to an insignificant bunch of words.

That's part of what baffles me, The Pledge of Allegiance, something created after WW2, and at the dawn of the Civil Rights Era for blacks is Racist?

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There is no excuse. *No* excuse. Telling a black American twelve year old that he should just go back to Africa because he decided not to stand for the anthem is frigging abhorrent and I honestly think you're better then trying to defend that.

It IS unacceptable behavior, and grounds for exactly what the school district did do in response, for most of the reasons given by others. (As the actions involved demonstrated some of the worst traits a teacher could possibly have)

That still doesn't necessarily mean I think the substitute teacher involved is racist to anywhere near the same extent that a KKK member in 1962 likely was, or a contemporary Neo-Nazi today. In that respect jumping on them and "piling it on" isn't going to help anybody except the people who WANT a race war.

DonaldD

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2019, 10:49:28 PM »
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The Pledge of Allegiance, something created after WW2, and at the dawn of the Civil Rights Era for blacks is Racist?
The pledge is simply a collection of words, referencing the concept of the flag of the USA.  The flag itself is simply a collection of geometric shapes.  Neither is inherently "racist."  However, the flag is NOT simply just a collection of geometric shapes, is it?  It is a symbol, and as such different people imbue that symbol with different meaning - and like it or not, many, many people interpret that symbol to have a particular meaning with which you do not agree - that is symbolizes the racism they see as inherent in the structure of your country, your society.

This is not complicated, and it is not exactly a secret.  People have been screaming this at the top of their lungs for years.

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You don't do it that way.
What exactly is the way that he did it that he shouldn't have?  Sitting down, and refusing to stand?  Asking whether the teacher meant Africa?  Let's be clear - he did it in exactly the correct way.  Once the situation was escalated, it was no longer about his actions, and making his political stance clear - it was about a situation where adults let a situation get out of hand, and expecting the 12-year old to be the adult in the room.  This is not the White House: you cannot expect a 12 year old (or 11 year old, whatever) to maintain a rational, adult, decorum, and to behave as anything but a child, when faced with adults mistreating him.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2019, 10:55:09 PM by DonaldD »

TheDrake

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2019, 11:46:44 PM »
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2019, 01:21:54 AM »
Thanks Seriati. I didn't realize the conduct you were criticizing was the comment about going back to his homeland. I thought you meant about trying to enforce standing for the pledge. While I could see the point as being contentious, I wasn't sure if that was what was egregious. Thanks for clarifying. Btw I wonder whether, in context of arguing that one's own nation is racist, that the theoretical argument of "then why do you want to live here" is actually unacceptable. I will grant that in context it's unacceptable, as in, to say to a child. But imagining that it was two adults speaking, I wonder whether as a theoretical point of interest it wouldn't be pertinent to ask why someone refuses to claim allegiance to their own nation. Of course, that would suppose a well-thought out POV to make such a point, and I imagine that making it would be ironical rather than a real question. Which of course, would not only be lost on a child but also counterproductive since the child doubtless doesn't have a considered opinion of that sort to challenge. So yeah, it was dumb, and probably mean. But my question is, is it necessarily racist?

Putting that matter aside, I question how acceptable it is for a child to refuse to participate in a school activity. Granted, no one else gets messed up by one child not standing, but on general principle there is the question of group discipline and not setting a precedent that any child can refuse any group activity due to some theoretical objection. "I non-violently refuse to go to recess", or "I decline to answer the teacher's question on moral grounds." Basically the school system wouldn't work any more. Under normal circumstances I would expect insubordination from a student to result in being sent to the principal's office, followed by detention. Unlike in civil life where adults are under no obligation to follow orders (unlike in the military, or perhaps under court order), a student I think is. I'm not sure it's proper to argue they have a right to decline, even though they surely have a right to object. And I mean right in the sense of license to, not in the sense of a constitutional right. As someone who's been involved in both education and especially of children, it was always clear to us that the worst thing is insubordination. It's one thing for a kid to goof off, or do a bad thing, or whatever else, but when authority itself is flouted the game is over and your only recourse is to turn them over to a higher power. In a school than means the principal, as the teacher's power is restricted to giving an instruction, and if it's disobeyed then that's it, you've hit a wall. "No I won't!" is about the worst thing you can hear as an educator trying to discipline a child. Whether it's "go to the office", or whatever else, if the answer is no you have big trouble. So while I wholeheartedly agree with objecting to stupid pledges or mealy mouthed platitudes, I also see the side of it where a student rebelling is a potentially serious problem.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 01:24:15 AM by Fenring »

DonaldD

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2019, 06:47:29 AM »
Did you really just ask how acceptable it is for a child to exercise their constitutional rights in a way that has been accepted and protected by the federal courts for the better part of a century?

Lloyd Perna

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2019, 08:04:46 AM »
Donald, do you think a child should be allowed to wear a t-shirt with a swastika and a white supremacist slogan on it to school?  Do you think any school system in the country would allow that?  What about a T-shirt supporting the Border Wall and President Trump?

Personally, I think all of those things should be allowed including the boy who wants to sit in protest of the anthem or the pledge.  I don't see any difference between them when it comes to someone's right to free speech.   Somehow, most of the people running our public schools think they are different.

TheDrake

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2019, 08:39:55 AM »
There's a fundamental difference between forced participation in speech versus preventing speech. Not to mention the school's duty to keep children safe in their care, which would be compromised by the beatings that would get thrown to swastika boy.

I understand what you mean conceptually, and such rules can be unevenly applied.

It would have been interesting to see if the courts would have intervened if the Pledge had stayed in its original form and not with the tacked on "under God".

legal battles

As for kids refusing to participate, there are simple answers. Parent-teacher conferences, marking absent, detention, suspension, expulsion. All serious consequences that don't require slapping cuffs on someone.

We had kids refusing to participate in gym class from time to time. It didn't cause anarchy or a violent power struggle, they just got marked down and would risk flunking the only subject in which participation is the entire grade.

Here's an article by an educator:

When children are defiant

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How do you know you’re in a power struggle? You feel as if you’re being tested (which you are), and you get angry or irritated. You may even want to dominate the child to prove you’re the boss. But teachers never win power struggles. Once you’re in one, you’ve lost. And so has the child: No one wins a power struggle.

The best way to avoid power struggles and help a child who defies authority is to calmly work with him in ways that honor his genuine need to feel significant. Also critical is demonstrating that you still hold him (and everyone in the class) accountable for following the rules. And of course it’s best to help the child avoid defiance mode in the first place.

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Avoid doing anything that will heighten the child’s stress and invite more resistance. Simply put: Don’t push her buttons.

Don’t try to reason or make an emotional appeal to win the child over. While in the midst of defiance, he will likely be unable to respond to you in a positive way.

Slow down. Waiting a few seconds (if safety allows) before you say or do anything lets the child regain her ability to cooperate and also lets you assess the situation calmly and objectively.

In other words, this teacher could have done one simple thing. Register disapproval and continue on with the pledge for all the other students. Then, they would later have the chance to be reminded by other teachers that the student was acting perfectly within allowed behavior. This teacher could then have apologized to the student in front of the class, demonstrating to the entire class that one should accept responsibility for one's mistakes and apologize for inappropriate behaviour.

DonaldD

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2019, 11:53:59 AM »
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Donald, do you think a child should be allowed to wear a t-shirt with a swastika and a white supremacist slogan on it to school?
Lloyd, there is no reason to bring up an irrelevant hypothetical: the Supreme Court of the USA has ruled since the 1940s that the school could not force this child to act differently than he was acting during the recitation of the pledge.  Has the Supreme Court ruled unequivocally that children are allowed to dress in whatever fashion they prefer, without limits?  Or specifically, has the Supreme Court ruled that schools cannot discipline children for wearing swastikas and white supremacist propaganda on their clothing, and a child was disciplined for doing so regardless?

Why is it so controversial that respecting the rights of children (as defined for decades by the highest court in the country) should be an expectation?

Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2019, 12:10:43 PM »
A few things.

First Fen, I take your point about required participations.  And while I do think there is more room for lattitude than many schools allow I recognize that is a topic about which reasonable people do disagree and once a decision is made it has to be complied with.  However, in this case, the articles all made clear that it is the policy of the school that a student may decline to participate in the pledge.  The substitute was actually wrong about their insistence (that's why I added it as my second point about conduct I found egregious).

Second, Don and a few others, I put very little weight on a belief the flag is racist.  I view that as one step up from a belief in a flat Earth.  It's an emotive belief that is not justifiable on an objective basis.  We are also citizens of a country (including those who are rejecting the country) where we have the right and ability to influence that countries direction.  I find the borderline treasonous rejection of the country as "my" country to be counterproductive posturing. 

Third, Fen in this context, asking someone why they don't leave the country gets the same message across without the racial baggage of asking them why they don't go back to where they came from.  Heck, the sub could have suggested they move to Canada, and completely removed the racist context.

Fourth, regardless of whether the student was right to resist saying the pledge - I'll go on record saying they were in fact right to do so, notwithstanding the disruption caused.  They were not in the right to ignore the request to leave class, particularly not after the Dean of Students became involved.  However, the kid was 11 or 12 and that's not an age where we expect good judgement.  The adults involved shoudl have deescalated the situation.

Being forced to say the pledge shouldn't happen.  But it's truly tragic when people opt out of saying the pledge for the reasons that were given here (nevermind the nonsense inherent in rejecting the freedom provided by this country by exercising the freedom provided by this country).

TheDeamon

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2019, 01:19:54 PM »
Did you really just ask how acceptable it is for a child to exercise their constitutional rights in a way that has been accepted and protected by the federal courts for the better part of a century?

The Court recognized right of a student to not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance on religious grounds because of the words "under god" hasn't existed for much more than 25 years as I recall, that happened in the 1990's.

Student do NOT have a 5th Amendment protection against "unreasonable search and seizure" and a number of other constitutional rights on the part of the student are abridged when in an educational venue. This is settled law that's gone all the way up to SCotUS. Now rights that their parents have, that's a slightly different matter.

Edit: Also, IIRC, there is ScotUS precedent regarding curtailment of 1st Amendment Rights as it regards to students as well. IE: They CAN impose dress codes, and punish students for their attire, as 1st Amendment Protections for "freedom of speech" DO have restrictions when it comes to educational environments.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 01:26:00 PM by TheDeamon »

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2019, 03:12:34 PM »
Seriati, you're saying that there was a specifically laid-out court ruling in the past that students may opt out of the pledge in schools? If so that would be interesting. Because in most cases in a school there is no opt-out option for group activities without consequence. Sure, you can decline to participate in gym, and then you fail. But if they chose to enforce gym by sending you to the office for refusing to participate in a class then that would be a legitimate choice too on the part of the administration. A school can structure its teaching methods however it likes. What is not allowed is for a student to refuse to do a mandatory activity, and also refuse to go to the office. That right there would be immediate grounds for suspension, and if repeated I imagine expulsion. The 'terms of service' for attending a school include that the student (via parents' proxy) agrees to abide by school rules and comply with school authority. Don't forget that these are their surrogate guardians during the day, which is a serious responsibility. Treating the teacher as "The Man" to make a stand against is counter to the spirit of child-care. And recall as I say this that I would also encourage any school to take seriously ways to get students to speak their minds constructively.

That said I don't know about the pledge situation or whether opting out of it is protected in some way.

Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2019, 03:20:03 PM »
Seriati, you're saying that there was a specifically laid-out court ruling in the past that students may opt out of the pledge in schools?

I didn't say that.  I think DonaldD did.

All I said is that the school's policy was to allow people to sit out and the substitute teacher was violating that policy in insisting the student stand.

TheDrake

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2019, 03:22:50 PM »
I have a link above to the legal history. It is all about the "under God" phrasing.

Presumably you could force a student to stand for the anthem, at least on legal grounds, as God never makes an appearance.

TheDrake

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2019, 03:27:13 PM »
Oops, I take that back after re-reading my link.

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However, in 1943, the Court changed its course in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, where the majority said that “the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits public schools from forcing students to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance.”

in 1943, there was no "under God" phrasing, that was Eisenhower.

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2019, 05:30:30 PM »
Seriati, you're saying that there was a specifically laid-out court ruling in the past that students may opt out of the pledge in schools?

I didn't say that.  I think DonaldD did.

All I said is that the school's policy was to allow people to sit out and the substitute teacher was violating that policy in insisting the student stand.

Sorry about that, I was going too fast at the time. Yeah, it was Donald. But that said I wonder whether the matter covers not requiring children to stand when everyone stands. I mean, we know what this was, right: a copying of the football anthem incident. But in this case there are separate aspects to a child standing for the pledge: there's the actual saying of the words, there's the possibility that a salute is involved, and then there's the standing up all in unison. I could see a scenario where the school's policy is that no child can be made to say the pledge but that otherwise standing/sitting/walking in an assembly fashion is still a mandatory group ordered activity. I don't really have time to research either the law or the incident, and in a way I was playing devil's advocate, but I guess my question is just whether the students really have a right to decline an activity 'on principle'. That it was about the flag is perhaps contentious as a topical issue; but imagine it was something else. What if the students were tasked with opening up their American history textbooks to read from it, and one student decided to make a protest in the form of "American history is racist" and refused to open his book? Or what if they were studying Shakespeare and one student objected to British imperialism and refused to participate in studying Shakespeare on moral grounds? Would these sorts of 'opting out' make the educational environment possible? So while I could see a special case regarding the pledge as that is perhaps contentious right now, I see no reason why such objections might not limit themselves to just that going forward. So for a teacher to do the eyeroll and realize that a student is now being difficult to follow a meme of disobedience, and decided to just say "come on and stand like everyone else" is something I can understand. And actually the fact that it's a substitute makes it less egregious, because they don't have as much formation or relationship with the school's administration compared to a full-time teacher, so they'll make the odd mistake. Even if it was the school's policy to let students opt out of standing for the pledge, might it not be reasonable to suppose that a substitute coming in for the odd class each semester wouldn't know this and would assume that compliance was mandatory? I basically hate the idea of the ongoing trend (for 20 years or so) of teachers being thrown under the bus for trying to enforce discipline, and the admin siding with everyone but the teacher. None of this excuses the "go back to your country" thing, which is a separate matter for which there is no contest. The arrest also seems ridiculous to me, as I imagine the worst case scenario in this type of situation ought to have been "go to the office" followed by "ok then we're calling your parents and they will take you home."

Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2019, 06:24:50 PM »
Fen, people are perfectly capable of distinguishing one behavior from another and understanding that some are appropriate and some are not.  For example, just last month the story was about 12 year old girls that were strip searched at school, where one refused to take off her clothes.  I think we can all agree that such a search is never okay, and that parents and police should be present before it escalates to that point.

Similarly, refusing to open a text book is on the opposite side of the spectrum.  You are in public school to participate in and learn the public school curriculum.  The consequence for such a refusal is the question.  Is it just failing the participation grade?  Is it being kicked out of class?  Suspended from school?  All of those are possibilities within the realm of what a school district could rationally choose (not saying they have to do any).  Flogging the kid?  Not so much.

The pledge - to me - is not part of the curriculum.  I don't think the courts allow compelled speech in that context.  I think you could legitimately require standing or silence but not participation.  I may date myself, but you were required to stand for the school break for prayer when I was a kid whether or not you chose to pray. 

A kid refusing the curriculum, or refusing to leave class at the request of a teacher or principal is not okay.  If the kid leaves and it was an inappropriate request that is something that can be dealt with after the fact by sanction on the teacher.  There's no redress for being forced to say something you don't believe.  Accordingly, on this, the kid has to be right to refuse to participate in the pledge if that's how he felt, but he was wrong not to leave class.

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2019, 11:11:14 PM »
Fen, people are perfectly capable of distinguishing one behavior from another and understanding that some are appropriate and some are not.  For example, just last month the story was about 12 year old girls that were strip searched at school, where one refused to take off her clothes.  I think we can all agree that such a search is never okay, and that parents and police should be present before it escalates to that point.

Ok...and?

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Similarly, refusing to open a text book is on the opposite side of the spectrum.  You are in public school to participate in and learn the public school curriculum.  The consequence for such a refusal is the question.  Is it just failing the participation grade?  Is it being kicked out of class?  Suspended from school?  All of those are possibilities within the realm of what a school district could rationally choose (not saying they have to do any).  Flogging the kid?  Not so much.

Still agreeing, but not sure what your point is...

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The pledge - to me - is not part of the curriculum.  I don't think the courts allow compelled speech in that context.  I think you could legitimately require standing or silence but not participation.  I may date myself, but you were required to stand for the school break for prayer when I was a kid whether or not you chose to pray.

I don't think "curriculum" can be said to include only educational activities. For instance if by "curriculum" you mean designated school activities that pertain to all children, then that would include entering and leaving the classrooms in an orderly fashion, not being in the hallway during class, going into the gym when there's a presentation, and so forth. Not all of these are textbook learning but they are all mandatory. I don't know if physically standing for the pledge should be considered as one of these, and if the argument is that this - and only this - is the thing a student can opt out of doing (standing) then I guess it could be left at that. But my question was what if students being to protest other activities in schools besides the pledge? Anyhow that's theoretical for now, maybe, but in principle it seems to me that while compelled speech should be prohibited, standing during the pledge doesn't count as that. I suppose the argument would have to be that standing in this context *is* speech, that by standing you are tacitly agreeing with the sentiments expressed. Except that to read standing in this way would stretch credulity in my opinion, because in any other social context where standing is generally required (synagogue, church, funerals, when a judge enters, etc) it's understood as a formal courtesy and not any statement of belief in Judaism, or Christianity, or jurisprudence, or anything else. No one ever stood in a court room and thought "darn it, now I'm endorsing the American justice system." Or if they did they were making an assumption that no one else would have read in their action.

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A kid refusing the curriculum, or refusing to leave class at the request of a teacher or principal is not okay.  If the kid leaves and it was an inappropriate request that is something that can be dealt with after the fact by sanction on the teacher.  There's no redress for being forced to say something you don't believe.  Accordingly, on this, the kid has to be right to refuse to participate in the pledge if that's how he felt, but he was wrong not to leave class.

Again, the incident in question wasn't about saying the pledge, it was about standing. I did have a moment to look up the local report, and here are some excerpts:

https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2019/02/14/mother-upset-after-son-kicked-out-of-class-over-pledge-of-allegiance#

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An 11-year-old Polk County student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, and after explaining his reasons, he was kicked out of class and eventually arrested for being disruptive and disobeying commands to calm down and leave the classroom.

[...]

The incident started when a substitute teacher asked the student to stand up for the pledge.

The student reportedly told the substitute teacher the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people.

[...]

According to the arrest affidavit, the student was arrested by the school resource officer because he refused to follow multiple commands, repeatedly called school leaders racist and was disruptive. They said he threatened to get the school resource officer and principal fired and to beat the teacher.

The student, who was with his mother when she was interviewed, told Spectrum News he didn’t threaten to beat the teacher.

[...]

A spokeswoman with the school district said students aren't required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, but the substitute teacher wasn't aware of this.

Going from the end to the beginning, as I suspected, the substitute hadn't been made aware of the school's policy of being able to decline this particular group activity. Although the article doesn't specify whether "participate" means to say it, or to be able to refuse to stand either. But the idea that the substitute was violating the school rules or something presupposes that there was any reasonable reason for the substitute to know that rule in the first place. If it's such an important rule, shouldn't the school have taken the provisions to make all staff (even temp staff) aware of it?

Going up from that, there's a dispute about whether the kid in fact threatened to beat the teacher. The police say yes, the kid denies it. Maybe that one's a wash, but to suppose the kid is right means that not only was the teacher out of line in referencing Africa, but in fact lied to the police as well. That's a leap, but it could be possible.

As for the rest, it seems that the issue came to a head not because of the pledge issue; after all any number of issues in a classroom could result in an upset or difficult child that's momentarily being contrary. That it was over the pledge is topically relevant today, but in actual fact isn't that relevant to why this case blew up. We could imagine any number of circumstances where a kid is upset and the teacher wants them to go to the office even if the kid feels they're in the right. The big factor is in refusing to leave the classroom. How this should result in being arrested I don't know; maybe 'arrested' means the school's security had to escort him out? In that case I'd say it's legit. If it meant calling the cops and having them come in with handcuffs then that would be ridiculous. The article says it's the "school resource officer" that did the arresting. Is that a cop, or an 'officer' in the sense of holding an office within the school involved in security? If the latter then who else could reasonably be tasked to come in and deal with it. Maybe someone here knows the answer to that one.

But overall I feel like this only became an issue because upon reviewing why the kid was asked to leave it was about the pledge, and about the kid's race. But let's pretend it hadn't been about that and instead had been about anything else - the result would have been the same, involving a student refusing to leave and having the have the school's officer escort them out. It's the refusal to leave that was the issue, not the stupid pledge thing. Or let's be more specific: let's say the teacher had done everything the same *except* for making the crack about Africa. What if it had gone right from "if you won't comply then please go to the office", and from there to "then I'm calling the office myself"? Then would everything be ok and the teacher did the right thing? And I'm totally on board to censuring the Africa comment. But the CNN article makes it sound like race-baiting and arresting black kids to abuse them. It was the kid himself who made it about race!


DonaldD

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2019, 05:00:39 PM »
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Edit: Also, IIRC, there is ScotUS precedent regarding curtailment of 1st Amendment Rights as it regards to students as well. IE: They CAN impose dress codes, and punish students for their attire, as 1st Amendment Protections for "freedom of speech" DO have restrictions when it comes to educational environments.
There is a difference between the ability to curtail a student's actions, and forcing students into participating in actions with which they do not agree.

It's been more than 75 years since that distinction was recognized in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette


Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2019, 10:42:49 AM »
Fen, that's a lot of words and I'm struck by not knowing why you needed them all.

My point on the first few paragraphs was to your seeming confusion about how to deal with a slippery slope.  I took what you were saying to mean that if we allow kids to not participate in the pledge then we can't stop them from refusing to participate in math.  The correct response to that is that we are perfectly able to distinguish core activities from non-core activities.  And that's true without regard to what "core" means.  It can be completely arbitrary - all students must wear green hats or be expelled, or completely pragmatic - all students must participate on topics designed to comply with state educational mandates, and we'd still be able to distinguish the vast majority of things that occur in any school day between the categories.  Does it offend me if a school makes the pledge mandatory?  No.  Voluntary?  No.  Removes it from their routine?  No.

Sure there might be "hard cases" from time to time, but that doesn't mean the slippery slope goes past the hard cases.

In this case, like I said, the Sub either should have known the rule or been prepared when questioned to handle it like an adult.  The failing to do so is on the sub.  That's why the sub was punished.  I don't agree, at all, with the idea you seem to be floating that that the sub is less guilty because the school district should have done more to educate them.  Sub's ought to avoid things that are known to be controversial unless they are specifically directed on them.  Kid sits let him, call the office for help or guidance. 

I'm fairly sensitive to taking an officer's word for actions, without proof, that are the basis of charges.  A threat the kid denies?  Kids make threats, officers lie about hearing them to justify arrests.  Which happened here?  I hate a rule that defaults to believing an officer who has to justify their actions (ie, they are self interested).

Did we really need an arrest and charges here?  I'm not seeing it as likely.

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2019, 10:59:38 AM »
Fen, that's a lot of words and I'm struck by not knowing why you needed them all.

I was trying to spell out a possible alternate reading of the scenario, to be maximally charitable to the sub.

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My point on the first few paragraphs was to your seeming confusion about how to deal with a slippery slope.  I took what you were saying to mean that if we allow kids to not participate in the pledge then we can't stop them from refusing to participate in math.  The correct response to that is that we are perfectly able to distinguish core activities from non-core activities.  And that's true without regard to what "core" means.  It can be completely arbitrary - all students must wear green hats or be expelled, or completely pragmatic - all students must participate on topics designed to comply with state educational mandates, and we'd still be able to distinguish the vast majority of things that occur in any school day between the categories.  Does it offend me if a school makes the pledge mandatory?  No.  Voluntary?  No.  Removes it from their routine?  No.

My point was that it's not clear-cut on which side of mandatory/non-mandatory standing for the pledge is. The sub wasn't informed about the right to decline to participate in the pledge, but it's not been stated that I could see whether this meant saying it or standing for it. If it meant saying it, then the sub would be in the right to still insist on standing. So I don't know. And I do think it's relevant what sort of briefing the sub got about the pledge, because while it wasn't handled well on the other hand people are also calling out the wrongness of insisting on it, and that may not be on point depending on circumstances.

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I don't agree, at all, with the idea you seem to be floating that that the sub is less guilty because the school district should have done more to educate them.  Sub's ought to avoid things that are known to be controversial unless they are specifically directed on them.  Kid sits let him, call the office for help or guidance.

What if you were shown that opting out isn't, in fact, standard in that district and that this school is an exception? Would that color your interpretation of what the sub ought to have known? I'm also not fond of the notion (now ever more popular) that teacher's, or even subs, should be powerless to deal with insubordination and that in the slightest show of resistance they should immediately call the office. Have you ever worked in education or with children? It weaken's your position incredibly to go to higher authority immediately, undermines the student's trust in you, and even worse, makes it clear to the students that they don't need to respect you, only the office. It should be a last resort, not the first move.

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I'm fairly sensitive to taking an officer's word for actions, without proof, that are the basis of charges.  A threat the kid denies?  Kids make threats, officers lie about hearing them to justify arrests.  Which happened here?  I hate a rule that defaults to believing an officer who has to justify their actions (ie, they are self interested).

Agreed. But I was commenting less on how much we should trust the officer, and more on the false reporting by the CNN write-up that made it sound like the cops were called, when the local article made it sound much more like it was the school's own security officer. There's a big difference from "being arrested", as in, taken to the police station, versus "being arrested", as in taken by the security guard to the office to await arrival of the parents. Every possible angle of the CNN article was slanted to make it sound like a bigot (even though she was Cuban) picked on a minority to prop up a white ceremony, and that due to racism the police were called. My main intent was to debunk this narrative, more so than to take sides with the sub or the officer.

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Did we really need an arrest and charges here?  I'm not seeing it as likely.

I'm surprised to hear you say this; wouldn't it depend on whether the claims are true that the child threatened to bodily attack the teacher? I find it hard to believe that in this day and age a threat of violence in a school should be taken so lightly by you. What if the kid returned in a month's time with a machine gun? Would you not then be taking the side of "how could they allow a troubled child who already made threats go unobserved?" Hindsight would be 20/20, I guess. And I don't know anything about this child so I'm not saying this is *that* scenario. However how can the FBI or anyone else be expected to take a potential threat in schools seriously if we're going to handwave away a potential case of a child threatening the staff? I'm not saying that's what actually happened, but what if it did? You seem to be taking at face value that the staff and officer are lying. Maybe so - and I'm even inclined to believe so on principle. But what if not?

TheDrake

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2019, 11:03:43 AM »
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What if it had gone right from "if you won't comply then please go to the office", and from there to "then I'm calling the office myself"?

It still would have shown a desire for the teacher to dominate, escalating a conflict, rather than educate. This isn't an unusual trait in a teacher, there are a significant minority who feel a need to exercise power rather than exercise diplomacy.

I remember having a physics teacher who reacted positively to some antics on my behalf. I took out a newspaper and started reading it ostentatiously in class. He could have sentenced me to the office for being insubordinate and disruptive. Instead, he met with me after class and asked me about it. I had been bored covering material I already knew for three weeks. He helped me set up an alternative curriculum, and I spent a lot of time outside class learning chapters not on the lesson plan. That is what we should demand from our educators.

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any other social context where standing is generally required (synagogue, church, funerals, when a judge enters, etc) it's understood as a formal courtesy and not any statement of belief in Judaism, or Christianity, or jurisprudence, or anything else.

Can you imagine the pastor of a church stopping the service and demanding that a parishioner stand up or kneel? Can you imagine having them escorted out by the deacons?

Would most judges make a point of demanding that a defendant rise, or even more unlikely a member of the gallery? A brief search suggests this is unclear and depends partly on location and the type of court, but quite a few of them would just move on with their day.

Violations of this sort of protocol usually just result in a dirty look and negative opinions.

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2019, 11:12:02 AM »
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What if it had gone right from "if you won't comply then please go to the office", and from there to "then I'm calling the office myself"?

It still would have shown a desire for the teacher to dominate, escalating a conflict, rather than educate. This isn't an unusual trait in a teacher, there are a significant minority who feel a need to exercise power rather than exercise diplomacy.

This is what the education system has been reduced to anyhow, with teachers receiving no backup and being thrown under the bus at the first opportunity usually. Caving to parent complaints have far overtaken the administration standing up for their staff. And btw, in her own misguided way her first move was actually to try to educate, using herself as an example of a minority in America who still finds things to care about in the flag. Granted, her manner of saying so was ridiculous, which perhaps speaks to the quality of teacher training (another matter entirely), but the desire to dominate doesn't seem in evidence in the actual case. She tried reasoning (not in a good way), and then resorted to insisting, and finally to calling the office. This chain of events sounds roughly correct in terms of procedure. My main hypothetical question is that if her stupid reasoning was stricken from the record, and was replaced with better reasoning, or perhaps with nothing at all, how much would it affect the reading of the case and the 'arrest'? Best case scenario is to imagine she did reason, and well, but that things escalated anyhow.

Seriati

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2019, 11:47:12 AM »
My point was that it's not clear-cut on which side of mandatory/non-mandatory standing for the pledge is. The sub wasn't informed about the right to decline to participate in the pledge, but it's not been stated that I could see whether this meant saying it or standing for it. If it meant saying it, then the sub would be in the right to still insist on standing. So I don't know.

The sub's not in trouble for asking the kid to stand for the pledge.  The sub is in trouble for how they handled the aftermath.  That makes your focus on whether the sub was right odd to me.  It's immaterial whether they were right.  If the sub had been asking him to do math, and the kid refused, and the sub made a racist comment they should still be dismissed.  Making the racist comment should never happen, and is what justified the punishment. 

That said, picking a fight and then handling what should be a simple situation to handle, without being able to deescalate it reflects a temperament that is unbecoming on a teacher, substitute or not.  And that would lead to a bad review on my part and either better training or eventual dismissal.

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And I do think it's relevant what sort of briefing the sub got about the pledge, because while it wasn't handled well on the other hand people are also calling out the wrongness of insisting on it, and that may not be on point depending on circumstances.

I hope you can see why I think the briefing is irrelevant now.  The sub escalated a conflict rather than deescalating it.  Being "right" wouldn't have fixed that.

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What if you were shown that opting out isn't, in fact, standard in that district and that this school is an exception? Would that color your interpretation of what the sub ought to have known?

No.  It's about what the sub did, not what they knew.  The sub showed bad judgment at every stage, better knowledge isn't going to correct bad judgment.

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I'm also not fond of the notion (now ever more popular) that teacher's, or even subs, should be powerless to deal with insubordination and that in the slightest show of resistance they should immediately call the office. Have you ever worked in education or with children? It weaken's your position incredibly to go to higher authority immediately, undermines the student's trust in you, and even worse, makes it clear to the students that they don't need to respect you, only the office. It should be a last resort, not the first move.

It sounds like your disapproval of showing weakness in front of kids is coloring the situation.  I do have kids, and I do understand about the need to establish and maintain authority.  But it still wouldn't cause me to make the kind of comment this sub did.  Not to mention, today's teachers are specifically trained in diversion and deescalation specifically because head on conflicts with children don't always achieve the result you might wish they did.  At the end of the day a threat is meaningless and the child knows it. 

So what happened by "being tough" and asserting authority?  Did the sub avoid calling the office?  Nope, they ended up with the Dean and the Resource Officer in the class and completely undermined both the sub's authority and respect.

Again, not the judgment I want in a teacher.

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Agreed. But I was commenting less on how much we should trust the officer, and more on the false reporting by the CNN write-up that made it sound like the cops were called, when the local article made it sound much more like it was the school's own security officer.

I'm sure you won't find it shocking that I'm not surprised CNN told the story the way they wanted the story to be told.  They do the same thing on every story.

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Did we really need an arrest and charges here?  I'm not seeing it as likely.

I'm surprised to hear you say this; wouldn't it depend on whether the claims are true that the child threatened to bodily attack the teacher?

No.  It would depend on the credibility.  You asked me above if I've worked with kids, and the answer is enough to know that 11/12 year olds make threats that are not credible because they lose their tempers.  They also apologize for them pretty quickly, and can't even always remember making them.  Adults should use discretion when dealing with them.  Part of why I despise "zero tolerance" policies.

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I find it hard to believe that in this day and age a threat of violence in a school should be taken so lightly by you. What if the kid returned in a month's time with a machine gun?

Lol.  Seriously laughing.  In what world is a kid getting a machine gun?  Never mind that they've been restricted/illegal for decades, they cost a fortune and take licenses no kid is getting.

But let's presume you mean a family member's handgun.  How's the kid going to find the sub on the day he has the gun? 

Honestly, I put the odds of this kid bringing a gun over this instance at zero percent.   It's more likely, to me, that everyone in the school gets eaten by bears or hit by lightening.

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You seem to be taking at face value that the staff and officer are lying. Maybe so - and I'm even inclined to believe so on principle. But what if not?

I'd like to see what makes you think I think they're lying.  I said they have an incentive to lie, just the like the kid, and I don't like rules of default that make us believe what they say without examination.

In my experience, when someone arrests a little kid, they always spin the story to make sound as bad as possible (or even worse than possible).  Have you ever heard of a kid getting arrested where they made it sound better than it was?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 11:49:42 AM by Seriati »

Fenring

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Re: 12-year old non-violent criminals
« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2019, 12:29:37 PM »
The sub's not in trouble for asking the kid to stand for the pledge.  The sub is in trouble for how they handled the aftermath.  That makes your focus on whether the sub was right odd to me.  It's immaterial whether they were right.

This may be where we're getting our wires crossed. I'm actually not addressing the discplining of the teacher, but rather how the matter was reported on and subsequently discussed here. I agree with the disciplining, for the reason you state here. What I'm trying to nail down is exactly why I think the disciplining was right; whereas the prevailing tendency seems to be to condemn all parts of the situation: the asking the kid to stand, the racist comment, the calling the office, and finally the officer coming. I don't really see an obvious objection to any of these except for the racist comment, and for that alone I agree with the disciplining. Any of the others *might* have a reasonable explanation depending on whose reporting of the situation is more accurate.

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That said, picking a fight and then handling what should be a simple situation to handle, without being able to deescalate it reflects a temperament that is unbecoming on a teacher, substitute or not.  And that would lead to a bad review on my part and either better training or eventual dismissal.

A bad review isn't the same as eliminating someone's career. But I still agree that there is grounds to be disatisfied with her conduct. But I don't see that it's reasonable on its face to say that she picked a fight. The student was clearly picking a fight, but I do think it would be fair to say that the teacher decided to confront it rather than just leave it alone. I wasn't there, so I couldn't guess whether just leaving it alone would have been objectively good, or a problem of its own somehow.

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I hope you can see why I think the briefing is irrelevant now.  The sub escalated a conflict rather than deescalating it.  Being "right" wouldn't have fixed that.

I am a bit proponent of deescalation. So I'm with you on the basic idea that escalating is almost always bad. I'm not convinced that the facts as reported imply that this is what happened. But if they did then I would agree with you.

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It sounds like your disapproval of showing weakness in front of kids is coloring the situation.  I do have kids, and I do understand about the need to establish and maintain authority.  But it still wouldn't cause me to make the kind of comment this sub did.

Just to be clear, my comment about showing weakness isn't about some macho show of authority, but about establishing a trust and a respect. If the student thinks the teacher is just some flunky for The Man then any ability to learn in that classroom is already going to be compromised. There is a direct correlation here between the student's relationship with their teachers and their ability to learn. Granted, this is a sub, so we might well wonder whether the student would have pulled that with his regular teacher. But I don't think connecting the racist comment is necessary in context of the idea that it would good to address the matter is some way. The fact that the sub used an argument that falls on its own face is, shall we say, a mechanical error, rather than a strategic one: reasoning was a good method, but the actual reason given was offensive. Could it have been a brain fart? Or an actual bigoted view? Or what? I don't know. But my view about authority isn't connected with the fact of having made a bad argument to the student.

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So what happened by "being tough" and asserting authority?  Did the sub avoid calling the office?  Nope, they ended up with the Dean and the Resource Officer in the class and completely undermined both the sub's authority and respect.

When the teacher's requests have no teeth there is little recourse when receiving a "no" other than to drop the matter (often unacceptable) or to call the office. There is sadly not much of a middle ground. So avoiding calling the office, while that would have been a win had the situation been resolved, would have likewise been a loss had the situation remained unresolved. Also, calling the office doesn't have to mean big trouble. Very often a principal can have a softening effect on the situation and it can be good for the student to talk to someone outside the class. Refusing to go to the office and to leave the room is, in my view, a fairly serious matter and should rightly be passed off promptly to a designated security official in the school.

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No.  It would depend on the credibility.  You asked me above if I've worked with kids, and the answer is enough to know that 11/12 year olds make threats that are not credible because they lose their tempers.

Right, it depends on the credibility. What was the tone of the student, how much danger was perceived by the teacher in that situation? Don't know; wasn't there. Do you know?

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Lol.  Seriously laughing.  In what world is a kid getting a machine gun?  Never mind that they've been restricted/illegal for decades, they cost a fortune and take licenses no kid is getting.

It was hyperbole...

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But let's presume you mean a family member's handgun.  How's the kid going to find the sub on the day he has the gun?

This would seem to be a non sequitor, since school shooters seem rarely to come in on a hunt-and-kill with a single target in mind. Actually I've never heard of a case of this, although maybe there was one. The general scenario seems to be shooting targets of opportunity. Granted also that this kid is younger than those others, I think, but still I find it strange to blithely dismiss a threat. That doesn't mean it should automatically be taken at face value, as you point out, but I likewise find it strange to pretend that it wasn't a relevant aggravating factor in the events at hand.

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You seem to be taking at face value that the staff and officer are lying. Maybe so - and I'm even inclined to believe so on principle. But what if not?

I'd like to see what makes you think I think they're lying.  I said they have an incentive to lie, just the like the kid, and I don't like rules of default that make us believe what they say without examination.

In my experience, when someone arrests a little kid, they always spin the story to make sound as bad as possible (or even worse than possible).  Have you ever heard of a kid getting arrested where they made it sound better than it was?

Either they are lying (as I do agree officers will do to cover their butts), or are 'mistaken', whatever that means, or are truthfully reporting on what happened. I guess there are other shades of grey in there. But if you're talking about motive then you're also talking about intentionality. My first instinct in these cases is indeed to sift for conflict of interest (telling the truth vs. self-serving motive); but I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater either.

My main point herein was to try to make a case that the story may be (a) overblown, and (b) deceptively reported to make a political case out of what was otherwise a mishandled case of student disobedience. Painting the student as a mere victim and the teacher/school as racists doesn't help the truth any more than does ignoring bad arrests and incompetent administrations. They are both bad, and that's essentially my purpose in going on about this. People are so prone nowadays to dogpile on some arbitrary 'bad guy' that I think the details become less important than sanctimony.