My teachers were all mean people. They had an expectation that when they handed out an assignment, we were going to complete it and turn it in on time. They would give us books to read and expect that we would read them. And, to show their ultimate distrust of us kids, they wouldn’t just take our word that we had followed their instructions – they would actually give us tests to determine that we had done our jobs as students. The nerve of them all.
Ah, the angst that those tests generated. Perhaps you know the feeling. How perspiration would form on my forehead a week in advance just thinking about the forthcoming trauma. And there were three specific words that might show up on those tests which caused the greatest amount of anxiety. Those words were, “Compare and contrast …”.
So, in the event as a child you were never forced to “compare and contrast” anything, I’ve written this post just for you. I am going to present you with two different scenarios which recently unfolded and let you judge the ways in which they were resolved. They occurred in two different school districts.
In Virginia Beach, VA, two seventh graders were suspended for playing with air soft pellet guns while they were on one of the student’s home lawns. The gun discharges a round, plastic projectile. As a result of the school district’s “zero tolerance” policy regarding “firearms”, they were both suspended for the balance of the school year. The school says that their policy on guns extends not only to carrying or using weapons on school property but also extends to any and all locations including a student’s home. Hmm.
Meanwhile, back in the Big Apple, high school teacher Damian Esteban was ordered to be re-instated as a teacher in the N. Y. public school system. The order was issued by N. Y. Supreme Court Judge Manuel Mendez.
Teacher Esteban, while serving on a jury, was discovered to have 20 bags of heroin in the backpack with which he arrived in court. He was kicked off the jury, charged with a misdemeanor and ordered to attend a rehab program.
He cited the fact that he had become addicted to the drug as a result of an ankle injury, (he must have had Michael Jackson’s doctor as his prescriptionist) and stated that he only used heroin on the weekends and never shot up while at school or on school property. In seeking re-instatement he also cited the case of another school teacher who was apparently a crack-cocaine addict and who had won his case to continue teaching the youth of America entrusted to his care.
Judge Mendez in his ruling said, “He has a spotless record as a teacher for five years. … The penalty of termination is excessive and shocking to the court’s sense of fairness.” NYC’s attorney general is planning an appeal of the judge’s decision.
So ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and children of all ages, please open your Exam Blue Books and for your first and only question, compare and contrast these two cases. (Feel free to write outside the lines).