The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


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).


Comments on: "SCHOOL POLICY" (6)

  1. Well horror of horrors I had a high school teacher who was shell shocked from WWII and he used to pull us out of our chairs and literally throw us outside if we missed out on doing things the way they should be done. I don’t condone it, but never ran home to Mom and had my parents turn up at the school to demand his blood. Obviously he should not have been there but I had to handle that and other situations in life and I view them as preparatory to dealing with real nasty stuff in the world of business and relationships in later life without throwing in the towel. Again obviously there is a balance here. I wonder if we have gone to the extreme in the other direction now? Have we coddled our kids to the point they can’t handle the knocks of life without turning to addiction, a life of crime or taking their own life? The home is very important in achieving the necessary balance. If kids are loved and supported in the home to the point where parents can sense if there is a need, look into it and provide reinforcement as their children face hard knocks. If our humanistic western societies didn’t legislate over protection perhaps things may look better for the next generation who can deal with their changing world? Perhaps!

  2. It should be obvious by now that the public school system no longer exists to educate children. It exists to provide careers for grown-up and greater membership for unions. Children and their education are the last considerations applied when towns and their school committees sit down to calculate their annual school department budgets.

    The first priority of spending is teacher salary and benefit costs. The last priority is the purchase of up to date text books, smart boards, and other technical advancement now available upon purchase for incorporation into the day to day activities of students.

    Towns pay taxes to fully fund public education. It doesn’t work that way, though. In many schools, parents have to provide students with fundamental equipment essential to their education, such as pens, pencils, paper, scissors, pencil sharpeners, glue [both liquid and sticks], dictionaries, thesauruses, and atlases. Does this constitute fully funded public education that provides all students with equal access to essential learning tools irrespective of their ability to pay or the disposition of their parents?

    And speaking of parents…who do you suppose purchased the toy “guns” and the low mass, limited distance and force plastic “projectiles”? Is the parents choice of toy purchases and permissions for their children to play with “guns” not legitimate speech protected by the first amendment?

    Is the schools draconian decision to deprive two students equal access to education paid for by their parents in the form of private property taxes not a violation of the equal protection of the fourth amendment? or the eighth amendment’s protection from cruel and unusual</em? punishment. After all, the children were participating in a legal activity on their own private property in the exercise of their right to happiness and protection from pragmatic interpretation and whimsical application of schools "rules"?

    And, if public safety is the reason for the suspension of the "gun toting" children, then how is allowing persons who failed the public trust by using and dealing with drugs viewed with sufficient discretion to prevent teachers from permanent banishment from teaching and associating with children?

    Are drugs no longer associated with violence and exploitation?

    Is drug abuse no longer associated with individuals prone to poor judgment, other illicit activity including a willingness to subject their own children or spouses to shoplifting, prescription fraud, burglary, real gun involved felonies and even human trafficking?

    And we are to accept that these same people, upon immediate completion of rehab, will not re-offend and create a climate of fear in their classrooms or others?

    Are we getting what we are paying for? Are we getting the kind of leadership we expect from our local, state and federal political leaders? Are we getting what we expect from our neighbors in terms of demanding and assuring the rights of our children as they march off to learn, and are we appropriately asserting our roles as the true heads of government or are we delegating our parental duties to a group of strangers led by ego-maniacal administrative hacks who have no personal reason to vest themselves in the futures of those they are hired to oversea the educational experience of our children and young adults?

    • As usual, Rick I’m giving you an A+ on your test.

      You are absolutely right, in my opinion, on both of these cases. Frankly, I don’t care whether the teacher uses heroin because I believe in de-criminalizing all drugs. However, I do believe that disqualifies him from being someone whom I think should be teaching our children. Apparently, the NYC Board of Education agreed with that – frankly, much to my surprise.

      I know that if one of my teachers at my school were found to be a drug user, my parents would have summarily moved me to another school.

      The radical left, in the case of the Virginia Beach school system is clearly abrograting the two children’s Constitutional rights. That really shouldn’t surprise us. To quote Mark Twain, “First God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.”

      Thanks for your extensive and intelligent response. It’s good to hear from you.

  3. I haven’t been aware lately that there are actually lines.

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