Thursday, January 25, 2018

Can we talk about safe places to learn?

I didn't get a call from the public school on the day my son was stabbed in the face with a pencil by another student. I got a note home. I was never even able to get the teacher to call me back.

Thankfully, my son was okay, it was just a deep scar on his chin for a while and didn't need anything but over the counter attention. 

But after another day of not being able to get ahold of anyone, I walked into the principal's office with the advice of my teacher-friends and asked what had happened and what the plan on keeping my son safe was, as all I was told is that the student who hurt him was known for this behavior. When they didn't have a plan, I left and enrolled my children in a charter school.

A charter school doesn't have to take violent offenders. As a matter of fact, our's doesn't offer spots to those with violence on the records. 

And it was there that both of my school-agers blossomed, in a safe and loving environment. When bullying is not tolerated, when everyone shows up at a school because they want to be there, it changes the dynamics of personal interaction. 

And for every jerkwad who wants to lecture you about how school choice isn't diplomatic, all I can think of is if my son hadn't been wearing glasses, that strike could have hit his eye. Could have blinded him.

And I'm reminded of it again as I see a headline that a student with a history of violence hurt two people, two other students. Under no circumstances should that have happened. 

Every kid deserves a safe school. I'm open to ideas on how to arrive at that, but this is all we have right now. 

We have to talk about what happens when we force a bunch of young people together without measures to keep them safe in a school setting. We have to talk about what to do when violent behavior or bullying shows up because what we do now doesn't work and I'm tired of reading the headlines of how another child killed themselves rather than face another day of torment. 

We have to talk about how we have a certain percentage of human beings in this world who hurt people, and who won't stop doing that without appropriate interventions. 

We have to talk about it because nobody seems to have an answer to any of this. I definitely don't have any good suggestions.

But I know giving them free passes and repeated chances to abuse don't work. Turns out abusers LOVE the crap out of those things. And we need to be having conversations about what might work, especially in our educational system but everywhere really. 

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