“Violence rules, guns are cool, and we have guns in our school…” Or so sayeth The Dead Milkmen in their song “Violent School.”
When I was in high school in New Jersey many a year ago, we had an “incident.” Even with our security guards (who hit on the teenage girls and ignored it when they smoked in the bathrooms), there were still drugs and violence and bullying and other typical – or what seemed like typical – high school stuff going on around us. Except that one day, a security guard apparently walked into the boys’ bathroom and discovered that one of the low-level drug dealer teenage boys had a gun. Oh my (as George Takei would say).
The school extended our homeroom period and asked us to talk about it. Because that would fix the problem. And we’d all feel safe then. A few friends and I walked around, singing from the Dead Milkmen song. We didn’t feel safe, but we didn’t feel any less safe. Way back when I had started there, the big news was about someone who had gotten stabbed in front of the local diner (Ralph’s) and gone through the window. And at some point, I can’t remember if it was before or after the incident with the gun in the bathroom, we had a neighbor a few blocks over who had shot and killed his father. There were claims of abuse; I want to say it was the eldest who shot his father, and I only remember that he had a sister named Gia who was closer to my age. It was so long ago that it’s only a faint memory.
I’m not going to make any comments on guns and the NRA and all the other things in the news. I’m not trying to make any point about how guns are good or bad. I’m just going to say this – guns exist. Guns are already in schools. And if you’ve read my two previous posts in this series, then you know that I’ve looked at two other things: the fact that we’re fascinated with bad things and that we love to blame “others” for those bad things. We’re still doing the same things. Nothing has changed.
The Huffington Post had an interesting article about a brilliant high school principal in Pennsylvania that was busted sending texts and emails about a special needs (bipolar) student. In these messages, he called the student a “psychopath,” noted that he thought the student might turn into another “Hinckley, Booth, and Oswald,” said that student was “the biggest accident waiting to happen,” and said he thought the student was, “the inspiration for the CSI show on school killing sprees.”
In response to these obviously offensive and completely inappropriate comments, he was suspended for investigation, but then the school board went ahead and reinstated him (a 6 to 3 vote), but noted that he is no longer allowed to work with the school’s special needs students.
Okay, so let’s think about this.
The guy isn’t bright enough to know that everything he says about students is available through the open records act. Yet he’s bright enough to run a school? Somehow, me thinks he’s too stupid to be in charge of that school. Especially with those types of comments. (And the fact that the reason he was caught was that he sent the text during a meeting with the student and the student’s parent!)
Next up – he’s allowed to be the principal, but he can’t work with special needs students. Hello? That’s like saying, hey, I know you molested an 8 year old, so you don’t get to work with any more 8 year olds. But go ahead and keep on working at an elementary school. The guy has proven he is not appropriate to work with part of the student body, why keep him? And the fact that this kid is now going to school knowing that his (or her – student not identified) principal thinks that he/she is crazy. Wow. That’ll make him/her feel great about school! And the fact that the board doesn’t care about him/her is going to make him/her feel great, too.
Why do we excuse behavior when it comes from adults who should know better? Especially when it makes the kids suffer? If I was in that town, I’d be looking forward to the elections to get rid of those six school board members…