Thursday, December 17, 2015

Boys to Men

Kids lie. And adults either chose to of course believe them when it suits them and then when it doesn't it is ignored or sometimes they are prosecuted/

This week brought several cases to the top of the news.  Two boys north of the area were arrested for making threats that were felonious in addition to being screaming racist ones. And the excuse "we were just joking" okay then.   Then we had another boy, only this one in College, for a similar thing.  White males, younger than the current norm of millennial who seem unable to assuage their rage are demonstrating that we are miles away from a color blind society.   Justice Scalia is the top end of that bookend the boys at Edmonds Woodway the bottom.

Then we have this case below.  I have talked about the school last week when I found out who the boys were that shared pornography with the entire student body and the aftermath that resulted in a bizarre utterly unproductive "be kind" campaign.  The boys still at the school and clearly I question from their behavior on that day if they have received any mental health counseling or appropriate supervision. 

A year ago when I was placed with a Student Teacher whose mentor Teacher went on medical leave suddenly prior to the school year starting, I entered two weeks into the year. Another sub had been there earlier, a Special Ed Teacher was in/out of the classes all day and yet I knew by day three there was one student who was mentally ill.  Now while all the other professionals in the room failed to note this I am unclear.  The student teacher claimed to have extensive child experience in another field prior to entering education, the SPED teacher was a veteran so how they failed to realize this I have never understood. I shared my concerns, there was a respective trip to the counselors office where no records were available as he was a transfer student. Calls home went unanswered as were emails. So we moved his seat to a table with two highly achieving students who documented the insane ramblings and bizarre remarks throughout the block period of two hours, there was no shortage of time and ability to watch his behavior and hear his remarks to realize this child had a serious mental health disorder.

I was counseled by the Principal that my attitude was a reflection of my white privilege and inability to connect to those of color, she advised me to take a class on deflection class management course and then thought I was related to someone in Federal Way as we shared a last name which she had never heard of.  Yes two consonants and a vowel and the name of the Wall Street activities on a daily basis was something she was unfamiliar.  Okay then.  Then the file arrived. This boy was removed immediately as he had a serious mental health problem. By then we had all been at risk and the chaos that he brought to the classroom placed the lessons and curriculum behind as well. 

The reality is that Teachers are rarely told about students who have had a violent behavioral problem(s) or been subject to legal matters due to the confidential laws that protect students. Yet ironically Special Ed kids we receive a raft of information some of it absurdly not useful or appropriate, and the same with health problems of which few are trained to intervene or assist if said problem occurs at school property.  Additionally, there are few Nurses available to help should they be  needed.  The reality is that both staff and students are undeserved when it comes to both mental and physical health problems in a classroom.

And as I read about the boys verdict yesterday I simply felt sick.  This boy was 14 at the time of the crime, and if he was that severely ill as his Lawyer concludes then he made it through the system for close to 10 years before anyone knew and it took an act of extreme violence before anyone apparently did.

For what is worthy of noting the halls at the school had cameras that recorded the movements of the perpetrator and the victim. But where are the adults after school? Were there other Teachers in the building? If they felt compelled to have cameras where or who was monitoring them?  The other student clearly was there in the class and yet what happened there? Did he leave before seeing the boy and his odd behavior, getting a box cutter out of where or from where? The looking out the door and then what?

The last two years here have found two similar cases where the boys assaulted or molested girls and they both had a history that was documented with regards to similar behavior, none requiring intervention by law; however, the boys at the Middle School last week did have Police visit the school yet it is clear that they were never charged with any crime or how would they be there?

As a woman and a teacher I have every right to no what students have a history of behavioral issues and those who have had a legal problem that at one point may have led to incarceration or monitoring.  My first year of teaching I knew of one girl who set fire to her boyfriends home and she was on the monitoring program and had a probation officer, we now have the ALE (alternative schools for these type of situations but even in those where there his a higher probability if not likelihood that many of the students have had some legal issues, although I suspect largely drug or truancy related.  Regardless, I should have complete knowledge upon accepting an assignment that I may be in a class with a student-at-risk.

I am more than accommodating with kids and their problems.  There is a documentary called Paper Tigers out about youth and trauma. I took the quiz and scored 6 out of 8, so yes I get trauma and when a white Principal scolds me on not understanding I should offer her a  cliff notes version of my history as the SFTU moment.

But this boy is dangerous and was long before he set foot in that classroom. That boy grows up and becomes Dylan Root, Adam Lanza, James Holmes and on and on,  and they were boys too - Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris - just on the cusp of being men.  There were clear patterns, history of problems and yet no one cared or felt compelled to do anything to prevent this from happening.

Are the Teacher's unions at fault here too?

Massachusetts teen found guilty of murdering math teacher

By Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, CNN

Updated 2:09 PM ET, Wed December 16, 2015
Teen found guilty of first-degree murder of math teacher

Teen found guilty of first-degree murder of math teacher 00:50

"There can never be true justice for the crime committed," says victim's father
A jury finds Philip Chism guilty of first-degree murder in the 2013 killing of Colleen Ritzer
He is also found guilty of armed robbery and aggravated rape

(CNN)A jury in Massachusetts has found Philip Chism guilty of first-degree murder in the 2013 killing of his high school math teacher, Colleen Ritzer.

The jurors in Essex Superior Court on Tuesday also found Chism guilty of aggravated rape and armed robbery. He was found not guilty on a second count of aggravated rape.

Chism was charged as an adult and faces life in prison with the possibility of parole between 15 and 25 years, according to Carrie Kimball Monahan from the Essex District Attorney's Press Office.

He showed no obvious emotion as the verdict was being read. A status date in the case is set for December 22.

Chism, now 16, was charged with killing Ritzer, 24, with a box cutter in a bathroom at Danvers High School on October 22, 2013.

Ritzer's body was found a day later in woods near the school.

"This guilty verdict, while the beginning of justice for Colleen, is certainly no cause for celebration as there can never be true justice for the crime committed. There remains a tremendous and painful absence in our lives -- one that, sadly, can never be replaced," said Ritzer's father, Tom.

"Colleen never gave up and neither will we. We will not allow Colleen's death to define how she's remembered," he told reporters.

During closing arguments Monday, defense attorney Denise Regan recounted the testimony of psychiatrists, arguing that Chism has suffered from a psychotic disorder since a young age and that he responded to voices and hallucinations at the time of Ritzer's killing.

"When Philip Chism followed Ms. Ritzer into that bathroom, he was not himself," Regan said before the jury.

"He didn't choose to do this."

The defense conceded that Chism killed Ritzer but presented an insanity defense last week. The court had earlier found Chism competent to stand trial.

Prosecutor Kate MacDougall argued that Chism did not suffer from mental illness and that surveillance video from inside the school showed Ritzer's killing was planned.

"The only still image that matters in this case is the image of Colleen Ritzer in the woods," MacDougall said.

"There is not one single person in this courtroom who wants to believe that a 14-year-old-boy could have done this and not be crazy. But doing something so awful does not make you crazy."

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