Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Kill Me

Yesterday I thought I witnessed wilding inside an art class. I was at another "magnet" school that resides in North Nashville, the place where time forgot and its 1954.   The schools in that cluster are to say the least - lacking.  To say otherwise would be delusional. 

I came for the afternoon of the new art Teacher as the one who had a respected career left and supposedly moved to be closer to family.  Heard that before and know it to be a lie. They lie here like rugs on less useful and colorful.  The lies here are moth eaten and worn out but then again to be a Teacher in Nashville, same diff.

She was already at the end of her rope with four days left to break.  She warned me and I knew that she was at the breaking point, I just told her that I had seen this everywhere and if that was a comfort so be it.  The school feeds into the "acclaimed" Hume Fogg and is the beloved academic school of the city. It also feeds into MLK which is less so but actually about the same as both schools are frankly just normal everyday High Schools with some great academically achieving kids and some normal ones that roll into the spectrum of what that means to be a teen-ager.  People constantly ask me how do I sub at Hume Fogg? Gosh I don't know click on it when it shows up on the subfinder?  Apparently it is not that easy but I doubt that is true it is just that when you are aware you grab it and go as I just did a few minutes ago for when we return in January.  I pretty much take any gig there and not worry that I will witness said wilding.

When the Teacher left the kids went batshit crazy nuts. They threw anything they could get their hands on, including a child whom they picked up dwarf tossing style and threw her upside down. The door was open, the room across the hall from Administration and no one came to respond to chaos that ensued.  I just sat and watched.  The kids were utterly out of control and out of their minds and yes Virginia (or Teacher from Overton) they were all Black.  I have finally tossed my towels, my cookies and my sanity trying to understand this but this is poverty on steroids.

After they left I ran a tight ship for the two classes that remained, they were 5th and 6th grade but the older group had some fairly damaged souls.  I got rid of many as I could when the supposed "I have to go to see a Teacher" story came up, so I said go.  I marked them absent and left her note that while they may not be they weren't thankfully here as I could not handle it after the wilding.  The rest were a mess of whiner, complainers, fighters, talkers and do nothing-ers with a few who tackled the gig of doing a copy of a Picasso self portrait. One kid would not leave me alone. Again boundaries they have few and it is almost to the level of creepy when these children cling and hang onto you when clearly you have done what you can to distance yourself.

I could not wait til end of day but out of courtesy I tidied the room and the kids had to stand for 5 minutes at the end of day, the Admins were in the hall so they could not leave but just wait and do nothing.  But I wanted to run to the door the minute the bell rang so I needed that time to ensure the room stayed clean.  I used to feel bad but today I just want to take a shower after as I feel unclean.

So I went for a walk through the garden center where an employee who works there and had subbed in Nashville for a few years as he was thinking about being a Teacher asked me how it was. I said I had just seen the equivalent of wilding and how tragic it was that poverty has turned both a race and generation into such tragic figures. 

He goes, "Well it is a middle school"

Okay, yes I have been in many in my day and I am in one today.  This is largely a Latino cohort so we have paper tossing, pen caps and that is the extent. The school in the West End with the Teacher of the Year had a mix of many colors was as bad with a student jumping out a ground floor window with all of them throwing stuff and were so destructive the Police were called. So, yes I get Middle School but this is almost everywhere and only compares to only two in Seattle, South Shore and Aki Kurose.  They are in the poorest of poor neighborhoods and they have turn and burn with Principals and/or Staff.

So in that Nashville way of patronizing while condescending a woman twice his age and with twice the experience and credential is another who is in full denial of the true situation here that poverty has destroyed a culture and it is not racist to admit it is in fact racist to deny it.  Ah the truth is a dish served with biscuits and sweet tea.

This shattered system has ensured that racial and economic lines have been drawn decades ago and are unlikely if ever to change in the future.

So then when I read that a Teacher in Colorado wrote the most bizarre warning I thought he is just another casualty on the burn out rung that it led to this oddly poorly written screed down to a misspelled word was a cry for help.   I get it I really do.  I cleaned a room today to the point of getting on my hands and knees and I said that if you feel compelled to do this perhaps I need to toss a desk to make a point that throwing things is unacceptable.  I wondered if I would and then when I read this I realized that even I am not that bad - YET.  But being a Christian would that excuse it? Asking for a friend.

A Commerce City middle school teacher has resigned after projecting a message on a classroom screen that read, in part, “I want to kill children,” school district officials said Monday.

School officials placed Kris Burghart, an eighth-grade teacher at Otho E. Stuart Middle School, on administrative leave on Dec. 5 after he posted the message. He resigned on Friday, said Tracy Rudnick, spokeswoman for Commerce City School District 27J.

Reached at his home on Monday, Burghart declined to comment on the message or his resignation.
The note projected on a screen read: “Silent reading … I want to kill children but I am a loving Christian man who never would hurt a flee (sic) so please sit down and read.”

“A student took a picture of it on his phone … the principal talked to him and he admitted writing it,” Rudnick said.

Burghart might have been feeling frustrated with his students when he typed and displayed the message, Rudnick said. “He is a very well-liked teacher, so it is unfortunate, but we don’t stand for anyone making threatening remarks.”
Fabricio Velez, the school principal, informed parents of the suspension in a letter that said in part: “It was reported to me, by a parent, that Mr. Burghart had projected a message on the board that frightened some of our Raptors
“I can assure you that no student was in danger at any time. I will communicate back to you once we review the facts and come to a final decision. If at any time you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email or telephone.”
In another letter to parents, 27J superintendent Chris Fiedler called Burghart’s post unacceptable.

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