Friday, March 29, 2019

So Much for That

The endless push, both as a metaphor and literally, regarding anti-bullying has done little to stave off actually bullying. There have been numerous suicides and of course mass shootings that pretty much tell you that whatever message is being sent out is clearly not working

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
  • Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
  • A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
  • 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
  • According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying
And last week in Charlottesville the schools were closed for two days due to threats of violence.  And they are not the only ones that have had said threats as it is a growing issue across the country. Just last year several schools in Detroit were closed    Last week one in Fairfield California, another in Pennsylvania, one in Connecticut.  They may all be fake but in today's climate it is difficult to tell.

Then we have endless violence or threats of violence against Teachers and others within the schools which  has escalated to proportions where Teachers are afraid and it is an issue significant enough to be a part of the dialogue with regards to funding for education.  Here in Nashville it was part of a town hall that Channel 5 News held to discuss the problems in the district with regards to the soon to be ex Director of Schools here.

And this issue parallels directly with the growing youth violence that dominates the cycle of news here as most crime is committed by Juveniles often well under the age of 18

Now race is the dominant issue in Nashville, most of the Educators and Staff of late voicing their concerns are Black, the Students they serve and are often both the victims and perpetrators are Black or of color so while the race card is tossed there is something to be examined as to what factors in that - systemic historic racism, poor employment or low employment, inadequate child and health care and of course religion all play a significant part in the marginalizing and disproportionate issues facing families of color. Why I put religion in this is because here in Nashville the largest and loudest voices of the choir of concern literally are choir members.  Few here are not actively engaged in Churches who hold great sway over the city and its political mien.  Many are like pop up shops when a controversy unfolds and immediately demand restitution or attention only to fold up the tent and reconfigure when another comes along. I have quit counting the groups and looking up their origins and tax status as I know for certain none have them as they are astro turf groups funded by whoever has the real agenda on file.  This to me became apparent during the transit debate and many of the "beards" as I refer to them go back to their day jobs or briefly consider a run for public office only to lose and move on.  It is a cycle you have to actually see to believe.

Then we have the real problems that are violence against their own.  I often feel that is the real reason little is done as it sort of solves the problem of where to house, put and deal with those from the Black Community.  Case in point was the recent shooting at an East Nashville Bar where two attractive white kids were killed and yet another man who was of color was killed the day before and only of late have they decided to connect the murder.  The other a near fatal injury has yet been solved but again it took the Police 23 hours to find the Waffle House shooter and he was less than a 1.5 miles away from the point of origin. But then the victims were all faces of color, the shooter however was not.  But that whole crime could have been prevented had the Police followed up on the vehicle theft found in the killers apartment complex parking lot. Imagine had they questioned the neighbors and with the description of the young man in place as he took the vehicle from a BMW sales lot with the keys and yet simply retrieved the vehicle after failing also to arrest him during a high speed chase the day before.  Things that make you go hmmm.

So when I read the story about the young Fifth Grader who died from an by a classmate during the school day there were things in the story missing that again make me go hmm.  I am appalled that an altercation grew to that level but then again I have actually seen one first hand here in school that hair, scalp and blood were all a part of the process as a young girl pulled a young man from a desk by the hair and dragged him across the floor. That school had been the scene of escalating issues over the two days I was there and since that time has had a series of problems with a Teacher taking a gun to school and a Coach assaulting a student.  It had already been in the news for all the fights and yet this is what defines Nashville Public Schools - horrific.  Although today I am a school where they are celebrating diversity and it is one of the few schools I love from its history to its present day it truly represents that in every way.  We have had, however, Teachers be assaulted and in turn hospitalized when children in that age cohort have assaulted them, we have School Resource Officers leave schools due to the verbal abuse and we have had many situations of physical assault student on student that includes sexual abuse as well.  It is non stop here and it exhausts me and it is why I call the schools dumpsters and the student are just trash bags thrown in with no regard.  It embarrasses me to be a part of something so vile that no one knows how to fix it and to say that it is all about race and racism that led to the downfall of the Director clearly thinks that what he did and more importantly failed to do for the faces of color would be considered racist if he did not share the same face of color.  How it gives him a pass is beyond my understanding.  

And when I watched CBS News cover a story about a Principal in Newark trying to save his students from shame and offer an option you realize that yes one man can make a difference.  And there are many Administrators and Teachers who don't share the same color of skin, the same religion, the same gender or culture that go the extra mile to devise programs and methods to bring dignity in the classroom.  To say one cannot learn from one who is not different than they is losing the point of diversity which I am seeing all over this school today.  I wish all days were like this here but who am I kidding.

Since I wrote this another story hit the news about a rape and assault with a broomstick in a high school locker room. Not the first nor last as I recall this from Bellevue, Washington schools a few years ago, from an elite private academy outside Nashville, and perhaps the most infamous, Steubenville Ohio.   This is a story not new in the least. That is what defines rape culture, hyper toxic masculinity.  So much for that and what MeToo was about before it was hijacked by celebrity. 


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