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Tuesday 14 January 2003

These Kids Today

If you believe the news, today’s kids just keep getting violenter and violenter, and at younger ages. According to this article in USA Today:

  • In Philadelphia, the first part of this school year brought the suspensions of 22 kindergartners.

  • Minneapolis schools have suspended more than 500 kindergartners over the past two school years for fighting, indecent exposure and “persistent lack of co-operation,” among other offenses. […]

  • In Massachusetts, the percentage of suspended students in prekindergarten through third grade more than doubled between 1995 and 2000 […]

  • In 2001-2002, Greenville, S.C., schools suspended 132 first-graders, 75 kindergartners and two preschoolers.

This rise in “violence” isn’t because of zero-tolerance policies that don’t differentiate between a child who’s a pain in the ass and one who’s truly dangerous, though. Oh, no.

Educators blame everything from rising rates of mild disabilities to violent video games to a bad economy.

Richard Barbacane, who chairs disciplinary hearings for the Lancaster, Pa., school district, says more children are arriving at school from stressed, single-parent homes. He also suspects medical problems such as fetal alcohol syndrome.

“Children now are surviving pregnancies and births that 10 years ago they weren’t, and they’re coming to school with minimal brain dysfunction and growing needs,” he says. “We’re just now seeing these children in our schools.”

It’s because of everything but the schools, in other words. The kids are braaaaiinnnnn daaaaamaged, like the crack babies were supposed to be. There’s nothing the schools can possibly do except expel them, because the schools function perfectly. If only it weren’t for these damned kids!

When I was in school, it felt like a prison to me, with nonsensical rules, hypocritical power figures, and a seeming total lack of concern for the students and for education. From what I can tell from where I sit today, it’s far worse now. Combine this stultifying atmosphere with a drive to identify, quantify, record and punish anything a student does wrong, and it’s no wonder that school “violence” is on the rise.

Those truly interested in reducing the level of “violence” in schools would do well to notice the psychological violence against students that seems to underly most of American public education these days.

Posted by tino at 14:09 14.01.03
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