How good teachers handle cell phone situations


This is how it works. It turns out you don’t need armed muscle in the classroom.

teacherswork

Comments

  1. marcus says

    A little time, a little consideration, a lot of compassion.
    What the hell is so fucking hard about that?

  2. Kaintukee Bob says

    @marcus:

    Compassion can be one of the hardest things in the world, to be honest. The world can be a cold, cruel place, and a big part of compassion is empathy – feeling the pain of others. Compassion is a massive help to others, but it can hurt terribly.

    It’s not hard, but it IS frequently painful, and people tend to shy from pain.

  3. yazikus says

    There are schools that deal with problems in other ways than assaulting the students. Lincoln High, an alternative school in rural WA tried a this with amazing results. I’ve spoken to people who work there, and it makes so much sense. The first thing they do when a kid is misbehaving is try to address other problems, they feed them, they ask them if they are okay or if they need sleep, and guess what, most of the time something that simple helps. There is no excuse for attacking a child for not putting away their phone.

  4. erichoug says

    Ever notice how the best teachers in your life rarely had problems with classroom discipline while the worst ones often did?

    I did hear the other morning that the officer in question was fired. He seems to have had numerous issues during his law enforcement career and probably shouldn’t be in a position of authority in any capacity.

  5. smrnda says

    Maybe my view of this is different since I taught at college, but if someone has a cell phone out, unless they’re making enough noise to be distracting, I don’t see what the issue is. I never told college students to put away cell phones. I figured if one was out they either had some important text or email, or they were making a choice to give the class less than 100% of their attention. It just puzzles me how much we demand that kids adhere to rules more rigidly than adults.

  6. says

    I only make them put cell phones away during exams. I’m really not worried that I have to compel student attention: if they don’t listen, they’ll suffer at the exams, which ought to be enough motivation (if it’s not, can I just stop giving exams? I hate them.)

    And then, of course, there’s my scintillating, engaging style which is so much more interesting than anything that could be happening on the internet…right? Right?

  7. Marshall says

    #7 and #8, I agree for college, but for grade school (including high school), especially in inner city schools, don’t you think students need a little more motivation than the punishment they receive from a poor grade? I think stricter rules regarding cell phones are probably warranted in grade school.

  8. says

    smrnda
    Below college cell phone bans make a hell lot of sense. Not only are kids distracted in class (you wouldn’T allow them to read comics either) and it’S disruptive, but it’s also an issue of safety. My kid’s primary school had to install a total mobile devices ban (they hadn’t thought it necessary for a primary school) after some kids showed other kids hardcore porn videos on the schoolyard. In college we basically agree that at least in lectures people are responsible for their own education.

  9. Dunc says

    It just puzzles me how much we demand that kids adhere to rules more rigidly than adults.

    The main thing that schools are supposed to teach is absolute and unquestioning obedience to authority.

  10. leerudolph says

    PZ: “And then, of course, there’s my scintillating, engaging style which is so much more interesting than anything that could be happening on the internet…right? Right?”

    I’m sure they’re only using their cell phones to read Pharyngula!

  11. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    Here’s another way to handle a tense situation with teens.

    Seventeen-year-old Aaliyah Taylor says a woman officer arrived Monday and when she saw Taylor dancing to the popular song, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” the officer laughed and said she had better dance moves.

    What happened next was a dance-off between the officer and the girl.

    “Instead of us fighting, she tried to turn it around and make it something fun,” Taylor said. “I never expected cops to be that cool. There are some good cops.”

    The officer matched Taylor with each step. Taylor said the officer would have kept going, but after several minutes of dancing, the teen got tired, so the two hugged and everyone left the area.

    Of course, these approaches require approaching teens as fellow human beings with feelings, intelligence, and autonomy. And we can’t have that….

  12. magistramarla says

    I told my students that I considered them to be young adults, and that I would respect them as such unless they showed me that they could not behave as young adults.
    I always kept a cup of coffee and a snack on my desk, so I told them that food and drinks in my classroom were fine, as long as they cleaned up after themselves. They were great about keeping my room clean, and told me that they purposely left messes in the classrooms of teachers who forbade food, gums, etc.
    I truly hated the distractions caused by cell phones, but I came to the same conclusion as Mrs. Turner-Smith when I needed to keep my phone out when my daughter was due to go into labor. I told my students why I needed to keep an eye on my phone that week, and they were as excited about my new grandbaby as I was. I also respected them when they came to me and told me why they might need to answer a call or text.
    I also had a quick method for getting a student to put the offending phone away. I would call on that student to google something for the class – “Chrissy, while you have your phone out, will you please google what day Caesar died and tell the class, then put the phone away?’ That little trick usually worked very well, the student would sheepishly put the phone away and I would see many others being put away at the same time.
    That’s all it takes to deal with teens.

  13. says

    magistramarla @15:

    I would call on that student to google something for the class – “Chrissy, while you have your phone out, will you please google what day Caesar died and tell the class, then put the phone away?’

    Novel idea! I like it.

  14. brucegorton says

    Strength
    You tell me about strength with a marine buzz cut strut
    That commanding voice so sure of what’s what
    Bringing the boot down with the sound of a hammer
    Say we should send “them” all to the slammer

    A student walked into the classroom, a son with a gun
    Bullets loaded and tears of rage ready to run
    He was not stopped by a braggart’s leaden hot shot
    But by a hug from a teacher who’d seen a lot

    And you speak with the strength of a lock-jaw law
    The rules are to be obeyed is your old saw
    To drag from her desk the student on the phone
    With arms strong with law chiseled in stone

    In other class the teacher saw the student call
    He couldn’t put the phone away at all
    And the teacher heard understood and sighed
    For the night before his brother had died

  15. kayden says

    @Marshall #9

    “especially in inner city schools,”

    Why especially in inner city schools? Students fiddling with their phones would be a problem in any school. If Spring Valley High had such a big problem with phones, just make it a rule that students cannot bring them into the school in the first place. Calling the police to brutalize offending students is not the answer.

  16. Dark Jaguar says

    PZ, this is a situation where college and elementary school vastly differ. This situation is one that demanded nothing less than compassion, but as a general rule? Kids who don’t bother paying attention in class is one thing. However, then there’s the kid playing candy crush at very high volume, disrupting the entire class. Police are obviously stupid, but at a certain point you’ve got to be able to snatch away some kid’s phone if only to allow the rest of the class to get on with things. The worst are the kids that actively destroy things in the class room. There’s GOT to be a way to deal with that, considering they might actually be damaging something (like a computer network) that’s affecting everyone around them.

    Sometimes, the only solution is to physically stop someone from doing something bad, then expel them for a while. There’s some bad seeds out there, worse than I ever knew when I was in school, and all they seem to want is to watch the school burn to the ground. What’s to be done? A kid grieving over a dead relative is hardly even in the same category. One thing to be learned from it? You do need to analyse exactly what the situation is before acting.

    Also, when did the world change so much that taking away a cell phone, something no kid actually had when I was in skeul, was considering something terrible. I wasn’t allowed to bring the walked mans or the game’s boy, so why should they? I’m an old person who’s not hip with the times! I’m not even sure I agree with most of what I just said!

  17. A Masked Avenger says

    The difference is that the person in the OP was a teacher, and the person in the viral video was a cop. A cop has one hammer: the use of force. And when you only have a hammer, all the world looks like a nail.

    (Some might argue that, say, a social worker also has only one hammer, and they think they can solve every problem with therapy. Maybe so. But I know which one I think is the bigger problem: it’s a lot harder to be therapied to death than tasered/shot/choked/positionally asphyxiated to death.)

  18. Dark Jaguar says

    kayden, I’m with you there. The only issue is, kids break rules, and you know, disruptions need to be dealt with. Remember, every single teenager is convinced they are the first important person to ever exist and everything that happened before their advent was merely the prologue of THEIR story, so taking the time to go on some nonsensical “argument” about how cell phones are what define them and taking one away is tantamount to removing their still-beating heart (a conversation I’ve actually overheard, as did everyone in that particular hallway outside a classroom walled with concrete blocks) is their priority, and nothing else matters because this is “camera interview” time for their particular reality show.

    In summary: teenagers are horrible and I hated them when I was a teenager. Then again, I also completely skipped the rebellious phase of teenage life, so my experience is almost certainly completely inapplicable (and inexplicable) and I exist “outside” the world and shouldn’t meddle in its affairs.

    Second summary: Seriously, what the hell’s wrong with me?

  19. Dark Jaguar says

    Masked Avenger, I think you hit the nail on the head there.

    Pun.

    Also I think I completely agree.

  20. says

    Dark Jaguar:

    Sometimes, the only solution is to physically stop someone from doing something bad, then expel them for a while.

    That would be a suspension, and that’s hardly relevant to this situation.

    There’s some bad seeds out there, worse than I ever knew when I was in school, and all they seem to want is to watch the school burn to the ground. What’s to be done?

    Oh FFS. Spare everyone the “back in my day” nonsense. I started HS in 1971, and there were ‘bad seeds’ then, and always have been. One notable thing about the use of “bad seed” – that story, and the consequent movie were popular when I was young, and adults just loved to use the “bad seed” rhetoric as the big, bad bogeyman of the day. Most of it is just bullshit.

    A kid grieving over a dead relative is hardly even in the same category.

    Oh? How do you know? The girl who was sidelined by the cop had been recently orphaned, she lost a parent. You have no way of knowing how she was coping with her current situation, and her teacher certainly didn’t seem to be interested at all, nor was the school administrator. How do you know what’s going on with any student who is on a phone, or acting out? Calling in a cop to beat them up is hardly any sort of reasonable or sane solution.

    One thing to be learned from it? You do need to analyse exactly what the situation is before acting.

    I don’t think full bore analysis is needed most of the time. Thoughtfulness and compassion, those would be good things to employ. A sense of humour is almost always of good use.

    Also, when did the world change so much that taking away a cell phone, something no kid actually had when I was in skeul, was considering something terrible. I wasn’t allowed to bring the walked mans or the game’s boy, so why should they? I’m an old person who’s not hip with the times! I’m not even sure I agree with most of what I just said!

    Oh gods…I’m soon to be 58. There were no cellphones, no Walkmans, no Gameboys at all in my HS time. So fucking what? There were still teachers who were mean, sour assholes who delighted in confiscating transistor radios (even when not in use), and threw them away. These were the same teachers who would confiscate and trash items like any pen that had ink that wasn’t blue or black, crossword mags, any magazines, sunglasses, tape players, your fuckin’ PeeChee folders if they didn’t like the drawings on them, and the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on. Some adults just aren’t happy unless they are stomping on kids, making sure they are properly oppressed and utterly dispirited.

    Then you had the other teachers – the ones who were interesting, engaged, and weren’t afraid to be viewed as people, instead of this towering authority figure. Those teachers never had a problem, because the students respected them enough to not be fucking about in their class. These teachers also recognized when students were upset or had a case of terminal boredom going (that happens a lot, and people wonder why such “bright kids” are a nightmare in school.) I was one of those, and I’ll always be grateful to the teachers who recognized that, and provided me with challenges to engage my interest.

  21. A Masked Avenger says

    Oh FFS. Spare everyone the “back in my day” nonsense. I started HS in 1971, and there were ‘bad seeds’ then, and always have been.

    Seriously. In my town, an elementary school kid died by falling off a roof while he was high, in the late ’70s. I don’t know if there are any dope-smoking ten-year-olds in the town I live in now, forty years later, but I certainly haven’t seen obituaries for any.

  22. Trickster Goddess says

    Dark Jaguar:

    I also completely skipped the rebellious phase of teenage life…

    Second summary: Seriously, what the hell’s wrong with me?

    You skipped rebellious and went straight into reactionary?

    I’m 55 and when I hear my contemporaries start in on the “kids these days” nonsense, I want to slap them silly for not remembering that adults were saying the exact same stuff about us went we were teenagers. I point out that the only thing that has changed since then is that they have turned into the narrow minded adults that used to disgust them.

  23. F.O. says

    @A Masked Avenger: “anecdote, meet data”?
    Also, it’s utterly false that officers have only one hammer: they *should* be trained in de-escalation and dealing non-violently with people. Should.

  24. says

    F.O. @27:

    Also, it’s utterly false that officers have only one hammer: they *should* be trained in de-escalation and dealing non-violently with people. Should.

    Personally, given how far too many cops act in this country, I can see why people would think they have only one hammer. Yes, there are exceptions and cops that don’t resort immediately to the use of force, but there are too many that do.

  25. says

    So I got sent some email about this post from a persistent asshole named David Zeile…he’s a god-walloping, gun-loving dumbass who pesters me frequently. It was this image: So tell me more about how you would have done it differently than the officer on the scene…did you come to this conclusion based upon your training at Taco Bell or was it the fact that you’ve seen every episode of Southland?

    Condescending cop-worshipping fuckwit.

    To answer the question, no. It was because I’m an experienced teacher, have been teaching since the 1980s, and actually fucking know something about how to manage a classroom. And thug cops are no goddamn part of it. That policeman was in my territory, and I’ll listen to what he has to say about teaching on the day he respects my opinion about how he should react during a bank robbery.

    And Zeile, if you see this: FUCK OFF.

  26. says

    #9: especially in inner city schools.

    Oh, really? Do you have much experience with “inner city schools”? I taught at Temple U in North Philly. I worked with black & hispanic high school students on science fair projects, and visited some of those schools. What I learned is that those students are really easily motivated by opportunities to do better and move up in the world.

    The ones you have to worry about are the students who despair, who see no hope, and have given up on their own future. People who think they need a cop hovering over them or they’ll cause trouble are one of the reasons they might lose that hope.

  27. says

    A Masked Avenger

    The difference is that the person in the OP was a teacher, and the person in the viral video was a cop.

    A “teacher” called the cop in because he was apparently unable to deal with a girl using a mobile phone.

    +++
    As magistramarla said, good rules are flexible. And generally kids react well to having rules that meet their needs. Most college classes had a “no mobile phones” policy as well because everybody else has a right to getting an education there, something that’s hardly possible when folks are constantly engaging with their phones. I usually went to the instructor the first day of class and told them why I wouldn’t turn off or ignore my mobile: I have small kids in daycare and need to be available in case of emergency.
    Good teachers look to why an unwanted behaviour is happening and try to work on that. Or give some leeway. I remember that once in middle school one of my classmates fell asleep in class. He had worked all night to complete an important assignment. Our teacher told us to quitely grab our stuff ‘Cause we were going to a different room so he could catch a nap…

    I also think that safely confiscating an item is OK. Many schools here have such rules. IF a teacher catches you with your phone the phone is taken to the secretary, put into a bag with the student’s name on it, locked away and can be picked up at a specified time again. Interestingly it’S often the parents (the very same who don’t bother to install age appropriate filters on their kid’s phone) who freak out over this, not the students themselves who often have a sense of “fairness” as in “I willingly and knowingly broke the rule and this is the consequence, my own fault.”

    Dark Jaguar
    I hope you stay as far away from kids as possible

  28. Marshall says

    #18, #30: Okay, I made a mistake saying inner city schools. I’ve taught science (somewhat casually in a multi-week program) to middle schoolers at both private and public schools in Manhattan, and yes, the students at the private schools were generally better behaved, but I only had a small sample. I mostly was basing my comment off of what I’ve been exposed to growing up in movies and television, and in some reading–that children in poorer/impoverished environments are harder to “get through to” because of many different social, financial, and psychological factors at play. Obviously those aren’t factual mediums, so maybe this isn’t the case; I have always assumed it to be so, and I’m happy to hear from someone with more experience.

  29. hexidecima says

    the problem is that this is a rarity, that someone’s brother has died. If this boy was just wanting to chat with his friends, then this admittedly wonderful understanding teacher would simply be wrong. This story does strike me as the usual glurge that is ridiculed by many people with much justification, an idealized situation that may, or may not, have happened.

    If a child can’t shut down their cell phone, they should not be tackled, but they should also not be tolerated for being the brats they all too often are.

  30. mnb0 says

    “This is how it works.”
    Yeah, because all teens are the same and all cellphone situations also are the same.
    Or not.
    Disclaimer: I’m not defending that classroom cop.
    I just don’t like backseat drivers and when it comes to teaching difficult teens PZ is one – plus quite a few of his fans. I am not – I have been teaching teens (including kids from refugees) in a former war zone for 15 years now.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suriname_Guerrilla_War

  31. says

    I was a security guard for a while. I saw people de-escalate situations far worse than this. I once saw a young man, about 5’4″ and 140lbs de-escalate a situation that involved a guy who was over 6′, 300lbs, and holding a gun.

    It’s possible.

    Not only is it possible, if the kid had been white, it’s what would have happened.

    In fact, if you ask the cops who work in places like prisons, they’ll be the first to tell you about how de-escalation is by far the better solution. If they can do it under their circumstances, then this POS teacher and roid-raged cop should have been able to to do.

  32. says

    Giliell #30, FWIW the teacher called an administrator; the administrator called the cop. It’s not clear to me how responsible the teacher was for the arrival of the cop. Perhaps they knew what the administrator would do or even asked for the cop, but perhaps not.

  33. says

    I think PZ’s point is that teachers should take some time to assess the situation before making a decision on how to handle unruly kids. The problem, as we discovered in South Carolina, is that some teachers don’t do that. They see an unruly teen and go into overdrive and think ZERO TOLERANCE, CALL THE COPS.

  34. FlyingToaster says

    Most schools have policies on phones; at my daughter’s school, it’s “phone in your locker unless there’s a reason, and you have to tell your teacher(s) the reason”. One kid had to keep their phone on them for most of a quarter because his dad was in effing Afghanistan, and had no set schedule for phone or ‘net access; none of his teachers had a problem with it.

    Kids have major life problems just like adults; clearly the teacher had no clue what was going on, and made no effort to find out. For that, I will fault (him/her). A simple, quiet, “so why exactly do you need to be on the phone now?” would have gone a long way, instead of passing the buck to a bigger enchilada who called in the cavalry.

  35. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Dark Jaguar wrote:

    Also, when did the world change so much that taking away a cell phone, something no kid actually had when I was in skeul, was considering something terrible.

    A long time ago. Single income families are all but unheard of today. The forty hour workweek is dead and has been replaced with the sixty to eighty hour workweek. Kids often have school and extracurricular schedules so strict that coordination is necessary. So, yes, cell phones have become a necessary thing.

  36. smrnda says

    I will agree that college is different than earlier years. Yes, some kids could be causing distractions, or be distracted, but you *teach them* the benefits of leaving the phones along during class, not treat them like criminals.

  37. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop wrote:

    You sure about that? I’d think with the rise in single motherhood in the US over the last 50 years that there are a great many single income families today.

    Fair enough. I was thinking more about single income, dual parent households. The rise of single parent households doesn’t really detract from the point I was trying to make, though, since these parents typically suffer from this same lack of available time for face-to-face parenting.

  38. says

    hexadecima

    the problem is that this is a rarity, that someone’s brother has died. If this boy was just wanting to chat with his friends, then this admittedly wonderful understanding teacher would simply be wrong. This story does strike me as the usual glurge that is ridiculed by many people with much justification, an idealized situation that may, or may not, have happened.

    No, that’s actually not the problem. That’S actually somebody having some empathy and judging the siuation right. When the kid didn’t want to put away the phone she obviously noticed that he was distressed so she checked in on him. I’m pretty sure that if he’d just been bratty she would have reacted differently.

    Corey Yanofsky

    FWIW the teacher called an administrator; the administrator called the cop. It’s not clear to me how responsible the teacher was for the arrival of the cop. Perhaps they knew what the administrator would do or even asked for the cop, but perhaps not.

    So what? When the cop arrived in his classroom he didn’t say “Thanks, sir, but I don’t think we need you for this situation.” He allowed him into his classroom and allowed him to do as he pleased. When the cop assaulted the girl he simply stood by and allowed his student to be assaulted. When the cop threatened and arrested the second girl who was upset and distressed about the situation he allowed the cop to do so. At each and every point he failed his students.

    Flying Toaster

    Kids have major life problems just like adults; clearly the teacher had no clue what was going on, and made no effort to find out.

    This. If you’re a teacher, the best way to deal with problems is to find out why they’re happening. Because whatever the kid does is usually just a symptom of something else. because they’re kids, FFS, not smallish adults who just lack factual knowledge.

  39. carlie says

    the problem is that this is a rarity, that someone’s brother has died. If this boy was just wanting to chat with his friends, then this admittedly wonderful understanding teacher would simply be wrong.

    Wrong how? By giving them the leeway of asking what was going on? How is that “wrong”? More importantly, what would be the terrible consequence of being “wrong” in that manner? Worst case, kid says “nothing’s wrong, I’m just texting my friend”, and the teacher takes it from there with any of the dozen ways they learned in school and in teaching life to deal with a kid who’s not paying attention none of which involve calling a cop even if one is stationed in the building. Somehow that seems like less of a bad consequence than going the other direction, overreacting, and having a kid grabbed and dragged out of the room and the girl who filmed it being arrested.

  40. Saad says

    hexidecima, #34

    If this boy was just wanting to chat with his friends, then this admittedly wonderful understanding teacher would simply be wrong.

    That doesn’t make any sense.

    Without asking if something was wrong, the teacher wouldn’t have discovered that something was indeed wrong. She asked him if something was wrong. She didn’t assume something was definitely wrong.

  41. says

    hexidecima:

    the problem is that this is a rarity, that someone’s brother has died.

    You think that’s rare? I like your planet, where is it?

  42. says

    Giliell @ 45:

    So what? When the cop arrived in his classroom he didn’t say “Thanks, sir, but I don’t think we need you for this situation.” He allowed him into his classroom and allowed him to do as he pleased. When the cop assaulted the girl he simply stood by and allowed his student to be assaulted. When the cop threatened and arrested the second girl who was upset and distressed about the situation he allowed the cop to do so. At each and every point he failed his students.

    That teacher’s whole class witnessed how a kid on a phone was dealt with, too. There’s little hope that teacher will be able to ever earn the respect of that class or any future class. Teachers who make it clear that they don’t much care about their students aren’t going to get rooms full of students who will happily learn and pay attention. This was an example of using intimidation and fear tactics, rather than teaching at all.

  43. marcus says

    Kaintukee Bob @ 2 You are right of course. I didn’t mean to sound glib.
    Still, it is a necessary part of the job if you are in the position of teaching children. I think that even looking in that direction would have helped this situation immensely.

  44. carlie says

    Single income families are all but unheard of today.

    I was thinking more about single income, dual parent households.

    *Raises hand*

    Single income, dual parent household here, for the last 15 years.

  45. says

    It’s not rare for a student to experience a death in the family. It probably happens every semester for me — I’m teaching 60-100 students a term, and it would be statistically unlikely for none of them to experience a family tragedy over a 4-5 month period. And, sadly, we had a first year student killed just within the past two weeks.

    But even if a student were just calling up a friend to chat, I would not react by calling in a cop to beat them up. I can imagine a student being that disrespectful, but I cannot imagine a person trusted with the responsibility of managing a classroom dealing with that disrespect with violence. I would ask them to leave. If they were that uninterested in being there in the first place, they usually have no problem obeying that request.

    By the way, there’s another cell phone video of this incident. Would you believe that a fundie Christian thinks it exonerates the policeman?

  46. says

    PZ @ 53:

    From your link:

    Those who are celebrating are the same people who put Deputy Fields’ actions on trial by public opinion over the last few days,

    So interesting how these righteous Christian gun fondlers don’t have any problems at all trying a victim via trial by public opinion. They don’t even seem to be terribly aware they are doing it.

  47. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I hate to admit I’ve been frequenting (occasionally) FaceBook. This “event” has brought forth several floating memes, EG Problem is not police brutality but coddling kids to not behave, blah blah blah”. My first response comment was simple “bullshit”. excuse me for ranting here instead of there.
    Yes, it is better to teach kids to be polite, I try to do so as well as an example of preferred behavior.
    To claim that impolite behavior is the cause of violent reactions is [to be mild] inappropriate.
    So she was rude, even if she slapped him, look at his response. He picked her up, after knocking her over, then threw her across the room. To say she caused it, is *sputter*. All I can think of is victim blaming.
    When a bully beats up a little kid for bumping him in the hallway, is it really better to yell at the little kid for bumping into the bully, or to yell at the bully for beating up the little kid for a minor touch?
    Yes it is nice to teach kids to not bump into each other walking the hall, but to rationalize it because bullies exist is *pffft*.

    Thank you for reading my rant. I feel a little better know with that off my fingertips.

  48. Onamission5 says

    What I saw on the video: The cop put a teenager half his size into a headlock, picked her up by her neck, slammed her head first into the floor while still in her (heavy) desk, then two-handed chucked her– head first– down the aisle. Those are three separate physically violent actions during which the victim could have quite easily sustained life threatening injuries to her brain and/or spine. Because why?

    Because IMSHO way too many people view nothing short of total obedience on the part of those they consider inferior as “asking for it.” Because an emotionally vulnerable (strike one for inferiority) black (strike two) teenaged (strike three) girl (strike four) dared be something other than a 100% compliant, obedient doormat in the face of overtly authoritarian behavior.

  49. Amphiox says

    “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for
    authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place
    of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
    households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They
    contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties
    at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

    Attributed to Socrates (or sometimes Plato)

    Complaining about how things were better “in my day” is probably as old as language….

  50. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    A Masked Avenger #20:

    A cop has one hammer: the use of force. And when you only have a hammer, all the world looks like a nail.

    No, no, a thousand times no. Cops have a range of tools. At the far end is lethal force. The other end, the end that is far preferable, is just talking. A cop worthy of the profession should be able to use talking to solve the majority of challenges during the course of work. Unfortunately we seem to have too many cops who like to use the nasty end.

  51. says

    Corey @55:

    So accuracy — to have a worthwhile opinion about X, one has to avoid incorrect beliefs about X.

    You completely ignored the point she was making-it ultimately doesn’t matter *who* called the cop bc none of the two school employees said “sorry we called you, we don’t actually need you here for this”. To point out that it was actually the administrator, not the teacher, who called the cop just seems pedantic and doesn’t do much to change what happened: a cop was called and attacked a kid and the adults did nothing to prevent that.

  52. says

    Vatican Ops @59:

    No, no, a thousand times no. Cops have a range of tools. At the far end is lethal force. The other end, the end that is far preferable, is just talking. A cop worthy of the profession should be able to use talking to solve the majority of challenges during the course of work. Unfortunately we seem to have too many cops who like to use the nasty end.

    For one thing, I don’t believe that A Masked Avenger was saying that cops only have *lethal* force in their toolkit. They said “force”. And the problem is that so many cops have seemingly been trained to see danger lurking around every corner and to treat their job as if they’re fighting in a warzone against a deadly enemy (civilians) that force is the first tool brought to bear all too often. They may have a range of available tactics to use (and may or may not be trained in them-I wonder how much training in deescalation is given to cops), but they don’t seem to realize this. Which leads to the understandable belief (assumption, perhaps) that they only have one tool: force.

  53. AlexanderZ says

    PZ Myers #53
    I’ve ran into Mad World News and Christy Lee Parker several times before. They’re a often quoted in “black on white crime” circles. There is no police violence that she wouldn’t support. That place is like a mild mannered Stormfront.

  54. says

    Corey YAnofsky

    So accuracy — to have a worthwhile opinion about X, one has to avoid incorrect beliefs about X.

    Yeah, but only if that minute detail actually changes the situation. It doesn’t. The teacher allowed a police officer to deal with a peaceful but disturbed kid and to assault her.

  55. Bernard Bumner says

    Carlie @47:

    It is worth noting that 25% in the UK have some form of “police presence” – as I understand it, that usually means that a schools liaison office will regularly visit schools to offer security advice, engage with specific at-risk children, and to offer general early intervention/crime prevention programmes.

    I don’t think it means policing schools in the same sense as many US arrangements.

  56. Teh kiloGraeme says

    Carlie @#47

    I work in UK schools. Most that I have been into that have a police presence just have a PCSO, These are trained volunteers who only possess some police powers, and mostly are meant to help young people get used to cops. Some consider this insidious, but I’m not bothered by it. The PCSO at my current work spends most of his time explaining how police work differs from TV, and investigating bike thefts.

    —–

    On another note, I also have about 100 – 120 students per year, and I’ve not had a term yet where I haven’t had to deal with at least 1 student suffering a bereavement. That isn’t even considering the other (non-death related) issues that pop up in the course of standard life.

  57. says

    Corey Yanofsky @63:

    Tony: Pedantic? Guilty as charged. Sorry not sorry.

    It would have been lovely if, in the course of the above comment, or your prior one, you’d addressed the substance of what Giliell said, rather than focusing on something trivial. Is that where your priorities are?

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