A Time for Dynamic Compassion in Our Schools By Dr. Michael Flanagan
During the last decade or so, there have been countless attacks on public education. Over-testing of our students, the implementation of Common Core, test-based teacher evaluations and the proliferation of charter schools are but a few of our challenges. All this is on top of the lives of poverty and violence too many of our children face. As if this is not enough, since the Presidential Election, our schools are now being inundated with outright in-your-face racism, bigotry and misogyny.
In the past, hate-filled attacks occurring in schools have generally been considered unacceptable. Administrative discipline on these matters reflected the social norms of tolerance and equality, achieved through generations of struggle. Demonstrations of these biased behaviors were considered abhorrent. Our schools and legal system increased penalties for proven bias attacks, sexual harassment and hate crimes, reinforcing for our children that it was wrong to be a bully. Now, as of November 9th, bullying and hate have free reign. Civility has been disregarded, and terror tactics in our schools have erupted.
New York Daily News writer Shaun King has been leading the charge in identifying incidents of bias throughout the country in the wake of the election. In addition to an increase of racism, there has also been a disturbing rise in the number of reported sexual assaults on female students. After a 10-year old boy was being disciplined for grabbing the genitals of a 10 year old girl, his defense was, “If the president can do it, why can’t I?”. That is what is happening in our schools right now. Glorified during the presidential campaign, these behaviors are now being demonstrated by our children.
Nazi graffiti. Emails targeting black students for lynching. Pulling hijabs off of young Muslim girls heads. Blocking Hispanic students from entering a school. Placing “White” and “Colored” signs above water fountains in school hallways. Middle school children screaming “Build the wall!”. Children telling classmates they will be Badass Teachers Association: