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Flatow reports: "A recent Department of Justice lawsuit that called the criminalization of school disciplinary offenses as minor as dress code violations so arbitrary and severe as to 'shock the conscience.'"

In Mississippi, staff at one school regularly handcuffed students to metal railings in the school gymnasium and left them there for hours if they were caught not wearing a belt, among other minor infractions. (photo: source unknown)
In Mississippi, staff at one school regularly handcuffed students to metal railings in the school gymnasium and left them there for hours if they were caught not wearing a belt, among other minor infractions. (photo: source unknown)

Mississippi Children Handcuffed in School for Not Wearing a Belt

By Nicole Flatow, ThinkProgress

19 January 13


recent Department of Justice lawsuit that called the criminalization of school disciplinary offenses as minor as dress code violations so arbitrary and severe as to "shock the conscience" publicized some of the most egregious punishment at Meridian, Mississippi's schools. But perpetuation of what is known as the school-to-prison pipeline is not limited to that one city or county, and it's nothing new, according to a new report by several civil rights organizations. Stories highlighted by the report reveal that school punishment in other Mississippi counties is as bad, if not worse, and exemplify the severity and scope of the problem:

In 2000, what began with a few students playfully throwing peanuts at one another on a school bus ended in five Black male high school students being arrested for felony assault, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. When one of the peanuts accidentally hit the white female bus driver, the bus driver immediately pulled over to call the police, who diverted the bus to the courthouse where the students were questioned.

The Sheriff commented to one newspaper, "[T]his time it was peanuts, but if we don't get a handle on it, the next time it could be bodies."

More recently, in 2009 in Southaven, DeSoto County, armed police officers responded to an argument between three students on a school bus by reportedly arresting a half dozen Black students, choking and tackling one Black female student, and threatening to shoot the other students on the bus between their eyes.

In 2010, in Jackson Public School District, until a lawsuit was filed, staff at one school regularly handcuffed students to metal railings in the school gymnasium and left them there for hours if they were caught not wearing a belt, among other minor infractions. For example, one 14-year-old boy was reportedly handcuffed to the railing when he wore a stocking cap to class, threw his papers on the ground, and refused to do his school work.

Mississippi is among 19 states that still permit paddling in school, and has the highest percentage of students beaten by educators. Severe over-punishment is imposed in a discriminatory and arbitrary manner, with three times as many black students receiving out-of-school suspensions as white students.

In Meridian, Miss., the problem of criminalizing school infractions is perpetuated by a policy of school officials calling police to discipline students. This raises serious concerns about the push to place more officers in schools in the wake of the Newtown, Ct. mass shooting, as putting more armed guards in schools has already been linked to an uptick in arrests.

A juvenile judge in Georgia testified about this phenomenon during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing:

When I took the bench in 1999, I was shocked to find that approximately one-third of the cases in my courtroom were school-related, of which most were low risk misdemeanor offenses. Upon reviewing our data, the increase in school arrests did not begin until after police were placed on our middle and high school campuses in 1996—well before the horrific shootings at Columbine High School. The year before campus police, my court received only 49 school referrals. By 2004, the referrals increased over 1,000 percent to 1,400 referrals, of which 92% were misdemeanors mostly involving school fights, disorderly conduct, and disrupting public school.

Despite the many arrests, school safety did not improve. The number of serious weapons brought to campus increased during this period of police arrests including guns, knives, box cutter knives, and straight edge razors. Of equal concern was the decrease in the graduation rates during this same period—it reached an all-time low in 2003 of 58%. It should come to no one’s surprise that the more students we arrested, suspended, and expelled from our school system, the juvenile crime rate in the community significantly increased. These kids lost one of the greatest protective buffers against delinquency—school connectedness. your social media marketing partner


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+169 # Barbara K 2013-01-19 09:49
Tell me how this is not child abuse? We are becoming more Taliban-like daily by these rightwingers, and that should concern all the rest of us.

+51 # WestWinds 2013-01-19 13:11
The whole emphasis is on force. We are going backwards to slavery instead of forward to a meritocracy. Under slavery you are a hostage and forced by force to do and be for someone else's benefit. Under a meritocracy, you strive to better yourself on all fronts to achieve a better life. All of this force does not make better people nor a better society. In fact, it creates just the opposite but for whatever reason, people prefer to hit than reason.
+124 # bobby t. 2013-01-19 10:31
what happened to positive reinforcements?
In the early seventies two thousand white teachers were assigned to teach in all black schools in the Miami Florida public schools. I was one of them. I was given the toughest class in the school, a sixth grade class with 38 students. I had to paddle two boys the second day.Yes, Miami once had paddling too. The third day I told the kids that I hated having to do that, and I would like to try something they had never seen, rewards for excellent work and excellent behavior.
I put them into groups and we had a competition each week. The winners got a "party" outside the room under a tree (so I could watch them) with games and candy for the last hour on Friday. It worked so well that the black principal thought that I was beating the hell out of them every day.(I told her I wasn't, but she didn't believe me.)
I am finishing a book about my techniques and anyone, teacher or parent or college professor, in Mississippi, or anywhere else can get it for free by emailing me at (over forty pages on behavior management, with a simple way to bring kids to literacy in ten hours.)If you are a beginning teacher, this is what the methods teachers don't know! No ivory tower stuff here lads and lassies. Just stuff that works like a charm with really rough kids, and good ones too. If you want it, better do it fast. I am on my way outahere!(Origi nally from Brooklyn New york.)
+15 # FactsFirst 2013-01-19 11:30
The research by Education Week Magazine reveals that sexual abuse by staff on children in public schools is 100 times greater than that by priests.
-21 # Reyn 2013-01-19 13:27
So a quick look at the article tells me immediately that its mostly propaganda. We have more important things to worry about than whether or not people who can legally have sex with other people (which is what a LOT of the articles (there are more than one link within the page) have sex with them. If anything, the age of consent is too high in many states, not too low. 16 works well. Now, questions of sexual harassment and abuse are different. There are laws in place, see them enforced. However, consensual sex between people who are legally allowed to have sex should not be considered abuse, sorry.

Of course the argument itself is based in apologetics for RC priests - I know, I also spent some time also looking at the places that quoted the supposed study (which doesn't have anywhere near the guaranteed accuracy it should have to be treated as a study). Newsmax? lifesite? Lots of other Right wing and extremist fundamentalist and conservative Catholic sites.... I think maybe your facts are lacking factsfirst.
+11 # NAVYVET 2013-01-19 15:38
As a former 3rd grade teacher in a very poor, rundown school, I SERIOUS DOUBT the truth of that. Statistics often lie for propaganda reasons. This sounds like something from Faux "News".
+19 # Glen 2013-01-19 12:40
Skinner was also very much into positive reward psychology, which was adopted by schools, yes. Eventually, some schools, such as mine, realized that there needed to be discipline as much as rewards. Eventually, kids used that system to their own benefit without learning respect and decent behavior, then they would not perform or behave UNLESS they were rewarded.

There are two ways to approach kids, the first should always be with respect and support followed by expectations of decent behavior. The two method system of rewards and discipline works - even with the toughest kids who rarely get respect.

I witnessed the evolution of all types of kids from various neighborhoods going from great to spoiled or abused, over the years, and it was often impossible to tell the difference between the two because the spoiled were crying out for assistance as much as the abused - for different reasons.
+39 # WestWinds 2013-01-19 13:18
Several years ago, I saw a documentary about a Black female principal who took a ghetto school and had the students blowing the tops off of test scores with positive reinforcement. The documentary followed her around through her day, asking questions and filming results; it was astounding what she was accomplishing. Did the government take this and use it as a model for other schools? Did the government make copies and distribute it to schools? Were her techniques implemented or even tried? In a word, "No." Instead, her whole success story was deep-sixed and in its place we have beatings; the lowest rung on the learning ladder. There are sick people running this country; when do the rest of us wake up?
+28 # NAVYVET 2013-01-19 16:59
Amen! The secret of inviting restless kids to grow up is to give them something important to do! I asked my 3rd grade kids to write their own school play--then dictate it to me--and almost all of them contributed to the script of "Thor's Hammer", a myth that they'd enjoyed. I deliberately assigned the biggest behavior & learning problem in class the lead role, Loki (the god of misbehavior), and since he had the longest and hardest part to memorize it kept him busy and away from mischief for weeks. He gave a bravura performance, raised his esteem in the eyes of fellow pupils, thrilled his poor, immigrant parents, and the last I heard he was in college. NOT in jail. I also taught the kids the elements of metaphor and simile, gave them lessons in cubism and abstract art, had them write poetry each day, with art periods twice a week--and every semester ALL the kids contributed wonderful poetry, essays, fiction and artwork to a collection I typed, hectographed on a primitive copier, & stapled. They were proud, they took them home, and I kept every one of their "literary digests". If you need proof that troublemaking kids can turn out to be geniuses, just look at the Beatles. Robotized humans never create anything--or if they do, they've ceased being robots and started to be humans!
+12 # soularddave 2013-01-19 23:33
I had the honor to work in a public school under an amazing principal. The motto for staff was this: "Raise the praise and minimize the criticize".

Guess what; it works, and creates an atmosphere where students STRIVE in everything they do. Teachers get positive results AND positive feedback from students.
+67 # swimdoc 2013-01-19 10:36
At least the statistics were collected - showing that these police actions in schools did NOT make the schools or communities safer.

The citizens of Mississippi may not learn from this, but the rest of us should.
+51 # suzyskier 2013-01-19 10:37
Some of this should I dare say it, appears to be racially motivated. It also seems midevil.
+16 # NAVYVET 2013-01-19 17:02
I'm a Medievalist by education. I can assure you that Medieval urban schools, many of which were co-ed, treated kids more respectfully. Beatings and imprisonment rarely happened. They were Dark Ages stuff, exactly what I (who grew up in the south) would expect from the inheritors of Confederate myths and falsehoods.
+74 # wwway 2013-01-19 10:40
Mississippi has the highest gun ownership the name of God.
The Christian Taliban seeks to serve, folks. Take a look at your future. Do you like it?
+48 # linkedout 2013-01-19 10:53
I'm sure it goes without saying that there's a huge racial component to this. I've got five bucks that says at least 95% of the kids arrested are black.

Any takers?
+39 # maddave 2013-01-19 10:56
This deplorable situation reflects a complex situation dating back to the old Jim Crow days --- which neither black nor white races in Mississippi (and elsewhere) have managed to overcome. come. Although cosmetic palliatives have been applied across the "solid south", a true dissolution of the the still-existing division between the two cultures will persist until such time as both white and blacks abandon their obsolete, stereotypical "master" vs "slave" mentality.

In this State which is dead last in per capita income, healing will happen only after all concerned focus and direct their energy toward understanding and accepting the fact that "humanity" trumps "race" - that this is no longer 1953.
+41 # Patriot 2013-01-19 11:04
The next person who sanctimoniously tells me that our children are our most precious resource...migh t very well be punched in the kisser!

What a piece of news this is!

When I was in the 3rd grade, the parents of my class got a teacher fired because she would not let us leave our classroom to go to the bathroom, forcing several of us to wet our pants right where we sat.

In the third grade, our parents had a teacher fired who picked on one boy every day, including bashing him on the knuckles with a ruler repeatedly -- every day.

Where are the parents of these children? What on earth do their boards of education intend to accomplish?

How disgusting. How disappointing.

I repeat, please don't say in my presence that children are our most important resource. We NEVER act like it!
+40 # WestWinds 2013-01-19 13:28
The Europeans do a better job of raising kids than Americans; we have too many other agendas like religion and macho nonsense. I was in Scandinavia several times and witnessed kids more mature than their years who were happily engaged in chores and the rest of the daily routine. I was stunned when a 4 year old put away her toys, went to the kitchen to peel potatoes, put them in water in a pot so when the mother came in all was ready for the Mom to start cooking. There was no trauma drama; the child was happy and content. I never saw any kind of corporal punishment while there, but I did see a lot of kids who were happy, well adjusted and industrious. We just don't know how to properly raise kids. We need Super Nanny to guide the way.
+13 # NAVYVET 2013-01-19 17:06
We just need to embrace Humanism and ditch "True Belivership" that's ordered by some Fuhrer, whether preacher or pope or fanatical Atheist. Kindness wins hearts. Violence alienates them.
+9 # X Dane 2013-01-20 14:51
west winds.
On behalf of Scandinavians, THANK YOU.
Also, I agree. We knew that we were part of a family and were expected to do our part, according to our age. And we knew we were loved
+15 # independentmind 2013-01-19 17:03
You are right - parents today do not know how to advocate for their children. Many of them have no clue how to work within or from without the system to get the things that their children need.

We need to start an organization that will help parents learn how to advocate and teach them how important that is. For disabled kids under IDEA we have a Parent Mentor for our county, but it is the regular ed kids and especially those that are struggling, that need our help. The schools do well with the overachievers and the handicapped, but fail to address the needs of the kids that will not go to college. Most of their parents are clueless and disinterested in their children's education and those that may be interested lack the skill sets to advocate effectively.

A grassroots organization to help these parents is sorely needed.
+6 # Patriot 2013-01-20 00:02
There is such an irganization, but we do not hear that they make much difference these days. Someone, PLEASE, tell me I am mistaken!

The oranization is the PTA.

It was the parents of the PTA of Fort Campbell, Kentucky -- that's right, servicemen and their wives -- who got those unacceptble teachers fired. They actually listened to us when we told them at home what had happened during our school days. When they met at PTA meeings, they realized that all of us were telling the same stories at hom and they began an investigtion, and, eventually, insisted on the firing of those two teachers.

That's how it's done, folks. Just like that.

It's not about prmoting your own ego by insisting on promoting your child's so-called self-esteem at the cost of insistig that he learn to write in good English grammar, spell correctly, and learn to add and subtract. It's about setting standards, for students AND for teachers, and insisting that both children and teachers meet those standards.

As with government, we are in charge of the ppublic schools, or should be -- but nowadays think we have better things to do.

When did you last attendo a PTA meeting? Does your child's school HAVE a PTA?


What are you going to do about it?
+17 # brenda 2013-01-19 11:06
I know from my son's experience of going to a high school. He observed drug deals, students who were extorting other students for their cash, gangland dress with "Gang's colors" and gangland beat-downs was another problem.
+30 # FactsFirst 2013-01-19 11:09
No wonder kids release their anger on schools. One of the factors is the school environment in which our children a raised.

This was true at Columbine, too. Read "No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine" by Brooks Brown. It started with abuse.
+37 # Larry 2013-01-19 11:18
Most people are unaware that Eugenics and Phrenology; the racist, pseudo-scientif ic basis for Hitler's claim that "Aryan Supremacy" entitled the German People to rule the world, did not originate in Germany or Austria, but rather right here in the good 'ol US of A.

This fascist mistreatment of school children makes it painfully obvious that not only could "it" happen here; if decent people remain silent and docile, it most certainly will.
+45 # Muzzi 2013-01-19 11:21
And these people send the "whack jobs" to Congress to screw up the laws for this nation.
+12 # WestWinds 2013-01-19 13:31
They used to claim, "and the South shall rise again." A Tea Party person said this to me and I replied, "I thought it already had since we now have more southern politicians in Congress than ever before."
-15 # David Macko 2013-01-19 11:26
Similar atrocities are also being committed against White children at government schools throughout America. We are all becoming victims of a growing police state, whether misruled by Republicans or Democrats. Listen to Alex Jones at to get the truth and vote Libertarian to restore our vanishing liberties.

For life, liberty and peace,
David Macko
+34 # DaveM 2013-01-19 11:35
If we treat our young people as prisoners, how can we expect them to behave when they mature? This is a terrible experiment in social condition which will, I fear reap terrible results.

For some reason I keep thinking of Abraham Maslow's axion: "if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail". In this case hammers are beating people into hammers.

Someday there will be a shooting in one of these schools and the shooter will be acting in self-defense. Think about that.

Bobby T--you have an excellent point and I thank you for sharing. Are you familiar with the work of John Taylor Gatto? His writings have much to offer about the difference between "schooling" and "education", and it's all from his direct experience, in some cases from some of the toughest schools in New York.
+52 # Rich Austin 2013-01-19 12:09
Mississippi has been at the bottom of the heap for decades.

When there were 48 states it ranked 48th in poverty.

Then Alaska received statehood and Mississippi dropped to 49th.

After Hawaii became our 50th state Mississippi fell to the bottom again.

Sadly, some good folks in Mississippi get outvoted by lowlifes, and racists like Trent Lott and Haley Barbour are elected. The end result is that the rich in Mississippi get richer while the working class remains impoverished.

And kids get abused.

Mississippi is the GOP’s test tube. Republicans found that their brand of governance worked there and now they want to take it nationwide.
+18 # WestWinds 2013-01-19 13:34
So why do we keep accepting, tolerating and embracing it?
+47 # corallady 2013-01-19 12:20
America has gone down the Rabbit Hole. How pathetic have we become when our children are punished for such petty things as not wearing a belt and our real criminals--thos e who commit war crimes or take us into wars of choice by lying to us, those who all but destroy our economy in shady deals, those of our elected officials who are supposed to represent us but would hold our country hostage just to get their own way-- go absolutely scot-free? Yes, let's punish our children for tiny misdemeanors so that they will grow up angry and be the punishers of tomorrow? How have we come to such an upside-down, perverted view of "justice"?
+35 # D Duran 2013-01-19 12:23
"But perpetuation of what is known as the school-to-priso n pipeline is not limited to that one city or county, and it's nothing new,..."

I would love to see a study of the school-to-priso n pipeline in states with privatised prison systems versus states with not-for-profit, governmental prison systems. Something tells me there is more than a correlation there.
-54 # Depressionborn 2013-01-19 12:26
Seventy years ago there was only one school rule, "mind the teach". Otherwise dad would get a call. Now, dad is gone; the RSN welfare state is in charge. It won't work out very well. Never has.
+16 # NAVYVET 2013-01-19 17:24
Nonsense. I am 77, and we were just as unruly and wild as kids always are. I invented a neighborhood after-school game we all played, called "Stealing Tires"--invisib le tires off invisible cars, selling them to invisible hoods in a visible black market building (my dad's garage). Pretend-felonio us, but we thought it was fun. My dad was the terror of his rural southern Iowa neighborhood, leading a gang that regularly tipped over the privy and shot up the harvested pumpkins of a farmer who yelled at kids--then beating up the male 1-room-schoolho use teacher and running away from home at age 13 (in 1912) to work on the railroad, as a cowboy and as a migrant laborer in the wheatfields. He learned a lot about the world, including how to behave. My husband was caught at age 12 on the 4th of July, shoving cherry bombs into the town cannon, apprehended by a policeman but not arrested. We all grew up to be fine, caring, citizens, all college grads even if my dad gad to get in by G.E.D. We;re real Americans, the kind of people who've preferred Huckleberry Finn to Robby the Robot.
+12 # ghostperson 2013-01-19 19:09
The Golden Rule does not call for a welfare state. Neither does RNS. Labeling progressives and calling for welfare for all is ignorant.

The least among us, the elderly, the truly infirm, helpless children are entitled to consideration by our citizenry because there for the grace of God go us all.

The milk of human kindness is not communism. It is not socialism, it is the Christian spirit. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I have no patience for those who yell "Keep government hands off my Medicare," displaying self-evident ignorance about the program, while condemning others who receive Social Security and Medicare.

When confronted about their hypocrisy, these paragons of rectitude say, "Well, I paid into it." I am entitled to it having no apparent appreciation for the fact that others are making those same remarks about them
+22 # cordleycoit 2013-01-19 12:32
Sounds to me like them good old boys haven't heard about the Civil Rights Bill. Too bad the justice Department is doing catch and release on gun traffickers and crooked bankers. That's Old Miss for you.
+15 # reiverpacific 2013-01-19 12:42
Sounds like the Southern Corrections mentality is being transmitted to the schools.
Id' hate to be in jail, or convicted there -I've seen it up close- and remember Troy Anthony Davis' lynching in Georgia?
Wonder when they'll bring back the workhouse and/or treadmill -and not the exercise type either.
+4 # Patriot 2013-01-20 00:06
Surprise! Montogmery County, Tennessee, created a Workhouse about 12 years ago. The citizens of the county never even lifted an eyebrow. That is why I no onger live there.
+24 # jwb110 2013-01-19 12:47
In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Big Daddy tells the family, "This house reeks of mendacity." And so does Mississippi.
+13 # bobby t. 2013-01-19 13:30
Thanks Dave. I will check out any books by John Taylor Gatto. Sounds like my kinda guy. By the way, love the Abe Maslow quote. Dr. Maslow taught at my alma mater, Brooklyn College. What are our basic needs? Air, water,food, sex (first before love as befits our survival of the species urge) then love, and self realization. (the army be the best you can be comes from Maslow)
So as per your quote, we need to change the paradim. Or the "framing," of the entire society, as per another great, Eric Fromm, to a Sane Society.
The fact that homo sapians are yin yang, rational and irrational at the same time, as one person described David Brooks in another RSN today, means that we may need to evolve to a higher order of our species to achieve this. I do not believe we will reach that goal.
+17 # bobby t. 2013-01-19 13:39
And Dave, there is that famous line from Wordsworth, "The shades of the school house decend upon the child." School is a prison for too many of our children. The teachers have behavior modification backwards: should be 80 percent encouragement, 10 percent negative reinforcement, and 10 percent of behavior must be ignored.. For most teachers the reverse is true. Children only learn from teachers they love and who are fair and have control of their technique.
+12 # David Starr 2013-01-19 14:07
Why am I not surprised it happened in "Ol'Miss," one of the promoters of a "downhome" Victorian era/capital punishment legacy?
+11 # nancyw 2013-01-19 14:12
Mississippi is a fearsome state of mind and soul. It has that low reputation and it keeps supporting it. Of all the states, it and Alabama are two I would experience a great deal of fear going to. Actually the entire south. What a shame that so many are still living in hate and racist beliefs that keep this country backwards. They want to leave the union? It wouldn't be good for them at all... The north has more resources and they benefit from them... if they would only use them for the good.
+9 # ASHBROOKGUY 2013-01-19 14:33
I was always noted, by teachers, as "different", and was picked on, relentlessly, by 80% of the students and classmates, from private kindegarten @ 1st Presbyterian, in Gulfport, to Anniston Ave Elementary, St. John 6th & 7th grade, and back to public school @ Central Jr. High, and then Gulfport High, class of '84, of which the abuse became so great that I would not attend school regularly, and finally dropped out just months before I was suppose to graduate, as I was abused by students, as well as the staff.
Anniston was a nightmare, with a horrible, witch like looking principal, Laverne Thronton, of whom loved to paddle, not talk, to find out what the root of the problems were. St John elementary did not paddle, but the teacher did have a regular habit of hitting me on the head with books! Lanny Acosta, at St John High, well, he was a lover of the paddle, and even paddled me a few times, stating that since I was not Catholic, I needed extra licks. Then I moved in with my grandmother and went to Central Jr High, where the abuse was worse than any other school, by the students, as well as Paul Pounds, the principal, of whom also was a deacon @ 1st Baptist Church, where I was also abused by his son, Pepper Pounds. Paul would beat me til I was screaming, and not stop, even when I reported to a teacher that a, now in federal prison for murder, student had taken his finger to my topsiders, twisted the fixed leather string on the side, and I was sent to the office for licks!
+12 # bobby t. 2013-01-19 14:33
And Barbara, it is child abuse. They are the most disenfranchised people in America. Children should be able to vote as soon as they prove they can read. John Holt at Harvard also agrees with me. As usual Barbara, your instinctive common sense is on the button. Of course most people would think I am nuts for suggesting kids should be able to vote. Last time I looked, they were humans, or maybe not....
+12 # bobby t. 2013-01-19 14:36
Think about this. There are so many things that impact kids and they can't do anything about it at the voting booths. But let them murder some one and they are tried as adults aren't they? A little food for thought from an old and tired teacher.
+2 # Susan1989 2013-01-19 15:15
It is impossible for teachers to teach in schools where students are out of control. It is easy to criticize schools and teachers, but they are not magicians that can transform surly, disrespectful, and sometimes criminal young people into compliant learners. I was a teacher during the 60s and 70s and there were serious consequences for misbehavior...d etention, suspension, and expulsion. It is impossible for teachers to teach when students will not be quiet and listen. Our schools have become insane aslyums where the patients are running the sho. In invite anyone who feels sorry for students who wreak havoc in our schools to spend a week in a public school..and you will fully change your mind.
+7 # Patriot 2013-01-20 00:15
I concur. My husband taught at a disciplinary (an alternative) school in the mid-'80s. The parents of the children were not, as one might suppose, the very poor, the shiftless and lazy: They drove Cadillacs and BMWs and wore Brooks Brothers suits and minks to pick up their chldren, who stayed up past midnight, often held part-time after-school jobs, and ate most of their melas at school -- meaning that they were not fed at home. The fault was not the teachers in that county, it was the parents. The childen knew their parents did not know or care what went on at school.

You ARE a PTA member, aren't you?
+17 # Rich Austin 2013-01-19 16:30
Susan 1989 –

With that mindset it’s good that you’re no longer a teacher.

Kids mimic. They are copycats. They see, observe, and do.

They see crooked politicians up and down the food chain. They hear how criminal CEOs steal our money, and then watch TV pundits alibi for them.

They listen to platitudes about children “being our most important resource”, then watch as school bonds get voted down, while fortunes are squandered on drones, wars, and tax subsidies for the uber-rich. And they understand! They understand it is all a shell game. The prize really doesn’t go to the honest and true, it is awarded to connivers and rats and liars.

“Ah ha”, they exclaim, “So that’s the way things work, ‘eh?” And off they go on their tangents, and worse.

Mom and Dad? Both are busy working to put food on the table. They arrive home exhausted and find their latchkey kids watching TV, or out in the street, instead of studying.

It’s the economy! Multi-millionai res and billionaires control America and we’re letting them get away with it, to the detriment of this and future generations. Rather than peaceful protest and general strikes against corporate control of “our” government, some find it a whole lot easier to blame our youth for being copycats.

It’s time to skin the fat cats.

The first step is convicting and sentencing Wall Street banksters to the old gray bar hotel for the crimes against humanity they commit minute.
+4 # Patriot 2013-01-20 00:24
Rich Austin, you hold everything and everyone BUT partents responsible. Many of my generation grew up with two working parents, but we had instructions to come strainght home from school, change our clothes, and do our homework, and we pretty well did so, because our folks seemed to koew practically every breath we took. (The parents' network of those days was awesome and infallible.)

We've had poor economies before, but they never have and never will excuse parents -- and other, non-parent taxpayers -- who take no interest in either our children or our public schools.

Folks, there is only one operative word here: RESPONSIBILITY. It is our RESPONSIBILITY as adults to raise, educate, and train each generation of our children to become competent, RESPONSIBLE citizens in their turn, which means reasonably well-educated, self-respecting adults of decent character.

We should each ask ourselves, What have I done today to help grow a child into a good citizen? Neither the economy nor the office-holders at any level can do a zillionth of the good -- or evil -- that we can, first-hand, in person.
+16 # independentmind 2013-01-19 16:53
This ties in with the story aired on Television recently about the for profit prisons in Mississippi, where people were given max sentences and sent to these prisons - the profit of the prisons go to the Sheriffs departments to pay for whatever they need, so a lot of people get arrested and jailed for ridiculous reasons. The juveniles arrested at school go into that pipeline too. Moral of the story - don't live or get arrested in Mississippi.
+12 # ghostperson 2013-01-19 18:56
We have an "izing" problem in this country.

We criminalize too much. Wouldn't you rather be hit by a driver who had three hits of weed vs. 3 drinks. The former goes slow; the latter goes fast.

We profitize too much.

Who on earth thinks education should be profitized so that it is only available to the "resourced?" Why has the most sacrosanct element of human existence, one's health, become a center of profit for third parties who keep records on us and give them to others without our consent (Medical Information Bureau.)

We criticize too much.

Bush and Cheney were criticized for what they actually did wrong, which is appropriate. Obama and his wife are criticized for their color although the complaints are stated in other ways to provide plausible deniability to bigots.

Michelle's butt is too big. Obama, the Black man, is the racist not the virulent racists who make the claim.

I stumbled over the Shine from Yahoo website and was stunned by the seething hatred aimed at the first lady.

We have lost our moorings as a society and I wonder if there is a way back from the edge we are on.
+8 # 4yourinformation 2013-01-19 20:04 a form of tyranny. Wake UP!
+11 # get real 2013-01-19 20:18
In my opinion we have far more to fear from our Southern states than foreign terrorist. The government keeps a keen eye on foreign intelligence. Ignorance is a cruel thing that encapsulates the Southern States, and they continue to elect those who are determined to keep them in the dark ages. The Southern states use more welfare than the other states yet bites the hand that feeds them. Since their text books (thanks to Texas) keeps them ignorant someone should tell them....the Civil War ended almost 150 years ago!
+3 # Patriot 2013-01-20 00:28
The problems this country faces are not limited ot the Southern States of our Union, any more than working parents are responsible for the condition of our children. We have left governing to the elect, instead of feeding them a steady stream of our instructions and ousting them when they don't listen. We have the government we deserve.

We all have more important things to do than pay attention and send our advice, suggestions, and instructions: The elected and appointed WORK FOR US!!
+7 # Glen 2013-01-20 08:59
Two things here, get real:

The fact that The Civil War is alive in the psychology of old time southerners is the perfect argument for the U.S. to temper its attacks on countries and its hate campaign against Muslims in general. Witness Europe. Those countries worked very hard to end wars between them due to the devastating trauma. The Civil War was unbelievably deadly and destructive and then the winners rubbed it in their faces.

Second issue is that schools all over this country, not just in the south, are becoming more brutal with students for various reasons, and are being privatized with little oversight, and are experimenting with alternate methods of discipline.

American society is crumbling, and kids are always the first to suffer for a dying society.
+6 # bobby t. 2013-01-20 10:34
American society is crumbling, and kids are always the first to suffer for a dying society.
Yes, witness the history or Greece where if you lost during gambling, you could sell your child into slavery to a Roman, or another Greek. And remember, until Darrow and the case against child labor, we had six year olds in the coal mines getting their legs crippled when they tried to separate the coal from the shale.
+6 # Glen 2013-01-20 14:52
Oh, the lessons throughout history are there to learn, but most Americans aren't even aware of their own history much less that of the world at large.

Ever read Margaret Meade's studies? Children are harbingers of disaster, just as amphibians are harbingers of environmental disaster.
+5 # corey 2013-01-20 19:33
what happens when in a 'stand your ground law' state, a kids shoots a teacher because he is afraid if him? will the other students start shooting then all the armed teachers come out and start shooting.....lo oks like the good ole wild wild west to me, which is NOT what America was meant to be....
-1 # Mrcead 2013-01-22 04:21
Not to be crass or insensitive to the issue but "hard punishement" or the threat of it only works on suburban people who live in a bubble of filtered living. A school official or armed police officer is no where as big of a threat as the next door neighbour who is also either a drug dealer or gangbanger.

Something to think about.

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