Cry-Baby of the Week
Cry-Baby #1: Lumberton Independent School District
The incident: Some parents complained that their children’s teacher was transgender.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: The teacher was suspended.
Laura Jane Klug is a transgender woman who was recently hired by the Lumberton ISD School District in Texas as a substitute teacher. She was filling in as a teacher for a 5th grade class last Thursday when she found out that there had been complaints from the parents of some of her students about her being transgender.
The school responded to these complaints by suspending Laura, which was a legal for thing for them to do because Texas, a state located in a first world country, does not have laws to protect transgender people from workplace discrimination.
Roger Beard, whose son was in Laura’s class, said he complained because he felt that 11-year-olds were too young to understand the (fairly uncomplicated) concept of a trans woman. “There are some things that we accept in society that children are not going to accept in the same way that we do,” he told local news station 12 News. Adding, “I just don’t want them teaching, especially not this age group.”
Thankfully, other parents defended Laura. “My son knows who he is and I don’t think any outside influence is going to change that. I’m more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am someone who lives an alternative private lifestyle. I don’t worry about my son,” said Jammie Marcantel, whose son was in Laura’s class.
Speaking to 12 News, Laura said she had substituted before without incident and wasn’t sure why people were complaining now. “I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school,” she said.
According to another local news station, Laura will find out later today if she gets to keep her job.
See Cry-Baby #2 and Vote!
Cry-Baby of the Week
The incident: A girl took a razor from a kid who was self-harming.
The appropriate response: Congratulate her.
The actual response: She was suspended from school.
Adrionna Harris is a sixth-grade student at Bayside Middle School in Virginia Beach, VA.
While at school last Thursday, Adrionna found one of her friends self-harming with a very small razor blade (like the one pictured above, which I can’t figure out the practical application of).
According to her mother, no teachers were around, and Adrionna felt it was “a 911 situation,” so she took the blade from the boy and immediately threw it in the trash.
Adrionna then went to school staff and told them what had happened. They responded by giving her a ten-day suspension with recommendation for expulsion. This was as part of the school’s zero-tolerance policy on possessing weapons on school property.
The Department of Education spends money on devising new teacher evaluation methods, figuring out Race to the Top, and, it turns out, pistols and shotguns for its special agents.
In the last seven years, the Department of Education has spent more than $80,000 on pistols and $17,000 on Remington shotguns for its special agents, according to documents obtained by MuckRock, an organization dedicated to obtaining government documents.
Cry-Baby of the Week
The incident: A guy got fired from his job as a teacher because he turned up to work drunk.
The appropriate response: Accepting it.
The actual response: The teacher is suing the school.
Back in February, Erik Schock was working as a physical-education teacher at Chinook Middle School in Bellevue, Washington. Halfway through the school day, the assistant principal noticed that Erik smelled of alcohol, his eyes were bloodshot, and his speech was slow.
He was removed from the school and given a blood alcohol test, which found that his blood alcohol level would have been .15 when he arrived at school 7:30 AM—the legal limit for drivers is .08, which means, toxicology experts say, he would have been “suuuuuuper wasted” in front of his kids.
There was a hearing after the incident, during which Erik did not dispute that he’d been legally drunk while at work (he eventually admitted he had had nine beers the night before), and, unsurprisingly, he was fired.
Terry Lukens, the guy who conducted the hearing, noted that not only did Erik put his students in danger, he was also acting as a poor role model: “It is highly likely that students observed his high level of intoxication, slurred speech, and watery eyes.” Which was a pretty unnecessary thing for him to explain, because nobody on earth would argue that Erik deserved to keep his job.
Except Erik, that is.
SILENT BUT DEADLY: SCHOOL COPS ARREST STUDENTS FOR TALKING TOO LOUDLY, GRAFFITI, AND… FARTING
Fourteen-year old Kaleb Winston was wearing a “graffiti-patterned backpack” when the Salt Lake City police’s gang unit rounded him and more than a dozen other students up one December school day in 2010. The bi-racial freshman, who at the time held down jobs in the school cafeteria and as a basketball referee, was questioned and then photographed holding a sign reading: “My name is Kaleb Winston and I am a gang tagger.” Found guilty of nothing, the students’ personal information was nonetheless added to a “gang database.”
The National Rifle Association’s call to place armed police officers in schools nationwide in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre has been derided as “revolting, tone-deaf” (Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy) and even a “completely dumbass idea” (Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter). It is all of those things. But what most reports neglect to mention is the fact that armed police are already present in many schools.
"I agree that the NRA’s suggestion is absurd" says Aaron Kupchik, a University of Delaware sociologist whose 2010 book Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear examines the now-commonplace presence of armed police in schools nationwide. “The public is missing the point that we’ve already made schools more into police zones over the past 20 years.”
More than a third of American sheriffs’ departments and nearly half of all police departments have officers assigned to local schools, according to Department of Justice statistics from early last decade. Students today are arrested in school for offenses that include talking back to a police officer, doodling on a desk with an erasable marker, farting, and being an eight-year old throwing a temper tantrum. In other words: criminalizing childhood misbehavior.
In 2011, Southeastern Washington high school students were told to leave class so that a dog could smell their backpacks to see if they had drugs. This far-from-atypical search did not, according to the ACLU, uncover any dangerous drug dealers, nor was it based on any reasonable suspicion that students were using drugs: of two students singled out for a “more invasive search and questioning,” one had, apparently, a marijuana pipe; the other was drug-free. No other drugs were found. And even if they had been…Eviscerating fundamental civil liberties seems like a high price to pay in order to track down a pot-smoking teenager.