by thea marie
What's on my mind....
Child Brings Cocaine to Second-Grade Class
It happened in Philadelphia, but it could have happened anywhere in any classroom in any city in the nation. The thing that stands out for me is what would have happened if the teacher hadn't been alert enough to notice what was going on? How many children would have fallen ill? Would any one of them have ingested too much and overdosed, perhaps suffering permanent physical harm or maybe even death? In those latter instances, the teacher would have been faulted for NOT noticing what was going on and most likely would have been made the scapegoat in it all. I'm sure that her training did not include and her degree does not say anything about drug detection and interception at the elementary level.
The article doesn't state that the child knew what it was that she was distributing. It does say that authorities are considering what punishment should be meted out to her, which leads me to believe that she had an idea. Whatever the case, she is seven years old. Somebody else bears a greater responsibility in this, even if the kid did know that it was cocaine. That fact that she has that kind of knowledge is in itself a crime for which some adult, or at least older person, needs to be held accountable.
Schools are now down to working with only blunt scissors, plastic protractors in classrooms, more than half light for movies and overheads(darkness invites trouble of all kinds), metal detectors,and clear book bags. Teachers are told to be on alert for clothing or signals that denote gang activity. They also have to be on the lookout for bullies and bullying behavior, and intervene in that. Little girls have been pulled into bathrooms or blind corners by little boys to be fondled, in a couple of cases raped, for fun. Students are verbally and physically assaulting teachers.
Then there are the teachers who are brought up on charges of having sex with students. That seems to be happening with increasing frequency. The most recent case that comes to mind involves a fifth grade teacher and an eleven year old student.
Kids come to school hungry, angry, drug addicted, confused. Last year one of my seventh graders was sleeping every morning in class. When I reported it- several times- and an investigation was finally conducted, it was found that she was on meth and she was pregnant. She was twelve; the father was twenty-one. All of the boundaries that once kept things a bit tidier are becoming more and more blurred.
The president demands, "No Child Left Behind". I say you can't save everyone. The odds are stacked too high against it. To try is gallant, and I'm all for the sentiment, but I'm afraid that to succeed at it would take a miracle. There are too many mitigating circumstances and not all of them have to do with what happens inside school. In fact, most of them don't. They start elsewhere and then creep into the halls and classrooms with the kids and some of the adults.
I have to say that I am happy to be closer to the end of my teaching career. For me, it won't be long before it's over, and I can go home. I don't like where it seems schools are headed, and quite frankly, I am looking forward to getting off the ship.
Anyone who still thinks that teachers who come to school and do their jobs honestly and professionally make too much money ought to volunteer to take my first period, eighth grade Reading class for a week. My eighth graders aren't particularly that troublesome as teenagers go, but they are eighth graders.
I'd be interested to see if at the end of that week, that person still felt that way. I would like to see if that person's perspective of what all goes on in schools has been altered in any way.