Inspection- Teaching to the Over Reaction

by Ken Carman

 Amazing how some videos speed across the country at warp speed.
 A few thoughts on the in school officer, Deputy Ben Fields, and his actions in the classroom. Let it be typed up front that some sources claim she was punching the officer. I saw none of that.
 Not knowing his history, and especially not having seen what led up to this, or heard the rather bad audio, I was with the officer at first while watching. I was a sub for quite a while and there’s not much you can do when someone becomes a extreme distraction in the classroom. So when he put the hold on her, OK, keeping someone from reacting is important. The bring down to the floor may have been necessary, though the violence used… maybe not. Hard to know without knowing what happened before, or being there. But I lost it when he literally picked her up and threw her quite a few feet.
 I’ve heard he was fired and has had problems with this before. Dating a black woman really isn’t relevant to the discussion. We’re talking less racism here, more an over reaction. And, to me, the tossing is the crucial point where he crossed from ensuring classroom and student safety to endangering it: being at least as out of control as the student he was dealing with. More, IMO.
 Unfortunately I saw quite a bit of this when I was a sub. In one school I used to call three teachers, “The Wicked Witches of the West Wing.” Once I saw them rip a student’s ear to the point of bleeding and needing stitches, trying to haul him out of the classroom. In another incident I came into the classroom and found a student standing on a chair, “What are you doing up there? Get down and into your chair.” He did as I asked. Half way through class one of the wickeds came into my classroom and literally drag him out of his chair and into the hallway. I found out latter she tried to have him arrested and charged with vandalism.
 ”What god awful thing was he doing?” I asked. The teacher point to a ceramic pig up on top of a cabinet. The ceramic pig had a big hole for a nose that had been stuffed with a twisted up piece of paper to make him look like an elephant.
  Actually, while kind of funny, detention? OK. I’d understand that. ISS? Yup, I might have done the same. Maybe. Arrested for “vandalism?” Hell, no.
 Their group name was well deserved, for this was their standard shtick. Take mild misbehavior and go overboard reacting to it.
 Never guess whose kids misbehaved the most? What a surprise.
 This says a lot about all the shootings over the years, the military tactics being used, and the twist oneself into a pretzel tendency of some to justify anything: no matter how over the top.
 Certainly the student is responsible for her own behavior, and refusing to do as told to. School, to work at all, requires that. Students can’t obey only when they want, or feel like it. I’ve seen a lot of over the top behavior from students too, for sure. But the reaction to this one, most recent, case seems to have been mostly appropriate. He lost his job. Attempts to justify the tossing have been less than, say, many of the shootings.
 In this school called life, no matter how slowly, I must ask, “Are we learning yet?”
 One hopes the answer is finally, “Yes.”

                                                    -30-
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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