Let me start by saying, I am in no way defending the actions of an Iroquois High School teacher who allegedly broke district protocol by grabbing a freshman student by the jacket collar, slamming him to the ground after he pushed her and another student. The video of the unfortunate incident went viral, garnering over 100,000 views in one day.
Let me further clarify that my non-defense of the teacher does not mean I am excusing the actions of the student, either. However, given the disproportionate number of students of color who are disciplined and suspended from public schools across the country, I do believe there are reasons to believe he deserved a different outcome than to become another statistic in the pipeline to prison. He is still a child, after all.
I believe the teacher’s actions are, in part, a manifestation of the symptoms of an overly critical system that doesn’t provide adequate support and training, breaks or tools for teachers of our most at-risk youth. Despite how many times teachers have told their bosses, their union leaders, legislators and voters — no one seems to be listening. In case you’ve not been paying attention, teachers have organized eight sickouts in the past two years over these very issues.Read More ›