I must say for the record that I am not a fan of the big "news" networks- Fox (or Faux, as I like to call it), CNN, MSNBC, etc...
But, embarrassingly, I do like to channel surf and tonight I came across Donny Deutch, who seems less like a journalist I should respect and trust and more like a Ben Stiller character I should laugh at. His show was all about OUR CHILDREN AT RISK. I'm an educator, I've been reading and hearing about the "children at risk" thing for the past 14 years. During my first year of teaching, part of my salary was paid for by an "At-Risk" grant, thank you Bill Clinton. So, I took the bait.
They had "shocking footage" of elementary-aged children beating the living crap out of each other on the playground. They had teachers who had come forward, but had to do so anonymously so as to protect their jobs, to tell of 2nd and 3rd graders who control their school buildings in Philadelphia public schools.
Part of me is not surprised. Even here in the Heartland, we have some pretty rough schools- especially where I live, since we are in such close proximity to Chicago, we get a lot of gang activity and people who try to escape the harshness of their lives. Oh, and we're like the Meth Capital of the World- Sudafed and farm chemicals, don't you know. So, I know firsthand that there are some really tough little buggers even in the lower elementary grades.
Then there is this other part of me (the Pollyanna part) who thinks it's just all media hype, that your average kid in your average American town is ok. They just happened to go to like THE roughest inner-city school they could find and searched until they found THE most badly behaved kids. I mean, kids have always been rough, right?
So, I don't know what to think. Do those of you who have children who go to school have any insight? What about those of you teaching? I know my own children go to a little dream school where I'm sure there are "issues", but they don't even begin to compare to others. The high school where I teach is a mixed bag. I personally don't ever feel unsafe-even when there are fights, since the fights are always personal in nature- they go after each other for very specific reasons. (He said that you said that I said that......)I've heard other parents talk about bullying (hot topic these days) and how "those teachers have no idea what's going on". Do we? Do we have any control? What's bullying and what's just normal, pecking-order bullshit? Help me, Donny Deutch, help me!!!!