I was disgusted to read about an incident of school violence in San Francisco and the response of some individuals and groups. The Bay Citizen reports:
School administrators kicked [a boy] out of Bessie Carmichael [Elementary School] for allegedly shooting another student in the face with a BB gun. He denied having a BB gun and shooting his classmate but admitted to carrying a plastic pellet gun in his backpack. The victim in the case was hit in the upper right cheek but was not seriously injured.
Although the facts are in dispute, the boy’s situation illustrates the San Francisco Unified School District’s haphazard struggle to fulfill complex health and safety mandates: Prevent violence, nurture victims and deal with inner-city trauma when it spills into the classroom.
While the district is responsible for keeping children safe, it’s also required to address the needs of students who exhibit risky or even violent behaviors. In the case of the boy at Bessie Carmichael, it failed to do both, records and interviews show.
A Bay Citizen review of violence prevention programs for youth in San Francisco revealed a web of services, mostly provided by city-funded nonprofit groups working in neighborhoods and, sometimes, schools. Even so, Shawn Richard, founder and executive director of Brothers Against Guns, said there are not enough resources to reach all of the kids who need help.
“The school district needs to partner up with organizations that deal with these issues in the communities instead of kicking a kid out of school with no counseling or services,” said Richard, whose group has a limited arrangement to work with students in the district. “But right now, we’re not at enough schools where we can do intervention.”
The district employs roughly 60 social workers and therapists to work in the city’s roughly 120 elementary and middle schools, but Andi Hilinski, who oversees the team, says that’s not enough to address the emotional needs of all students.
“Our department stance is that every school should have a full-time social worker and full-time nurse,” she said.
Despite limited resources, anti-violence experts say, schools remain the best places to help students from broken homes and violent neighborhoods get support.
In a study titled “Mitigating the Effects of Gun Violence on Children and Youth,” researchers at Cornell University said schools were “the most promising avenue for successful identification of and therapeutic intervention for exposed and victimized youth.”
. . .
By all accounts, the 11-year-old boy, Tori, has experienced significant trauma in his life. Between being shot and being suspended, he has missed more than seven months of classes since January 2011.
As he sat home last semester, his mother, Sabrina Carter, worried that he could wind up in the “school-to-prison pipeline” through which she has seen so many other boys in the neighborhood pass.
“If they feel like the school is turning on them, that’s when they end up hanging around on the streets doing things they have no business doing,” Carter said.
There's more at the link. I recommend reading the whole article, even if it's filled to overflowing with sanctimonious politically-correct twaddle.
Isn't it amazing how moonbattery blinds people to reality? In the first place, how can the newspaper quote the boy's mother with a straight face as she blames the school and the authorities for his lack of discipline? She's the parent. It's her responsibility to provide her child with the framework of discipline he'll need while growing up, and to form him into a worthwhile adult. On the evidence presented in the article, she's done nothing whatsoever to provide that.
As for the Cornell University researchers, where on earth do they get the idea that schools are "the most promising avenue for successful identification of and therapeutic intervention for exposed and victimized youth"? The dictionary defines 'therapeutic' as 'of or pertaining to the treating or curing of disease; curative'. A school, by definition, is not a therapeutic institution! Schools must teach kids the academic and other subjects they need to know. That consumes most of their resources. How on earth are they supposed to play parent and/or psychiatric hospital at the same time? Furthermore, the kids are at school perhaps six or seven hours out of every day. The rest of the time they're hanging about on the street, or at home with their families (or what's charitably known as their families), or up to mischief. The school doesn't have them long enough each day, with enough time to spare from teaching them, to help them develop a sense of responsibility as well.
No, the most important elements of a child's formation take place at home. The churches have known this for many generations. As a pastor I used to tell parents that there was no point in sending their kids to catechism or Sunday school unless they were receiving a Christian upbringing at home, and seeing their parents and families living a Christian lifestyle. Without that, the few hours a week that the church got to spend with them would be essentially wasted. The same applies to schools. They have more hours each week with the kids than do churches, but they have to use those hours for education, not moral formation. To expect schools to take the place of parents is ludicrous.
A famous quotation attributed to several early Jesuits goes, 'Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man'. Schools don't get the child until he's 5 or 6 years old. All those preceding years, he's been shaped and formed by his parent(s) and his home environment. Schools can't compensate for that in one or two years - not even in a dozen years. The man-to-be has already been formed to a large extent. Judging by the article cited above - and absent a miracle of Divine grace, which is always possible, albeit unlikely - the man that boy will grow up to be probably isn't one I'd wish to meet in a dark alley at night.