Teacher Makes Sixth-Graders Re-Enact the Death of Michael Brown
An excellent return across the school-lunacy net! I'll drop back and use a backhand swing to send the ball back your way, with an assist from the Selma, Alabama Times-Journal:
A sixth grade Brantley Elementary teacher was put on paid administrative leave Wednesday after a Facebook post revealed the teacher allegedly instructed the students Tuesday to reenact a Ferguson, Mo. shooting known nationwide.
Jessica Baughn, the mother of Brantley sixth grade student Jimmy Griffin, posted a complaint Tuesday on the Sound Off Selma Facebook page. In the post, Guaghn expressed her shock after learning a teacher had told the class to reenact the shooting in which an unarmed Mike Brown was shot by police Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo.
Students were reportedly asked to research the shooting online, finding out such details as to how many times Brown was shot and where.
“I don’t think that it needs to be talked about at school at all, let alone reenacted,” Baughn said. “It scares me as a parent, because any one of those children could have picked up their aunt, uncle, grandma or whoever’s gun and pointed it at another child and it went off accidentally.”
So writing a couple of sentences about shooting an imaginary dinosaur gets a 16-year-old arrested and suspended in South Carolina, and saying "bless you" is considered an act of religious oppression in Tennessee, while forcing considerably younger children to re-enact the racially-charged death of a real human being in Selma, Alabama seemed like a great idea to a teacher, until one of the parents blew a gasket. The school administrators evidently don't want to discuss the exact details of this little "skit," but apparently it was bad enough to get the teacher put on paid leave for a while.
What unites these stories - besides the gun-dinosaur thing illustrating how zero-tolerance extremism is designed to relieve school administrators of the burden of exercising discretion - is the value educators place on political thought control. They're exploring the way language can shape the way kids think about the world, and plant certain agendas in their young heads: guns bad, religion bad, and whatever message was sent in that Michael Brown skit, which I'm guessing was not "respect the police and reserve judgment until all the facts are in" based on the response.
That would all be bad enough if so many schools were not singularly failing to teach children what we need them to know. Less politics and more education, please.