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Monday, January 10, 2011

Texas school police ticketing students as young as 6

By Liz Goodwin liz Goodwin

School police officers in Texas are doling out more tickets to children as young as 6, who under past disciplinary practices would have been sent to the principal's office instead, according to a report by a Texas nonprofit.

"Disrupting class, using profanity, misbehaving on a school bus, student fights, and truancy once meant a trip to the principal's office. Today, such misbehavior results in a Class C misdemeanor ticket and a trip to court for thousands of Texas students and their families each year," says the Appleseed Texas report (PDF). It examined data from 22 of the state's largest school districts and eight municipal courts.

Over six years, school police issued 1,000 tickets to elementary school children in 10 school districts.

The study found that where a child attends school -- not the severity of the allegation -- was the best indicator of whether the child would be ticketed instead of sent to the principal's office. Black students and special education students were overrepresented among those ticketed.

Most Texas schools have police officers, and that staffing is on the rise. The most common infractions earning misdemeanor tickets: disorderly conduct and leaving school without permission.

Appleseed recommends that Texas ban ticketing for children under 14.

Here's a graph from the report showing how increased police presence resulted in increased ticketing over time in five districts:


Sancta Cecelia said...

A disheartening display of lack of any trace of practical common sense. Most certainly not good police work - on top of very obvious poor parenting and teaching. But besides the poor parenting, I feel much disruptive behavior on the part of young students is sheer boredom with weak course content.

Curiosity is normal for children, they ordinarily wnat to know and understand the world in which they live. Visit a good, well run Montessori school some time: you will see busy children intent upon learning. It is a wonderful and deeply satisfying place for a child. Speaking from experience.

Rejected, I believe out of jealousy, by the rest of the teaching profession because of its amazingly successful methods, and squashed by the powerful, threatened by the prospect of serious, thinking citizens, the method ended up becoming marginalized. Today only those with more than average incomes can afford to send their children to accredited Montessori schools, and because it was pushed out of the mainstream, some of the instructors are a bit too 'ecologically bent.'

It could have been very Christianized, because its basis is a deep respect for the individuality of each child, same as we know we are in the sight of the One who made us.

This world had a nasty way of wrecking and spoiling everything good and decent.

Bridget said...

I thought Maria Montessori was Catholic if I remember correctly. These methods could have been easily incorporated into all of the parochial schools throughout the land - think of what we could have become!
Sad, sad....

Sancta Cecelia said...

Yes, what I meant to imply is that since it has by force of economics, become somewhat elitist, so has a tendency to draw into its ranks those who would teach from the 'respect the earth' mindset. Too bad, because if one starts with the premise that it is the human being who is to be respected as a new child of God (baptized), following the admonition of Scripture, the focus would also be on the stewardship of the earth, just as God instructed Adam.

Yes, she was a Catholic, and I think she may have become discouraged at the failure to respond by those who could have made a difference. In Italian society in those days, and to be sure, all Western society in those days, she had three 'strikes' against her: 1. She went against the grain by becoming the first woman doctor and succeeded in spite of all kinds of tricks, games, and humiliations she received; 2. she was a woman, a very bright woman, AND 3., she was a Catholic -

Yet as doctors are taught to observe, it was this trainining, coupled with her innate human decency, that caused her to see little children with fresh eyes and to discover a wonderful new method of helping them grow and learn by encouraging their natural desire to learn. Personal respnsibility is a great part of Montessori, as well as training the child in respecting himself and others and the 'environment' in which they live, be it home, school, or out in the world. We were taught this in our schools, but raised to the supernatural level, so that we did it out of love, respect, obedience, and gratitude to God.

Happily, the good Catholic sisters I had also looked upon each of us in this way, so that to them, in our classes, we were looked at as a new creature in God, yes with fallen nature, but with great posssibilities. Our parents, grandmother, aunts and uncles also delighted in each new child in the family, as if to say, well, what will this one be like and what will it bring to the family? Having that deep inside, helped in dealing with, yes, the teasing and sometimes outright meanness of older brothers, classmates, neighbors....

It also helped ME learn my own difficult lessons of childhood, knowing that my family expected me to be good. The 'shame factor'? Well, we should be ashamed when we do something wrong. No denying our sinful natures! I could behave like a spoiled brat at times, but I wasn't allowed to get away with it :)

I actually considered applying to become a Montessori instructor when I had to go back to school, but with the uncertainties of employment, etc., I had to choose court reporting which I knew would provide the income and insurance I would need with five children still at home. Perhpas it was all for the best.

Sancta Cecelia said...

Boy, thinking it over, I realize that in moving from dreams of education into law, I moved from Idealism to Realism. Learned perhaps more than I wanted to learn about human nature, working for 13 years in the office of forensic psychiatry, plus the discouragement of realizing how deeply entrenched was the corruption in our local politics - like it's any different in state or D.C. - I was only too happy when the day of my retirement arrived.

Straight out the door and never looked back, but happy for knowing those truly fine persons I did get to meet and work with, and learn from, from judges down to the cleaning people, and grateful for the opportunity for further education and to earn a decent living at something I was good at. I did my best.

How much sweeter and more satisfying things would be in our world if we just humbled ourselves and 'did it God's way,' but we always delude ourselves into thinking we know better....

Like I've said before, Shakespeare put the words into Puck's mouth: What FOOLS these mortals be.

sigh...a wise lady I worked for at age 13, one of my first jobs, said what I have never forgotten: "It's a great life if you don't weaken." Glad I'm still here!