More than a hundred Connecticut teachers told a hearing of the General Assembly’s Education Committee the other day that they are being assaulted or threatened in school by disturbed students as young as 5 years old. Describing an epidemic of crazed behavior by students, the testimony should have been shocking, but the hearing seems not to have been reported by news organizations.
Jeff Leake, president of the Connecticut Education Association, the state teachers union, said students are more often biting, kicking, and punching teachers, throwing things at them, and even urinating on them, sometimes causing injuries.
A high school teacher in Madison, Danielle Fragoso, recounted: “I have been stabbed in the back with a pencil, requiring medical attention. ... In our classroom kitchen an agitated student kicked a paraprofessional in the stomach, thrusting her 3 feet back onto the floor. My fellow teacher and I tried to restrain him, but he pulled away, punched me in the eye, and lunged for a large knife. I held his hand as he tried to stab us. ... After 15 minutes we finally got the knife away, and he ran.”
Unfortunately, the legislation sought by the teachers would require only that schools provide counseling for the disturbed students and not retaliate against teachers who complain about disruptive behavior when administrators don’t want to hear about it. But the problem described by the teachers’ testimony is far bigger than that. It is an explosion of child neglect, abuse and mental illness.
So the most urgent issue here is not the safety of teachers and treatment for the disturbed children, as important as that is, but rather to determine where all the messed-up kids are coming from.
What, for example, is causing the collapse of the family, producing a rate of fatherlessness and poverty ranging from 40 percent in the state as a whole to 90 percent in Connecticut’s anarchic cities? And how will the problem be solved or education sustained by turning schools into mental hospitals?
Fascism descended on Simsbury’s Board of Education this week after two white high school girls posted on the internet a video of themselves wearing dark makeup.
Nobody accusing the girls asked them what they meant by it — whether they were just fooling around or emulating the blackface of musical entertainers from a century ago in the hope of reincarnating the Ku Klux Klan. But along with reinforcements from the indignation industry, the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People demanded not only punishment of the girls but political re-education for everyone else in town.
School officials genuflected obediently, as if people can’t express themselves as they want to do in their own homes and on the internet, however dumb it might be; as if the school system had anything to do with what the girls did or the authority to compel them to answer for their personal lives; and as if their video meant anything and had any impact at all.
For fear of being called racist, people these days routinely yield to such intimidation instead of talking back to it, and thus political correctness gains power instead of being contemptibly laughed at as it should be.
The comedian Steve Martin once facetiously apologized to the NAACP for calling its members “colored people.” If only someone in authority in Simsbury this week had apologized to the organization for the First and Fifth Amendments.