Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Darwinism is alive and well in our school system

Over at The Gimp Parade, Kay is writing about Alex, who was kicked out of his kindergarten class after the teacher had the class vote whether to keep him out. They all lost, 14-2. Worse yet, the class was asked to tell him how they felt about him, and words like "disgusting" were thrown around.

Alex is in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's/autism and, according to some, the diagnosis has already been made. In any event, the teacher was present at IEP meetings and knew this history.

This is the third post I've tried to write about this event. Why? Because yesterday and today my own nephew is going through his own situation. No, he wasn't kicked out of a classroom. But he's unable to go on a class trip, because it involves things like rock climbing and apparently fording rivers and streams and things like that. I guess it's like a sixth grade Survivors thing or something.

Here's the kicker: there's no alternative to this trip. If you're not able to go, you are just out of luck. Not a big deal, perhaps, to adults. I guarantee you it's a bigdeal to him. Watching the bus pull out with everyone else on it? Hearing everyone talk about it? Excluded yet again, as he is day after day because of how we set up our educational system - still.

These "little things", these events that perhaps seem small and it's just too much of a bureaucratic hassle to fix, loom large in the lives of our children.

I still remember my sixth grade class trip. Gary spilled Pepsi on the bus and I spent all day with sticky socks walking around New York. Ew. And my best friend and I got to see artwork that we never would have seen at that age. I also had my first kiss. Yes, Gary. Ew.

My nephew could have gone on so many other kinds of trips. He would have gladly gone if this wasn't such an extreme trip, one set up that it can't possibly be made accessible. I question why physical prowess is still so important in our society because, conscious or unconscious, we differentiate on so many levels on that basis alone.

And then there's Alex. If you ask his mom, she'd say we still have pack behavior and pick on the weakest, most vulnerable and even teach our young to do the same. Even educators, who should know better.

Maybe we've all watched too many of the Survivor shows

Darwinism is alive and well in our school system.

To see what others are saying, click here.


Blog [with]tv said...

Mornin' Ruth!

Somehow I hadn't heard about this awful story until yesterday when I saw a video clip on MSNBC. I, too, have a nephew in a similar situation. He's been home schooled the last few years but is hoping to enter the local school system, at least part time. I'm worried for him.

Ruth said...

Mornin'! It's proven to be a very interesting experience, one that's different every year, dealing with the schools and there are still a lot of old fashioned attitudes out there among educators which they bring to their job with them. And they often get away with this behind closed doors. This case is different because everyone knows about it - and to me it seems that's the only way we're going to have change, which is to call people to account who are treating kids like this.

Blog [with]tv said...

Here. Here.

Anonymous said...

I just found out about this and wrote about it, and then came here to see if you wrote about it as well. You do not disappoint.
Anyway, I also made the "gang mentality" observation. Once an angry mob smells blood they forget that it is actually a human being they are beating. I feel nauseated that the first punch was thrown by a teacher.

It also speaks to the dehumanization of those who are perceived to be different.

If anyone cares to read what I wrote...

Anonymous said...

Hi again Ruth, I did a second post on the subject.

I really like your site. I think you might understand what I am trying to say since you feel human rights are important... even the rights of people who have hurt others.