Sunday, December 12, 2004

American education

Rules and discipline "├╝ber alles".
If you look at the news-story below you see a frightened little girl, who has broken a rule without knowing it, and a school administration together with a police department gone bananas on rules and regulations.
For me this is one more sign of a growing fascist atmosphere, the infatuation with rules, without regard for the well being of even the weakest members of society.
Yes, a story like this does not happen every day, but still it is a symptom.
There are other symptoms of course:
Children can go to jail for 10 years or longer for non-violent crimes. Political protesters can get many years or even life-sentences for civil disobedience.
Adolescent and retarded offenders can get death penalties.
Terrorist suspects (everybody looking Arabic or like a dissident) can be held in secret prisons indefinitely without any sentence at all.
This is America today, the "land of the free and the brave", with the biggest prison population per capita of the population in the western world and scared to death by 10-year old girls with scissors.

"4th-grader arrested for having scissors at school
Associated Press
Dec. 11, 2004,

PHILADELPHIA -- A 10-year-old girl was placed in handcuffs and taken to a police station because she took a pair of scissors to her elementary school.
School district officials said the fourth-grade student did not threaten anyone with the 8-inch shears, but violated a rule that considers scissors to be potential weapons.
Administrators said they were following state law when they called police Thursday, and police said they were following department rules when they handcuffed Porsche Brown and took her away in a patrol wagon.
"My daughter cried and cried," said her mother, Rose Jackson. "She had no idea what she did was wrong. I think that was way too harsh."
Police officers decided the girl had not committed a crime and let her go.
However, school officials suspended her for five days. Administrators will decide at a hearing whether she may return to class, or be expelled to a special disciplinary school.
The scissors were discovered while students' belongings were being searched for property missing from a teacher's desk.
School district officials have promised a crackdown on unruly students this year, and new policies give administrators the power to expel students for infractions as minor as violating the dress code, chronic tardiness or habitual swearing.
Administrators say the steps are needed to regain control over a notoriously unruly school system, but some parents have complained that discipline has been overly harsh and that school officials have been too quick to call police about minor problems."