Wednesday, June 24, 2009

North Carolina Criminalizes Thought

The state of North Carolina has deputized teachers at public schools all over the state, forcing them to try to read the minds of children. (Assuming the Gov signs the bill, and she will)

If you see a fight in the school yard, you as a teacher must try to put your hand on the bigger kid's forehead, and do a Vulcan Mind Meld. If you detect any of the following illegal thoughts:

Dislike or bad feelings based on "Race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability or association with a person who has or is perceived to have any of those characteristics."

If you detect these feelings, or think you do, or imagine that you might, then the punishment for bullying is different than if none of these are detected. So, you tell the kid being bullied, "Hey, punk, go wipe the blood off your nose. You are not a special protected category, with wealthy friends in the legislature. So, if you don't get out of my face, I the teacher am going smack you again. Stop your whining."

You can find this whole remarkable bill, right here.

My own thoughts:
1. The state cannot protect children in the schools from violence. Our schools are falling apart, our teachers are overworked, and have very few resources. Adding this burden of mind-reading to teachers is not going to help. It is simply a feel-good measure for the left. The bill is clearly unenforceable, and the cynical supporters know that. They can pass the bill, knowing that it does nothing to protect children from the real bullying that happens every day in the schools (mis)managed by the state.

2. There are actual, real rights being denied to gay men and women in NC. I find it incredible that committed same sex couples are being denied the right sign a basic marriage contract. But supporting bills like this, that single out gay people for SPECIAL rights, rights denied the little kids who happen not to be in a particular category, is counterproductive. That is, passing this bill HURTS the gay and lesbian cause in NC, because straight potential allies will now see gay rights as special rights, not human rights.

A mistake, this legislation. I hate it. I'm not surprised it passed, given the lack of leadership in the Dem party in NC, but I hate it. I mean, just read this account from the News and Observer (and I believe the reporters have this right):

Students and administrators might as well be living on different planets when it comes to school bullying.

Students say it is common for bullies to taunt and hit them or their classmates, and for teachers to do little to stop it. Superintendents and principals say that bullying is a small problem and that policies to discourage it work well.

Into the divide comes a bill that awaits Gov. Beverly Perdue's signature to make it law. The bill is meant to protect students who are harassed for reasons such as race, religion or disabilities. It also would protect students from being tormented because of their real or perceived sexual orientation.

Who cares WHY the kids are being tormented? We need a policy to stop the torment. While we are at it, let's have a policy to reduce gravity, also. I was a little fat kid. I got teased, and tormented, a LOT because I was a little fat kid. Pushed down, beaten up, had my lunch money taken. And, gravity affected me more than the other kids. Gravity DISCRIMINATED against me, singling out the fat kids to make them weigh more, run slower, jump less, all sorts of things that made me sad.

You can't have a policy to make kids like each other, any more than you can reduce gravity. The teachers might be able to keep better discipline, if the public schools would let the teachers actually run the school, like in a charter or private school. But teacher are prevented by policy from actually exercising discpline.

This new law just means that teachers will have to fill out police reports, after the fact, and using Vulcan Mind Meld. Damn.


Anonymous said...

The only kids you can make fun of are assholes. It doesn't say anything about mean maybe mean is the new victim...

britney said...

nice post and thanks for sharing...
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