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Let’s Frighten All The Children

bringiton's picture

Yesterday afternoon the grandson came home from school and burst into tears, sobbing that he and his Mom had to work out a plan to deal with armed intruders or else they would be killed.


Once we got him calmed down, the story unfolded. Seems his school had held an “Armed Intruder Drill”, of all things. When the announcement came over the loudspeaker their teacher locked the door and closed the blinds, telling the children to stay seated, put their heads down to reduce the chances of being shot in the head and above all, to keep absolutely still – no talking, no noise at all.

After a few minutes they could hear screams from the other rooms, the sound of what they took to be simulated gunfire and then someone pounded loudly on their classroom door, waited a moment and then pounded again. Some of the children screamed, and some began sobbing. These are 10 and 11 year-old kids, for hell’s sakes.

After an all clear the teacher called out the children who had screamed and reprimanded them, saying their cries could have attracted the intruder and everyone in the room might have been killed because they weren’t quiet enough. Apparently it is never too early to teach children that being a victim is their own damn fault.

How many fire drills at his school so far this year? None. How many earthquake drills at his school so far this year? None. So you just know what happened last night, we had a 5.6 quake, pretty good rumble and shake but very little damage. Grandson had real trouble getting off to sleep.

Daughter went in to see the principle today, announced that her visit was not a drill but an actual complaint from a pissed off parent and he needed to sit quietly until she was finished – which he wisely did. The explanation was that this is a district-wide “safety initiative”, reason being that some risk assessment people decided in light of the Virginia Tech shooting that our school district would be less liable for lawsuit if they had a drill.

Chances of a child being assaulted or killed by an intruder at school? Dunno, maybe A Million to One? Chances of these children being traumatized for life from needless fear? One. Hundred. Percent. I am so angry right now, and feeling impotent and frustrated. Next school board meeting there will be some hell raised, for all the good it will do.

We have an elightened, well-funded, well-run school system and still, fear rules all. What is wrong with these people?

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chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

when it comes to educating your kids: homeschool. heh. even the 'good' ones are brainwashing centers which inculcate fear and a sense of helpless victimhood.

i'm sooo not surprised by this; this and more goes on every fucking day in our preprisons schools.

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

Some of the homes doing the schooling are every bit as scary as this drill was, and teach fear of the unsaved like us just as irrationally as this drill. I feel for the poor fella, and his classmates, they just experienced a scare. It was stupid and cruel. They weren't solitary and afraid and being taught to fear their fellow man, defined as un-xtian unbelievers, which are those outside their own circle. I fear for those in homes that teach fear - and hate.


chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i guess i don't even count the fundie kind- there's no educating there, just indoctrination. no, i mean parents have to come together in small groups and take charge of educating their kids. and, protect them from both a predatory state (ever see cop cars surrounding a school? happens all the time). and from the many ridiculous political theories that are applied in school systems, back and forth with political tides to the detriment of actual learning taking place. . then there are gangs, drugs, rape, pederasty...

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

And in N.TX, a lot of the home schooling is fundie. While there is a lot good about having a community arranged school, I think that's not the usual sort around here. And the schools are pretty community oriented, as in the teachers are just tolerated by the parent-influenced school board. A lot of teachers find out the hard way that you don't give bad grades to the big shots. A couple of friends of mine lost their jobs for trying to teach.


Woody--Tokin Librul's picture
Submitted by Woody--Tokin Librul on

Seriously, though: The duck & cover drills did as much--prob'ly more--to perpetuate the Cold War mentality, and demonize the Soviets--thereby creating the endless appetite for "defense spending"--than ever did the suppression of Hungary in '56 or Prague in '68.(See, e.g., Lewis Black riffing on this subject.)

It demonstrates to me why the Pukes (oops--Pervs?) don't need a platform in the coming campaign (and won't need one for the foreseeable future), since fear and terror are already so deeply implanted in the institutional culture of the country that it is the default response for 'readiness' drills. Fire? so pedestrianly quotidian. Quake? so rare. Let's train for a terror attack.

Me? A Quick Study, But A Slow Learner

Submitted by lambert on

For a whole lot of security gear for your grandson. And maybe some karate training? Then the fear will go away.

Or not.

Anyhow, selling fear is very profitable, exactly because it's so primal. I'd call it a win win situation for everybody! So, get with the program and go shopping!

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

In spite of regimentation and cookie-cutter methodology, the American education system put out the best educated, most capable graduates in the entire world for many years. In example, is there any one of the regular writers on this blog that did not come up at least partially through public education? Is there even one who was home schooled? And yet here we are, to one degree or another competent and capable at rational thought and reasonably expressive, unbowed by the system and fully aware of its limitations. The spirit-crushing efforts of the educational machine may have some effect, but it is hardly universal.

Breaking the public education system has been one of the main goals of the Plutocrat Cabal since Reagan. For Plutocrats, the education part of the education system was working all too well, with far too many working class kids with working class progressive values being educated to the point where they could challenge the supremacy of the hereditary elite. Can’t have that, so the plan was to damage the public system while providing support for private schools – that’s why there’s a push for spending money on private school vouchers and privately operated charter schools while the public system is increasingly underfunded and overcrowded. The same technique they’ve used throughout the public sphere, first you break the public system, (thereby “proving” that government is bad), then you hire out the work to private contractors at greater expense and in the case of schools restrict entry to the best to children of elites.

There may well be situations where homeschooling is the right choice, but not for most people and certainly not as public policy. In my own family there has been widespread home and private parochial schooling and those poor kids went off to high school or college without a clue how the world worked outside of the parental-approved religious cult group-think narrowness and bigotry. Many of them will never function in a healthy way. In public schools children experience some social diversity, some contact with ways of thinking not just like at home, some chance to question without being instantly condemned. Maybe things are different in Michigan but out here in High-Priced Land almost everyone works just to make ends meet, there is no one at home to do home schooling and even if there were, how many parents are actually capable of functioning as teachers?

My view, we need to strengthen our public schools, not abandon them. Double teacher’s salaries and make it a full-time job. Private schools, including the parochial, should be denied not-for-profit status and made to operate like any other business, with not a whit of tax dollar support. The way to improve the education of all our children is to invest in our schools both financially and emotionally, not throw up our hands and walk away.

What disappoints most about the fear-mongering incident above is that this is a decent school system with decent teachers and administrators and still, they bought into it. No one, apparently, said “Wait a minute” and asked if this was right or wrong for the children. It was predicated on a fear of financial liability risk, not concern for the student’s physical safety or emotional well-being and certainly not for ensuring delivery of educational fundamentals. This stunt was decided at the admin level and didn’t go through the board. It’s actually a pretty good board but there is one right-wing loony up for re-election next fall, consensus is we’ll try and pin the blame on her (unfair, I suppose, but politics is a rough tough game) and see if we can’t make something useful come out of this fiasco.

Destroying communal public services is the right-wing’s game; I’m firmly opposed.