Saturday, October 24, 2009

Teacher Sacrificed On The Altar Of...What, Exactly?

Government officials sent this kid home, and to school, when the juvenile detention facility wouldn't take him back and he was considered too disturbed for reform school.

Days later, on the morning of Sept. 23, Todd Henry, who was 50, lay bleeding to death in classroom A23 of John Tyler High. In the hallway outside, a wraith of a boy named Byron was hustled away to face charges of stabbing his teacher in the heart with a butcher knife. A Texas Education Agency spokesman says it is the first teacher slaying in a Texas classroom that anyone in the agency can recall.

Law enforcement and the correctional system failed. The school system failed. Medical professionals failed. Liberal do-gooders who don't believe in institutionalism failed. There are failures at every level of government from the school district up to the state, and if the kid was in special education, the "full inclusion" lobby at the federal level failed, too.

This well-written article is just sad, sad, sad. I can find no silver lining in it anywhere.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

This happened to the detriment of everyone because of a system that is more interested in the needs of political groups than of individuals. My daughter was in a classroom with just such an individual. A teacher at my school resigned because a 300 lb, violent mentally ill girl was places in a conventional art classroom in order to appease the concept of least restrictive environment. The girl hated boys and was aggressive, even attacking the school nurse when she tried to give her her meds. I have had kids that have attacked their own parents and which were in self-contained ED units except for my class. The idea that public educational institutions must answer all of society's problems has got to end. We spend far too much in terms of money, time and resources on students that are often far beyond the ability of average teachers in public school settings to reach. Right now, in my school, we have five wheelchair bound, severely disabled students. They have a staff that is a 1:1 ratio. In the meantime, due to lower tax revenues, the number of students in average classrooms is going up to over 30 per class. The government for too long has used public education as a means to provide programs that have no business in education. It should not be our responsibility to feed, clothe, provide healthcare, counseling, daycare, and countless other programs that are far beyond the basic scope of learning. I weep for this teacher because it could be any teacher. Who among us has not had the student who threatened us? I remember a few years back one especially disturbed student stalked my daughter at a neighboring school. Yet when I mentioned it to authorities, they dismissed it. If we are going to have such severely disturbed or disabled students in our public schools-which seem far more concerned with making parents "feel good" than in educational effectiveness, then we need to stop funding the outside programs and return teachers to classrooms. I could tell you stories far more troublesome about bedridden students brought to class or violent offenders returned to class pending legal action, but this is old news to anyone in public education. Sadly enough, I teach in what is considered a "good" school. I can only imagine what passes for normal in the more disadvantaged schools. Sorry this is so long-it was too close to home.