Saturday, May 23, 2009

Abuse of kids - a cloud of witnesses

My wife told of a kid who drowned when she was a kid in a crowded indoor swimming pool. He dived in, and then the bodies around him kept him from being able to surface. When he struggled, those around him grew irritated and kicked him, until he drowned. The problem was the kid struggling, not what was happening to him.

I had just watched the hearing on restraints, seclusion, and abuse in schools held on May 19th by the US House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee.

It's pretty hard to listen to. The teacher that had been torturing a traumatized kid by withholding his lunch, because she knew that he had been starved when he was little and was made frantic by such deprivation, sat on him and crushed his ribcage, killing him. Did she do time for this murder, preceded by sadism? Was she even arrested? Ah - did she maybe lose her teaching credential? Well, she did get put on a registry of child abusers in Texas, eventually, but she slipped off that and went to Loudoun County, Virginia and got a job teaching. And there she is, on administrative leave, now that it came out in the hearing. How about the many thousands that don't get to testify in Congressional hearings about what they do to our kids?

Today I was reading a bit in the Irish government's report on the abuse of children in Irish Roman Catholic schools, especially from 1930 to the 1970s.

This one, you'd better gird up the loins of your mind before you venture to read. I don't understand how human beings can endure some of the things people do to them. Growing up, I was almost completely destroyed by so much less.

Well, whether it's the US Dept of Education that never pulls its financing to violators, or the California Dept of Education that whitewashes complaints when they see that investigating properly will be serious trouble for the perps, it's the same thing.

Bishops protect predator priests, and educational bureaucrats protect predator school administrators. When someone is struggling in the water, don't rescue him; he's being a nuisance, so kick him until he disappears.

Governor William Brownlow of Tennessee defended black people from the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction by arming them. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1871 - now Section 1983 - empowering people to sue state officials for damages, because they understood that black people couldn't expect to be protected from above if they weren't put in a favorable legal position to defend themselves. School officials will keep on abusing, terrorizing, and sometimes killing students until the law is reformed to enable parents - even those without money - to hold them accountable, even when they don't have a lot of money.


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