Shattered Innocence

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Today I arrived early to school to prepare a worksheet for classes. I was one of the first teachers to arrive and found that several windows had been shattered and graffiti had been painted on the inside and outside of the school.

This is a disappointing sign of changes. Our school is in the countryside and is considered one of the better schools for behavior. One teacher has been at the school for seven years and it is his alma mater: he was visibly disturbed by today’s scene.

We got a local contracting firm in quickly to repair windows and make the graffiti disappear. The first three periods of the day were spent having assemblies in the gym to reinforce in the students’ minds that this is serious.

Interesting political ramifications of different types of teaching contracts became apparent. I will write more about this in a separate post.

Remember that every cloud has a silver lining. During a gap between assemblies, I sat down to chat with students who were sitting with nothing to do. Two of the best students had a long talk with me about detailed and practical English concepts. I often see these two sitting in class, looking like they want to learn, but being suppressed by the other students who are interfering with the lessons. I think I was able to teach them more in one conversation than I could teach them throughout a year’s worth of regular classes.

I also got a call telling me I would be honored at a conference where the Board of Ed. will present me with a certificate. Another meeting with the mayor and then the city council will also happen next week. Pretty cool.

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5 Responses to “Shattered Innocence”

  1. kevenker Says:

    I always wonder what people are thinking when they do such destructive things. Yesterday, as Stacy and I were driving from my house, we saw a whole line of relatively young (2 or 3 years old) trees with branches snapped off of them. Some of them were rather large branches. Obviously, some kids thought it would be cool to vandalize a bunch of trees.

    Kids like that really need a good thrashing but we are too “modern” for such things these days. There’s nothing like some pain to make you think twice about being a jerk.

  2. びっくり Says:

    Today it is interesting to see how things are shaking out. They really rode the students hard yesterday, but today it seems to be all but forgotten. An emergency assembly was called to talk to the 7th and 8th grade about spreading rumors. Apparently the kids have been saying it must be X, probably the same kid I thought it was, but the school is insisting that he is innocent.

    The fact that he is absent from school almost everyday, runs with a gang of older boys, gets violent when he is at school, spray painted his bike, etc. Would certainly tend to point to access to materials and motive. I would be suspicious of any alibi as well, since we only know it happened between 9pm and 6am. I doubt anyone was watching him during that entire time. However, these are just my suspicions.

    The impressions I got otherwise, were that we should be putting this behind us now. Yesterday I had asked about security cameras and didn’t get much reply. Today I asked someone else and they said that the cameras are not recording, they only show a live image. I laughed when I heard this; why have an array of cameras surveying the school and the grounds and not record any images? That’s almost as crazy as putting “Gun Free Zone” signs up at schools and not providing security to keep guns out.

  3. Keven Says:

    Haha! People seem to forget that just becuase the word “security” is in a product doesn’t mean that if it’s not used correctly, that it will increase said security magically. True security would be where the camera are of sufficient resolution that the perpetrator(s) were caught and prosecuted. This would deter future incidents.

    Of course, you know all this! 🙂

  4. sunkissd1 Says:

    I find it very sad and frustrating at how little regard these kids have for the immediate world around them, their neighbors, friends, etc. In some parts of town, Lynnwood or Mountlake Terrace, for example, you’re not really all that surprised by graffiti and vandalism, but out in the ‘burbs or the country, I think expectations are higher.

    Keven mentioned tree branches broken off young trees, but it’s appears to have gone on for several days. Every time I drive by there seems to be more damage…one tree completely broken in half. Around the corner, a few new housing developments were built a couple years ago. One older house stood alone prior to all the construction, and quite obviously, whomever the developer was, had built a nice brick-ish type fence around the front of their property. Some kids nailed that with spray paint, and remains there today.

    I’ve made a point as a parent, to repeatedly talk to my child about how it sickens me. I talk to her about how hard people work to buy and keep up a home, their cars and other belongings, and that they’ve earned the right to enjoy those things without someone else trying to destroy what they’ve worked so hard for. I’ve also explained that sometimes the damage is so extensive, it can’t be replaced or repaired. That wall, for instance, cannot be painted over and would easily cost tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to replace.

    Although I believe that she and her friends are all good kids and wouldn’t even think to do this, her stepsister and her friends, I could without hesitation. I’m hoping that if presented with this concept from them, that she will be the one to ‘school’ them.

    I’ve had similar talks with her about sex, drinking, drugs and other similar situations she and her friends currently face, and if not now, will, in the near future. While she’s often a pain in the tailfeathers, I know she’s a good kid, and knows what she needs to know, and will hopefully have the guts to do the right thing when presented with it. And in spite of the occasional eye-rolling, she has also come to me at times to ask if the information she’s gotten from others is correct..even if it’s been really embarassing for her to ask. Those are the moments, I know I’ve done a good job.

  5. びっくり Says:

    Maybe someone needs to keep watch on the trees for a couple days. When a vandal breaks a branch off, you have the perfect tool with which to beat them. Try to beat them just enough that they realize you are upset, but not to the point where they are hospitalized.

    Glad to hear the Squid comes to you with questions. This is a tremendous achievement.

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