Tirade Tuesday…this one’s for you Courtaney!

I have taught high school for a total of 8 years in 4 districts. I have never taught in a comprehensive, traditional high school. In fact, not only have I taught in alternative schools in the community, for kids who have been expelled from their districts, I have taught in Juvenile Detention Facilities. I have also taught in the high school in San Francisco County Jails. In not one of the locked facilities where I taught, was anyone in there for singing too loud in the church choir.  Not one person was expelled from school, therefore at the alternative school, for talking too loud, talking excessively, chewing gum or having a electronic device out in class (all the “reported reasons”, I have heard as to why the SRO was called to that classroom in So. Carolina).

When I taught in the community, the schools had Campus Supervisors. When I taught at the Juvenile Facilities, there were counselors. When I taught in the jails, there were deputies. In the institutions, there are panic buttons. I have never pressed the panic button. I can count on one hand the number of times I kicked somebody out of class.  I’ve been cursed out once.  I’m not going to front, I wanted to sock her; I envisioned my hands wrapped around her throat.  However, I knew two things. One, I needed my job, teaching credential and my freedom. And two,  her behavior, though directed at me, wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about her being disrespectful or challenging my authority. It was about her not knowing any other way to express herself. (She was upset because after asking her 2 times to stop talking, the third time I told her she had the choice to stop talking or leave class.)

In 8 years, I had one fight in my classroom. That was in the jail. The deputies teased me for months, not because there was a fight in my class, but because I walked out the classroom and said the deputy, “They’re fighting in there”. Later, that day, he told me that it took a few seconds for it to register what I said, because I was so calm. I said to him, “Well they weren’t fighting me”.

The deputies joked about that, the fact that as one guy was being walked out, backwards, twisted up, he apologized to me for fighting in my class. That that same student had left a note, to me, in his folder apologizing for fighting and saying I was the best teacher he ever had. This student’s behavior was remarkable for a number of reasons.  Mainly because he had previously been to prison and he was white. Some of you will understand the significance of that.

I say all this to say that the incident which took place started, not with the student and whatever her transgression was. A transgression that likely violated a school rule but didn’t rise to a violation of the law.  The incident started with the teacher.  As a teacher, especially of high school students, you can expect some to be defiant and mouthy. (In fact, I am in search of the teenager who has never talked back, huffed and puffed, rolled their eyes or mumbled under their breath.) As a teacher, you should have the game plan, of your response, prior to the behavior even happening. So much of teaching is classroom management.

Therefore, if people want to say, they need to have all the facts about what happened prior before they are willing to say the SRO was wrong, you have it all wrong. The only additional information I need is about the teacher. Why? Because I want to know what his/her thought process was that a student, who was not being violent or threatening, needed to be removed by a cop. Was it your first day of teaching, EVER? Were you a substitute and couldn’t manage the class? Were you going through something personally, just couldn’t deal and in retrospect should have called off yesterday? Were you feeling disrespected? Did you feel you needed to make an example cause that behavior wasn’t going to be tolerated? Did you take her behavior personal as a personal affront to your authority? Did you not have any tools in your teacher tool box? What were you thinking then? What are you thinking now? I read somewhere, and I definitely do not believe everything reported in the media, that you resumed teaching. Really? I sure hope that part was erroneously reported.

Now don’t get it twisted, I am not blaming the teacher for Field’s behavior. I am saying that classroom management is as an essential part of teaching as well, teaching. For those of you who say, “A teacher’s job is to teach” clearly have never taught. As a teacher you are a teacher, a counselor, a nurse, a parent, an advocate, a referee, an encourager, a comedian, a performer, a negotiator, a social worker, a decorator, a janitor, and many more things.  Teacher, I kinda think you blew it. If you can’t handle a mouthy, defiant teen, you probably shouldn’t be teaching high school. Definitely shouldn’t have kids cause teen-agers, well… And guess what? When their yours, you have no one to call.

So, for those people who have the audacity to say we don’t know what happened before Fields man handled the high school student, instead up asking you to have several seats or asking one of my friends, who like to curse, a lot, to tell you to STHU, I just have 3 questions:

  1. What is the scenario that justifies this level of violence?
  2. Would you need more information if it was your daughter?
  3. What does going too far by police with teens look like to you?

Lastly, for those of you who shared the video, commented, expressed outrage, etc. What you doing to fight for black people to be safe? To live? You see, if you get all mad and outraged on Social Media but don’t put any action behind your words and posts, then you are also part of the problem. I have said it before and I’ll say as long as I have breath in my body or until we get free…


What we don’t need is more Social Media activist than Real Life Ones.

1 Comment

  1. Boom! Teach teacha!


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