Thursday, September 17, 2015

The boy with the alarm clock
The link is to an article on BBC.
Schools, and yes I know I am generalizing a lot, are getting so security crazy that observation and reason have disappeared and instant overreaction becomes the norm. Children and pets die in hot cars and we are told that if we break a window that is vandalism, sigh.
This photo has gone viral of Ahmed in handcuffs. He was arrested after a homemade alarm clock  was found in his backpack. The school overreacted, the police overreacted and now young Ahmed has been invited to the White House, Mark Zuckerberg has given him props, Google and NASA have invited him to their sites. Ahmed has not and will not be charged and he is still suspended. Ahmed and his family have decided to transfer him to a different school. A 9th grader brings a clock he has constructed himself to show off to his Science teacher and he is arrested. I do not and nor should Ahmed's family accept apologies, if offered, and as far as I can find right now there aren't any. The police and the school defend justify their positions.
Where I teach this year has become an interesting blend of wanting teachers to bond with students, along with security measures that are a slight overreaction to attendance issues. The security measures are all offered as being ways to reduce absenteeism. All doors, except the front the doors to the school are locked all day long. They aren't locked so you can't get out obviously, but so you can't get in without a key card which only staff have. Students on my end of the buildings have used rocks some large and some small, bark, and water bottles to block open the door to the Fine Arts hall. These side doors are locked before school, during lunch, and after school. I just don't understand, but I guess I don't need too. Our Campus Monitors are tasked with walking the halls to make sure students are where they are supposed to be. As a teacher, I like that, as a parent I would say thanks for keeping an eye my child while they are under your care. Let me qualify my like, I like that students are being redirected to their appropriate places. What annoys is that as a school we really aren't building a culture of responsibility. Halls are closed during lunches that house classrooms that are in session, signs tell students to not go in the halls, but students do and nothing happens. "I have to put my books in my locker because I am too lazy to do it during passing time and now I don't want my books as I go off campus to lunch." Argh
Ahmed could have been a shining light at this school in Texas, instead he is leaving for a different school. to scare a child away from learning is a terrible thing.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, waits in handcuffs as a police officer looks on

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