Sunday, January 20, 2008

ZenTiger Do teachers need a clip on the ear?

Rosemary McLeod (Sunday Star Times, today, A10) draws the very obvious parallels between the story of the father out with his boys, who, thanks to a teacher, now has a "record" for giving one of them a clip around the ear and yet another teacher seems to see nothing too serious with a gang of school bullys violating a student. Both teachers have displayed a serious lack of judgment.

Rosemary also makes a good point:
Here was a father spending time with his children, helping them learn to enjoy physical exercise, and taking on the challenge of teaching them to do so safely. He wasn't perfect, but who is?
Much of the thinking from the law making authoritarians relies on making all people guilty of breaking a multitude of laws, and then the police or a government agency having the power to 'forgive them' and let them off with a warning. This is Sue Bradford's 'the law is working' mentality.

The fundamental problem with this is that good people are hard enough on themselves in any event, and don't need the full weight of the law sitting on their shoulders as a reason for trying harder. And the bad ones simply don't care.

So what is my point? If both teachers were community minded, they would have got involved with the situation. The first teacher could have stepped in and offered to help the Dad deal with his injured child and made sure the other didn't ride into traffic. They didn't need to call the police - they did because they didn't want to get involved and wanted to reduce the situation to "Dad is bad".

The second teacher, the Principal, also didn't want to get involved. He didn't want to report this to the board, he didn't want this to reflect on his job, he didn't want to deal with the bullys in any meaningful way and he certainly didn't want to empathise with the student who was attacked. He failed in his duty to get involved, and in this situation, it is a duty not only of conscience and ethics, but it was his job.

The place we live in is determined by the people who live in it. What we see here is a withdrawal from the community and and abrogation of responsibility by people who should know better. Take note of their example, think about it, make sure we find it unacceptable, and let's look out for opportunities to determine how we can live in the kind of community we expect.

3 comment(s):

Andrei said...

Link: ROSEMARY MCLEOD: Who else needs a clip around the ear?

There's not much I can add to that except to say its right on the money

MathewK said...

The whole world is becoming a, look-the-other-way, not-my-problem, all-about-rights place.

bruddah said...

A few Proverbs seem appropriate:

When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order.

A ruler who oppresses the poor
is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
but those who keep the law resist them.

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.

The rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
but the righteous will see their downfall.

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace;
he will bring delight to your soul.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law.

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