Today’s Star Tribune article on St. Paul schools new policy on Taser use, (B2, James Walsh, St. Paul schools OK policy on Taser use, May 18, 2005) draws attention to the growing violence in our public schools. Teaching can be a dangerous profession for educators faced with unmanageable children or chaotic classroom environments.
Prozac, Ritalin, and a host of other psychotropic medications have taken the place of mental health counseling for children as young as six and seven years old. Behavior modification is now often a function of “if they took their meds.”
Conversations with many teachers about the severity of the mental health issues and explosive violence from nine and ten year old children (and high school students) make me wonder how long educators will continue to work in dangerous situations.
Has teaching becoming police work at half the salary?
I know many social workers that feel just as hopeless as teachers with dangerous students in chaotic classrooms do.
There is no safety net for many of the poor neglected and abused children they care for. There is no child psychiatrist for a sexually abused seven-year old, or for the starved and tortured six-year old. Go to school. Get well. Take these pills. We just don’t have a budget for the services you need.
As a Boomer growing up in good schools with cheap college and a straight path to success, I am appalled at the roadblocks set up for poor and abandoned children.
The data is alarmingly negative if you live in a foster home or are born into poverty (my book, Invisible Children, Preteen Mothers & Adolescent Felons and What We Can Do About It, www.invisiblechildren.org)
Who will speak for these children?
Those of us who know what it’s like to work with abused, neglected, and mentally ill children need to inform the people we live with about the reality that has shaped our schools, our jails, and our evermore dangerous city streets.
Being a hardworking quiet person is not working.
Neglect and abandonment appear to apply to educators and social workers as well as to children.