Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Great Place to Visit, But...

photo credit-metrohicKS
creative commons license

Florida is a great place to visit. There's all sorts of things to amuse and satisfy both kids and adults. There's NASA,

photo credit-http2007
creative commons license

Florida oranges,

photo credit-Viewoftheworld
creative commons license

sandy beaches,

photo credit-heather0714
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and a park where a somewhat famous mouse lives.

But while one could certainly have a great time visiting Florida with one's kids, it increasingly seems that Florida is not a place one would choose to live with their kids anytime soon. It would seem that Florida may soon have to change their motto from "The Sunshine State" to the "We Hate Kids" state.

Christschool the other day had a great post about the Alex Barton/Portillo case that brought up issues such as the increasing use of police to handle routine school discipline problems, possible inappropriate training of such personnel, and teachers' complicity in ostracizing those who are "different" in their classrooms. This last point was also blogged by Joeymom.

As Shawn pointed out recently, there is a whole system that's at fault here, and not just the teacher (which does not absolve the teacher in any way for her part in this).

One does not have to look far to see other instances where very young children's actions in Florida schools are criminalized, rather than being addressed with behavioral intervention plans. Indeed, some see a "school to prison pipeline" that has developed in the Florida education system.

Given the undisputed facts of the Barton case and the general climate of making criminals out of young students with undesirable behaviors in Florida, I have to agree with Christschool in saying "I believe Alex, too".

I'm on the road right now, and visited with my brother and sister-in-law tonight. My SIL works as a "para" in a 2nd grade classroom. I mentioned the facts of the Barton case to her (she had not heard about the case) using a very neutral voice. She was appalled, as are many good teachers who have read about this case. Yes, I realize that most teachers are great, and really work for the good of all of their students. I also realize that most teachers work under conditions that are less than ideal, without proper supports in place. And that puts a great deal of stress on teachers.

I'm waiting for the investigation by the Port St. Lucie school district, but absent some finding (backed up by evidence) that great portions of Barton's account were made up, I believe Alex.

It's time for Florida to get on the stick, and to stick up for all of its students, not just the ones that are compliant. This means not only rightfully having sanctions on the teacher involved in this case (Ms. Portillo), but also examining the whole education process in Florida and the whole problem with criminalizing school behaviors that have no place in the criminal justice system.


Anonymous said...

I hope that ms Portillo previously documented these behaviors she has complained about on the record. Otherwise she would appear to be remiss in duties other than accomodating individuals with differences and being a 'nice person' too.

Just what we need, more Crabapples.


Club 166 said...

...Just what we need, more Crabapples.

Yes, it's so much better to have teachers as bullies.


Mrs. C said...

I used to live in FL but thankfully moved out before the children were school-age.

Well, maybe not thankfully. They locked Elf in the closet continually here in Missouri public schools..

Anyway, we left before the kids were old enough to go to kindergarten. The schools even in nice areas are overcrowded and they do it by COUNTY rather than city, so your high schooler would go to school with um, people in other areas of the county you don't want them going with.

And it's worse in the rural districts and I have heard of riots in Pasco County schools. They don't always even make the news though.

CPS is VERY ACTIVE there and I know people who have lost their kids temporarily for NOTHING. They homeschooled and some nasty neighbour complained on them (kids outside during the day, oh no!!).

Then there are the fire ants.

I miss the weather in the winter though!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I think the schooling systems need to be seriously looked at in many states. This terrible incident brings up many areas of concern. There is no excuse for what the teacher did but I do believe given time there will be more to the story. Of course we may never hear about it. Schools are pretty good about keeping things on the down low sometimes.

Daisy said...

"...examining the whole education process..." is am important statement. The culture of the school building, the district, and the state system makes sure all students can learn -- or not.

viewoftheworld said...

Thanks for using my photo and giving proper credit! I appreciate it and this is why I use the CC license.