Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Bullying Remains a Problem

Michael Milczanowski has been bulled constantly at his high school. He says: "It was ever-constant, never changing, ongoing harassment—that's all it was." We hear constantly, when some poor kid finally takes his life to end the torment, that the schools "did all they could" to end it. We are told that they try to address such issues but that they don't know about many of the cases. Kids in the schools regularly contradict the school authorities. They say that the teachers turn a blind eye to the problem. Rarely have we had such dramatic proof.

Milczanowski does not return the punches. He is not complicit in the assault in any way. His math teacher stands there watching and says a few words but otherwise does NOTHING. Milczanowski said: "I expected him to physically intervene to keep that from happening, but I guess I was wrong." The victim has dropped out of high school because he is afraid to go back.

The parents of this Texas town, as Texans are known to do, are attacking the victim. I have read dozens of hateful comments from parents saying that Milczanowski is violent. Odd that the "violent" student is the only one not trying to take punches?

As for the "poor" teacher that they are all lamenting about, well it appears he has allowed fights in his classroom before. And one of them was video taped as well. The second video is instructive. In the video the fight continues until the teacher says: "Okay, that's enough." I'm sorry, but that appears as if he allows them to punch each other until he decides they've had "enough" and only then does he step in.

With two videos of students fighting in the same classroom, with the same teacher, it is much harder to feel sorry for the teacher. This is especially true given that he seems to have a policy to allow the fighting to go on. In the Milczanowski case he stood by allowing it to happen even as the attacks pummels Michael, who does not attempt to fight back.

I regret having to say it but Texas is a place that decent people should avoid. The fundamentalist mind-set of the state is well-known. It is hateful state. This is a state where you can be arrested for selling a dildo, that executes innocent people in its rush to punish sinners, and that hates gay people. It is also one of the most heavily Southern Baptist states in the country. I do not think that a coincidence. Fundamentalism is a hateful religion and turns out hateful people.

But we also have the problem, in this case, of a governmental school system that tends to be, of the teachers, by the teachers, for the teachers. The teacher's unions put teachers ahead of students. And the politicians allow it because the unions make sure they get re-elected and teachers, being independent thinkers, tend to follow instructions from the unions. What we have is a system where teachers get attention while students don't. Teachers' unions treat teachers the way the police treat their own: they deny wrong doing unless absolutely forced to face reality.

If this teacher had not been caught on video ignoring a bully attacking another student, I can assure you he'd still be in the classroom. As is, various bureaucrats are defending him. The assumption from government employee unions is that their members are a sacred bunch whose interests must always come first—even when they are complicit in bankrupting states like California. Politicians who dare touch the sacred band of political parasites are pummeled, much the way Milczanowski was pummeled in the government-owned, government-controlled educational prison.

The whole rotten system has to go. I stand by the reform that all funding should follow students and that the funding should be allowed to go to private school as well. We here people whining about monopolies all the time and then defending the education monopoly. The government school system is a coercive one. It exists entirely because it has the ability to force people to fund it, force parents to send their children there, and because the unions have such a powerful hold over the politicians.

We have crappy, violent schools because they don't have to be better. They have a captured audience and captured funding. Only when a blatantly awful thing happens, and can't be ignored, does it get attention. Otherwise it is business as usual. It takes a video tape of a student being assaulted in full view of a do-nothing teacher to get attention. It takes kids around the country going home and hanging themselves, or putting a bullet in their brain, before anyone pays attention. Even then the hateful types come out and blame the victims.

The sooner the educational monopoly collapses the better.

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