Friday 5 May 2006

Breaking the law in Kentucky.

Sorry there's been so little blogging of late. You can probably expect that to continue, to be honest. I've just got too damned tired of the British Government to bother mentioning how enormously crap they are any more. I mean, what would be the point? That enough complaining by enough people might see them replaced? With what? Oh, the Tories. Yeah, excuse me if I fail to caper excitedly at that prospect.

But here's a brief little tidbit from the glorious US, where things are far more interesting. A teacher has been fired for biting one of her pupils.

[Caroline] Kolb has pleaded not guilty to biting 14-year-old Garrick Hudson on the back during a classroom altercation at Stuart Middle School in January.


Garrick Hudsons mother, Cassandra Hicks, said the incident occurred Jan. 11 when her son disobeyed Kolbs order to spit out some candy. Kolb told him to stand in the hallway, but he returned to get his books, she said.

Those of us who went to school will recognise that "to get his books" as first-order bullshit. He came back in because he wasn't allowed to, in order to piss the teacher off and disrupt the class. Obviously.

That being said, his teacher's reaction may be just a tad disproportionate:

As Kolb and Garrick struggled over the books, he fell and hit his head and she "started biting him on his left upper shoulder."

Garrick was treated at Kosair Childrens Hospital for a bite wound, according to court records. He also had a small knot on his head.

According to Kolbs termination letter, two students said they saw her bite him, and several staff members said they later heard Kolb admit doing so.

So her not-guilty plea's probably not going to do too well. Especially with this addition:

"You denied biting the student, but admitted that you found fabric in your mouth during the incident," the letter stated.

Oh, I hope she tries that one in court.

Anyway, fun aside, here's the really important bit of the story:

In 2004 and 2005, administrators had warned Kolb to avoid being physically confrontational with students, according to her termination letter.

I may be sticking my neck out here, but I guess that she was warned to stop doing it because she'd been doing it. So a teacher who had had some sort of physical scuffle with pupils twice before was still allowed to work in the school, and was only fired after her third infraction, which led to the pupil needing hospital treatment. Fighting students twice was not considered sufficient reason to get rid of this teacher. Let's just compare that to the way teachers treat students, shall we?

Plucking an example entirely at random, we see that merely holding — not drinking — a test-tube containing just one ounce of beer gets you sent to a special school for six weeks, despite recent legislation specifically introduced to make teachers use their discretion in such cases. That was in Texas. In Kentucky, the state in which Caroline Kolb bit her pupil, writing second-rate short stories landed a pupil in court defending himself against terrorism charges. One of the stories contained the death of the narrator occurring days before the court appearance. You'd think that the defendant's non-death would be pretty good evidence that the story was fictional, but apparently not.

A few weeks ago, a rather hostile commenter to this blog complained that my saying "Break the American teachers' unions" marked me out as a nasty extreme-right-wing union-crushing fascist, or something. What I was writing about when I said that was the case of an American schoolboy expelled from school for writing his own initials in his own notebook, because his initials might possibly be similar to those of a phrase which might possibly have something to do with a couple of local gangs. Maybe.

What the Left are supposed to stand for above all else is equality. Imagine the response from teachers' unions if a teacher were sacked for drawing a picture of a gun, or for "drug use" because they were found in possession of lemon drops. Yet it is the teachers' unions who pushed so hard for zero-tolerance punishment regimes in schools in the first place. So compare and contrast. Student sketches a gun? Expelled. Student writes about violence? Arrested. Teacher fights a student? Nothing. And they do it again? Slap on the wrist and warned not to do it again. What's so fucking left-wing about that that criticising it makes me a Nazi?

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