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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hellementary Education: Cases For Home Schooling

     I hated gradeschool because my parents moved a lot, I was ugly (buck-toothed), and stupid. My career as a public school student hit bottom when I flunked seventh grade in Wellsburg, West Virginia. (My mother saved all of my report cards, even the two I produced in seventh grade.) As bad as my elementary school memories are, I have to admit that my teachers--all women--were okay. Moreover, I was never bullied, sexually molested, taught by a drug-addled instructor, taken into police custody for classroom misbehavior, or told by my second grade teacher that the Santa Claus bit is a load of crap. Compared to the elementary school experience today, I had it pretty good. (Apparently, the hell of elementary education is universal. According to Christopher Hitchens: "...no self-respecting Brit can write about his early education without at least some reference to sadism and misery...")

The In-House Pedophile

     No one knows how many child molesters are in elementary education, or what percentage of elementary school teachers are pedophiles. Based on the anecdotal evidence consisting of news reports featuring teachers charged with sexual molestation, and/or possession of child pornography, there is reason for concern.

     On December 5 in Tucson, Arizona, a judge sentenced elementary teacher Joseph Chanecka, 44, to seven years in prison and lifetime probabion after the defendant pleaded guilty to possessing 300,000 child pornographic images on his computer. The judge could have sentenced Chanecka to 25 years behind bars but gave him a break because he had already lost his home, fiancee, and their newborn son. Chanecka said he was "extremely sorry" for his "foolish behavior." (I wouldn't call possessing 300,000 pornographic images "foolish" behavior. I would call it "pathologically criminal" behavior.) A shrink who examined Chenecka  assured the judge there was little chance the defendant will re-offend.

     In Toms River, New Jersey on December 6, detectives arrested a 38-year-old elementary computer science teacher charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of second degree sexual assault. On the same day, in Orlando, Florida, a 50-year-old elementary teacher was arrested for child molestation. This teacher was already in custody for downloading images of child pornography. He had been behaving "foolishly" this way for more than a decade. (My recommendation for this guy--call in the shrink from Tucson.)

     In Shawnee, Oklahoma, police on December 1 arrested a former "Teacher of the Year" for taking photographs of some of her third grade students dancing around in bras and panties. (Bras?) The kids were attending a pizza party at the teacher's home.

Cracking Down on Fourth Grade Sex Offenders

     In Philadelphia, members of a police special victrims unit arrested three boys--ages ten and eleven--on charges of attempted rape, deviant sexual intercourse, and unlawful restraint in connection with a November incident that allegedly took place in an elementary school restroom. The complaintant was an 8-year-old boy the defendants had allegedly bullied. He is now attending another school. After this incident, students in the West Philadelphia school must now go the the restroom in pairs. According to common law, children under the age of seven are incapable of forming criminal intent, and therefore cannot be held culpable of crimes requiring this element. Between the ages seven and fourteen, children, under common law, were presumed incapable of criminal intent. I don't see how the authorities in Philadelphia  will be able to establish the requisite criminal intent in these cases.

High on Teaching or Teaching High

     This month, a tenured fourth grade teacher at the Wilson Elementary School in Granite City, Illinois was charged with possessing heroin and drug paraphernalia. She posted her $15,000 bond and was released. An internal hearing is scheduled to determine if she can be suspended without pay.

     In Boone County West Virginia, a kindergarten teacher, after being pulled over for running a stop sign, consented to a search of her car which led to a charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The teacher admitted to consuming hydrocodone while on her lunch break.

The Criminalization of Brown-Nosing

     In Alabama, it's a violation of the state's ethics law for a legislator to accept a gift from a citizen. The law has recently been expanded to include public school teachers and their students. According to the director of  the Alabama Ethics Commission, "Something of relatively insignificant value--a candle, a coffee mug--is fine. It just can't be a $50 gift to Cosco or Target." Education spokesperson Kathy Kilgor told reporters that elementary school teachers do not like this new rule. "That was a little bit, I think, hurtful, condescending, to think we couldn't accept something from a caring student. That's kind of important to them. Not only is it hurtful to us, it's hurtful to the child."

     You bet. This stupid rule will deny Alabama students the opportunity to practice a skill absolutely necessary to get ahead in their future careers--sucking up and bribery. This is so hurtful.

There's No Santa?! Big Deal

     A second grade teacher in Nanuet, New York broke the news to her students that the Santa thing is a crock. I assume this educator believes it's never to early to lay life's truths on her naive students. You know, prepare them for the "real world." But why did she stop with the Santa myth? Why didn't she tell them that in a few years at least half of them will be obese, on drugs, under-employed and divorced? And that all of them are going to die? Hell, after that, none of them would give a crap about Santa and reindeer that can fly.        

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