maybe the operative word is 'school'...
March 22, 2005 09:22 AM

I'm dreading the impending media rehashing of the school shooting in Minnesota.

Schools have finally almost recovered from their freaked-out paranoia over the round of school shootings over five years ago. Kids can wear black to school and look gloomy again without being immediately sent for 'guidance'. We're not faced with a barrage of 'experts' condemning video games, music, and the popular culture... for a change. [Er, unless you count those freaks and the 'SpongeBob is GAAAAAAAY!' campaign. Duh, of course he is.]

So, yeah, I dread another round of media outcry against the world of kids.

I dread the interviews with verklempt parents and teachers trying to excuse themselves.

But you know the thing I dread most? That almost no one will ever take a look at kids shooting up their schools and actually think about the two words that make up school shooting. I dread the gun lobby continuing to make gun control laws an absolute joke. And I really, really dread the complete silence on the other thing all school shootings have in common: school. By which I mean not only schools per se but the entire system we use to 'school' kids, and the utter disrespect we show them.

Awhile ago there was a brief piece on NPR about a stupid kid who freaked out in the middle of a jewelry store robbery maybe 10 years ago and shot a man who happened to be a teacher. He was, because he lived in Texas, tried as an adult (he was 16 or 17) and sentenced to death. But Texas (unlike Virginia) has actually changed its mind on sentencing minors to death, so the guy's in jail.

NPR went to the school where the teacher had worked and interviewed other teachers. The vitriol! People who work day-in-day-out with 16 and 17 year old kids basically calling them wicked little monsters. We think they can handle their own decisions when it's convenient (if they kill, but $DEITY knows not if they want to vote), but we also think they're stupid enough not to see our thinly veiled resentment.

And we demand they deal with it for 12 years.

I'm not saying schools are designed to breed massacres (obviously the vast majority of students manage never to start shooting at their classmates), but that school as it stands remains designed to keep kids off the street and out of the way - and it's not particularly up to even that task. It infuriates me that we never look at the school environments when these things happen to kids (except inasmuch as we look at, say, kids bullying other kids): we blame the culture, we blame their parents, we blame them, but we never even look at the institutions that hold them for the majority of their waking hours.

Really. How stupid are we?

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your wicked thoughts

I'd say *very* stupid. As you've said, there is little to no examination of the institution itself - a hotbed of sexism, racism, nationalism, classism, and homophobia. Good grief, the isms are overwhelming. It only makes sense to look at the educational system itself. After all, one set of parents isn't responsible for ALL of these shootings. Likewise, neither is one bully, one school, etc.

And yes, I missed you! I've checked out your LJ, but I still like red polka the best. ;)

these are the thoughts of lunadyke on March 29, 2005 09:10 PM

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