April 22, 2014
After being forced to subdue an 18-year-old classroom drug dealer with a hostility towards authority and an apathy for education, Santa Monica High School science teacher and wrestling coach, Mark Black, immediately found himself under attack from a second teenager inside his inner-city classroom. As if enduring multiple attacks were not enough for the day, Black then found himself abandoned by his politically correct superintendent.
After Black stopped the attack and hallway drug dealing, Santa Monica-Malibu Superintendent, Sandra Lyon, suspended the 60-year-old educator and emailed a controversial note to parents condemning Black while consoling the drug dealer's family. Lyon's inept leadership and treatment of the popular teacher has ignited multiracial outrage in the community.
Nevertheless, the local president of the NAACP, Darrell Goode, wants an investigation. According to Goode, if Black, who is white, "initiated" the incident by grabbing the student (slash drug dealer), who is black, "that could be a problem." With asinine demands like that from politically powerful groups like the NAACP, is there any wonder why the students dealing drugs or assaulting and disrespecting their teachers feel entitled to do so?
Furthermore, the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder deserve plenty of the blame here, too. The pressure the federal government is putting on administrators not to discipline specific racial groups disproportionally to others has made the jobs of even the most competent public school administrators nearly impossible.
Teachers across the country are fed up with sending disruptive and dangerous students to administrators only to have the administrators send the students right back to class. Teachers must provide laborious documentation to simply remove a bonafide juvenile delinquent or emotionally disturbed class clown from the room. In the meantime, well behaved students sit frustrated or disengaged as teachers and administrators shuffle trouble makers back and forth. All the while, the disruptive students often bask in the glory of the bedlam they impose.
Whenever a student is suspended, the teachers must bend over backwards to provide the weekly assignments that such disruptive students often times never complete, even when they are in class. The entire process is downright absurd. The hostility that too many students in inner city schools have towards education is nothing short of depressing. And nothing other than demanding better behavior is going to change it.
Unfortunately, if self-control and respect are not enforced in the home, by the time a student reaches high school, the odds are stacked against even the most inspirational of teachers.
What occurred at Santa Monica High School is not an isolated incident. Confrontations and chaos like that occur every day in too many classrooms around the country. While teacher unions and civil rights leaders would surely oppose cameras in the classroom, Youtube and cellphone footage provide a plethora of examples of the nonsense too many teachers must deal with daily.
As for Friday, April 4th, at Santa Monica High, Mr. Black found himself interrupted three times by Blaire Moore, the classroom's alleged pot-pushing pupil. Black was trying to teach his students science. Generally, teachers deem any teenager who defies verbal directions and leaves the classroom to conduct hallway drug business as a serious impediment to executing a successful lesson plan.
Nevertheless, after Moore defied his teacher's directions not to leave the classroom the third time, Mr. Black informed the suspected dope dealer that security would be called. In response, according to eyewitnesses, Moore stabbed Mr. Black with a pencil, punched him in the face, and shoved the 60-year-old man in to a desk. At this point, other students used cell phones to record the soon-to-be senior citizen's effort to defend himself.
Once the old wrestling coach took the combative drug dealer to the ground, the coach refused to release his hold on Moore's legs. This is where the video ends, but witnesses report that seconds later, a 16-year-old then attacked Mr. Black while the teacher was trying to restrain Moore. During both teens' assaults, Mr. Black never threw a defensive punch.
Afterwards, authorities discovered Moore was in possession of a box cutter and 28.5 grams of marijuana. The 16 year old has not been identified, but police arrested both teens in connection to the attack on their teacher.
Attempting to exert some semblance of authority today, especially in inner-city schools, teachers risk having to defend themselves physically from students who often have no self-control. Teachers might also have to defend themselves from grievance mongers and pseudo-civil-rights leaders like Mr. Goode. Troublemakers like Blair Moore essentially dare teachers to stop them because they understand the ramifications teachers face when teachers do not conform to the system's nonsense.
Inner-city teachers are frequently forced to tolerate a level of clowning and a lack of self-control that few suburban teachers could possibly fathom. Why Mr. Black had to tell the drug dealing student more than once not to leave the classroom only hints of the absurdity of what goes on every day around the country, particularly in inner city schools.
Furthermore, teachers forced to physically restrain dangerous students also face public embarrassment when politically correct administrators like Sandra Lyon brand common sense responses as "deeply disturbing" and "unacceptable."
Of course, teachers do not always do themselves or their colleagues any favors. In the aftermath of the classroom attack, Black filed a police report. According to Tony Murphy, a physics teacher at the school, Black told police the students never hit him during the attack. Black's statement clearly contradicts what students in the classroom reported. While referring to Black's good character in an LA Times article, Murphy exclaimed, "[Black] was trying to get students out of trouble while writing a police report!"
Lying about what happened is not going to fix the problems, challenges, nonsense, or dangers teachers face. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Covering up abhorrent behavior and pretending like it is not happening only perpetuates the chaos.
Then again, school board member Oscar De la Torre is urging forgiveness, compassion, and second chances for the students who attacked Black. Torre has said, "We need to show love and support for our youth when they make mistakes."
De la Torre could not be more wrong. What every student needs to be shown is that a civilized society does not tolerate counterproductive behavior.
Ironically, some of the most counterproductive behavior imaginable stems from the good intentions of liberal educators and the politicians they support.
Lee Culpepper is a recovering high school English teacher and former Marine. He currently teaches firearm courses and has resumed his passion for writing.
This article was originally featured at Townhall.com. Refer to original article for related links and important documentation.
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