December 17, 2009

Just don't call it a "hate crime" part 4

Good (surprise, at that) editorial in the Philly Daily News dealing with the attacks on Asian students at South Philly High over the past month or so. Like Mayor Nutter's ridiculous statement: "All of us responded very quickly, very swiftly and very directly." Um, twelve days after the attacks is "very quick/swift?" Nutter also stated that Philly Superintendent Arlene Ackerman "jumped on [the matter] in the most immediate fashion." To Nutter, "immediate" equals eight days.

In a related matter, Sgt. Robert "Sarge" Samuels is a police officer who was reassigned to South Philly High because he speaks Mandarin and Cantonese (both Chinese lingos that are quite distinct from one another, FYI). But -- uh oh -- some people think Samuels is a "bully":

... his detractors say that he's a bully with a short fuse and a penchant for violence. Yesterday, Samuels allegedly handcuffed a student for mouthing off.

The controversy about Samuels surfaced after two Frankford High School police officers were accused last month of beating a student who had arrived late.

On Monday, members of the local chapter of the National Action Network, the group led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, called for the district to investigate the Frankford matter and Samuels' reassignment.

The group said that complaints had been lodged against Samuels for alleged actions during his time at Olney High, including accusations that he put on boxing gloves and roughed up students.

Other complaints are that he handcuffed students for various infractions, including lateness. Oh, and what a surprise -- Sharpton's group is right on top of the Olney student complaints, but as existent as Pres. Obama's deficit reduction plan regarding the abuse of Asian students nearby.

OK, obviously I've no idea whether these issues/complaints (against Samuels) are legit or not. But what I do know is that school students are among the very best embellishers of stories that I know. For instance,

[Tamika] Brown said that Samuels ordered her handcuffed in Room 106, the room where students are interviewed by school police. She said that her infraction yesterday was being late for one of her classes.

After being turned away by her teacher, Brown said, she hung out in a stairwell with another student. She was later caught and escorted to Samuels, who she said was yelling at other students.

Now, in my almost 20 years of teaching, I've heard MANY excuses along the lines of these. In other words, some school authority's actions were entirely unjustified because a student essentially "did nothing." Handcuff a student ... for lateness? Yeah, sure. I'm certain that was the ONLY thing Tamika was doing. And oh no -- a school cop ... yelling at students!! Like, that's NEVER justified! I've done enough "time out" and in-school suspension room duties (among other things) to know that the vast majority of this sort of student beef is total nonsense. Much more often than not there was some other misbehavior going on other than, for example, mere lateness. After all, take Tamika's case -- there is NO place for students who arrive late to go? She HAD to hang in the stairwell? So then why does the article say that she was "caught" and taken to Officer Samuels?

But hey -- even if every single allegation against Samuels is true, why not just use the 'ol Philly School District method of treating the problem? Y'know, blame "society at large" for his behavior (or no one in particular), and have him attend a diversity seminar.

(Thanks for Colossus R&D man Gooch for the assist on this post.)

Posted by Hube at December 17, 2009 03:27 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)