girl arrested for doodling and the dicky school


NYPD smart carsWe hear more and more about idiotic teachers who join in with idiotic law enforcement to replace student beatings with "lawful arrests". Recently, NYPD arrested and detained a 12 y o girl for doodling.

We learn from BBC, pun intended:

A 12-year-old US schoolgirl is suing the New York City authorities for $1m (£650,000) in damages after she was arrested for writing on her desk.

Alexa Gonzalez was led out of her school in handcuffs by police after she was caught scribbling a message to her friends with an erasable, green marker.

Miss Gonzalez and her mother are suing the police and education departments in New York City.

They are claiming for excessive use of force and violation of her rights.

Miss Gonzalez was caught scribbling "I love my friends Abby and Faith" on her desk during a Spanish class in February.

The 12-year-old said her Spanish teacher then "dragged" her to the dean's office where police were called.

'Better judgement'

Miss Gonzalez told the New York Daily News she broke down as she was led out of Junior High School 190 in Queens in handcuffs.

"I started crying, like, a lot," she said. "I made two little doodles... It could be easily erased. To put handcuffs on me is unnecessary."

She said she was then held at a local school precinct for hours in what she calls a traumatising and excessive ordeal.

New York City officials have acknowledged the arrest was a mistake, saying better judgement should have been used by the arresting officers.

Miss Gonzalez was suspended from school and tried in a family court, where she was given eight hours of community service and ordered to write an essay about lessons to be learned from the incident.

Her family's lawyer said the school had overreacted by calling the police.

"We want to stop this from happening to other young children in the future," the lawyer, Joseph Rosenthal, told the New York Daily News.

What is interesting is that substandard teachers, who used to beat children into submission, have significant difficulties coping with children whom they cannot control through non-violent means. This is why we are seeing an increased reliance on the application of laws that were never meant to imprison children.

Some children are, undoubtedly, more “agitated” than others. Good teachers know how to get them involved and keep them tuned to what is happening in class. This however requires patience and skill of the kind that is not readily available in schools in low-income neighbourhoods.

The problem does not rest only with teachers, however. It is phenomenal how little understood the teaching process remains, not only with law-enforcement (who have, indeed, little to do with teaching) but, more disturbingly, with the “justice” system, where there should be more understanding for these issues.

Then again, US schools have become even more authoritarian than Cheney, Dick, engaging in spying the children in their care:

Parents in the US have accused a school of spying on children by remotely activating webcams on laptops.

A couple from Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit against a school district which gave laptops to its high school pupils.

They say their son was told off by teachers for "engaging in improper behaviour in his home" and that the evidence was an image from his webcam.

Lower Merion School District says it has now deactivated a tracking device installed on the laptops.

It says the security feature was only used to track lost, stolen and missing laptops.

But it was deactivated on Thursday and would not be re-instated without informing students and families, the district said.

'Stages of undress'

The Lower Merion School District gave the laptops to all 1,800 students at its two high schools with the aim of giving them access to school resources around the clock, according to its website.

Michael and Holly Robbins are suing the district on behalf of their child and all the children in the district issued with the laptops.

They allege the school district invaded their privacy and are guilty of "wiretapping" by putting children under covert surveillance.

In their lawsuit, they claim the webcams were activated remotely and images were taken which could have included anything going on in a room where the laptop was placed.

The legal papers say: "As the laptops were routinely used by students and family members at home, it is believed that many of the images captured and intercepted may consist of images of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including in various stages of dress or undress".

On Thursday, the Lower Merion School District posted a letter to parents on its website saying it had always "gone to great lengths" to protect the privacy of its students.

In it, the Schools Superintendent Christopher McGinley gives details of the security feature, which he said was activated only if a laptop was reported lost, stolen or missing.

"The security feature's capabilities were limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen," he wrote.

"This feature was only used for the narrow purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District never activated the security feature for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever."

However, the district had carried out a preliminary review of security procedures and had disabled the security-tracking program, he added.

The district would now conduct a thorough review of the existing policies for student laptop use and look at any other "technology areas in which the intersection of privacy and security may come into play".

"We regret if this situation has caused any concern or inconvenience among our students and families, " he said.

Sadly, this gross bulldozing of privacy rights is not limited to children. It is now being used to monitor teachers as well, according to teachers’ unions:

They say thousands of teachers are having their every mouse-click monitored, eroding trust. So-called spyware has increasingly been adopted by schools to tackle cyber-bullying and to stop pupils accessing unsuitable websites. Such software can record online activity by individuals, including web pages visited and messages sent. Leader of the NASUWT teachers' union Chris Keates says monitoring of teachers' computer use is common - and a symptom of "a growing culture of surveillance".

Sometimes, violence is necessary to stop or prevent violence. What many teachers do not seem to know or understand is that this should be used as a last resort. Notably, in UK, the schools authoritarian figure is one “Mr. Balls”. Take that, Dick Cheney! (yes, I know, it’s all bollocks, as they say).

Teachers in England are allowed to use reasonable force to break up fights and control persistently unruly pupils, Children's Secretary Ed Balls has said. It is a "myth" that schools should have "no-contact" policies, he said. Mr Balls launched guidelines on the use of force by teachers at the NASUWT teachers' conference in Birmingham.

Examples where teachers might have to use force include staff trying to stop pupils damaging property or pupils continually refusing to leave class. Mr Balls said: "Teachers have the powers they need to manage bad behaviour but I am aware that many fear retribution if they were to forcibly remove an unruly pupil. This guidance aims to stop teachers being afraid of using the powers they have when necessary. Myths that schools should have 'no-contact policies', that teachers shouldn't be able to protect and defend themselves and others, will be dispelled by this new guidance which makes clear that in some situations, teachers have the powers and protection to use force."

Should teachers employ non-violent methods (repeatedly proven to work) long in advance, such situations could have easily been avoided.

Sources / More info: bbc-us-girl, bbc-us-spying, bbc-teachers-spying, bbc-teachers-force

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