A few weeks ago, I watched in horror as Philando Castile died on camera at the hands of a police officer. The video and it’s graphic aftermath haunted me for days.
As I tried to process the trauma I felt, and make sense of the debate surging around police brutality, a disturbing thought occurred to me -- police officers aren’t the only public servants who sometimes brutalize citizens. There are teachers right now doing the same thing to children in the classroom every day. They may not have guns, but they can kill a child’s spirit and murder their dreams armed only with a sarcastic remark, an unfair policy, or even willful neglect.
The question is, what do you do about it? Do you stand silently by; tell yourself that it isn’t your problem? Do you wait for someone else to deal with it? Do you shake your head at what a “bad” teacher she is as you close your classroom door.
Then you’re part of the problem.
You see, it’s not just our responsibility to teach our children. We are responsible to protect every student in our building. And if you let THAT teacher get away with brutalizing students, then you’ve participated in their brutalization yourself.
You may think you’re powerless.
You may not want to rock the boat.
You may think it isn’t your concern.
You may not know how to start.
You may have attempted to say something in the past and your complaints have been ignored.
You can’t ignore THAT teacher any longer. Your silence not only enables THAT teacher, standing by and doing nothing creates the very environment in which THAT teacher can thrive.
Our students need adult advocates. If you don’t stand up for them and end the brutality you know is taking place in your schools, who will?
But children are not the only ones being brutalized by THAT teacher. You’re a victim of THAT teacher too. I’ll talk about that in Part II coming next time.
Have you encountered THAT teacher in your school? How did you handle it? Share your experience in the comment section below.