OK get ready for an epic rant here. I never write these, I think them, I even start to write them but then I hold back and decide it is better to let it be. For this topic though I just can't!
I am sure you have all seen the recent video out of South Carolina where a girl is brutally attacked by an officer stationed at the school she attends. It is pretty hard to watch in my opinion. The first time I saw it I was mortified, gasped even as I watched this grown man, a man in uniform there to protect, toss around and assault a young girl. This supposed "peace" officer forces his will on this child in a violent manner right in front of an entire classroom, teacher included.
What are we doing to our children!
I will mention it so you don't think I've missed it that the officer was white and the child was black. I don't want this to be about race. I know some people see it that way but for this purpose I am looking at this from a human, adult/child perspective. Race matters, I know that, but when we make it all about race then we miss the point of police acting in brutal manners, the point of our children being under attack and under surveillance, the point that our children are treated like lesser human beings, and the point that no matter what someone does NO one should be treating anyone in this manner, most definitely not the people we pay to protect us.
I could talk about race or police brutality but I want to talk about something even bigger...what are we doing to our children!
Now as if the video wasn't bad enough it is, of course, being splashed all over the Internet especially through social media channels. Hell that's how I saw and heard about it first myself. I am glad it's getting recognition and glad that someone recorded it so we can see what is really happening, what happens when we place officers in a school setting. But the thing that made this rant possible, the thing that placed me squarely on the edge was the reaction to the video and ensuing disciplinary action against the officer.
- "If this was my kid the treatment from the cop would be The LEAST of her worries! This video shows EXACTLY what is wrong with our society. Kid is rude, disrespectful, ABUSIVE and just plain wrong."
- "Poor officer. Stupid girl."
- "Fired, for that? She deserved every bit of it!"
- "Well maybe the girl should have obeyed the officer and none if this would have happened."
- "For all the "disruption" she caused, that little brat should be expelled from that school, with her parents being responsible to repay the school for time lost for the incident."
- "Maybe next time she'll listen and she'll do what she's told. Disrespectful little bitch got what she had coming. "
- "She got what she deserved. our schools wouldn't be such a failure if we did it more often"
- "It's simple, do what you are told."
- "Fuck that kid for not following directions!"
- "Teach your kids to respect authority instead of raising a generation of entitled little shits and this won't happen people...."
- "Parents should raise their kids to do what they're told and respect their elders and authority."
You get the idea?! That is just a sampling of the crap I came across in regards to this incident. Of course plenty of people felt like me, outraged at such violence, but the fact that so many were defending the officer with what can only be described as a hateful heart, towards a young girl who we have now learned recently lost her mother and is living in foster care, just disturbs me on a deep level.
It should be no surprise though really. I've seen it before and it's a big part of why we chose to home school our boys. I know what you are thinking. "Her kids are probably the rude, disrespectful kids we are talking about". I can hear it now but it is simply untrue. You don't need a heavy hand or an aggressive parenting style to create respect, in fact we feel you need the opposite!
We talk about respect, abuse, authority and more. We show they respect, we value their opinion and we discuss family matters in a way that everyone can feel heard and understood. My boys are kind, they are respectful, and they do listen to us for the most part. We are not perfect and neither are they, we don't expect that and we don't display that. But and it is a big BUT, they know NOT to blindly follow what someone says just because that person is in a position of authority. If it feels wrong, they owe NO ONE respect or obedience including us as parents, teachers, officers, anyone, Really think of the ramifications of teaching children that and expecting compliance at any cost.**shudder**
This all reminds me of when my oldest had to take a drivers ed course at the local high school. There was a parent meeting the first day and it was all I could do to not scream at the presenter. Talk about disrespectful. All the teacher could do was say (in front of us and the kids) how much teenagers suck, how disrespectful they are, how they are going to die, how they really shouldn't be driving, etc, etc. Is it any wonder that they decide to not show these people respect?? Imagine being treated like that at a job for 12+ years, how would you feel about that person? Would you respect their authority just because they are in a power position? Better yet would you want your child to spend his/her life accepting that type of treatment because they were forced into compliance their whole lives?
What are we doing to our children?
If you force compliance from your child then you may get a child that is easy, that does what you say when you say it, and one that doesn't rock the boat at home or in school. That sounds great, easy is better right?! But is it really, is it really what you want? Your daughter to accept abuse for a mistake she made? Your son to abuse someone else because it's what he saw and how he was treated as a child? Forcing respect and obedience doesn't make people do the right thing really, all it does is make them fear you, make them do something out of obligation rather than a sincere heart, and shows them that bullying and forcing people is the way the world works.
I know I'll take some heat for this post but I think it is so important to change the mindset on our young people. I love and adore my teen! He is kind, generous, intelligent, funny, and has a mind of his own. He is valuable and what he thinks is just as valuable as what anyone else thinks. He deserves respect like all kids do. He deserves to be treated the way we want to be treated and he most certainly does not deserve a violent attack EVER for ANY reason!
Lets stop treating children like they are lesser human beings and give them the respect, the choices, the praise, and the unconditional love that we all want. That teenage girl did not deserve that kind of treatment. I don't know all the angles of the video or what happened before but I don't need to, that isn't the point. The point is that there are a handful of things that could have been done differently. Praising an abusive cop and blaming this child is harmful to society. As these kids grow up they will pass this same mentality on to their children or worse they may accept it as the way the world works. It doesn't have to be that way. If we expect the worst out of kids, if we tell them they will fail and they will disappoint, guess what?? They will!
Lets start treating them like the amazing, bright, unique people they are and stop the cycle of expectation and abuse! Love them unconditionally, respect them, and honor them and you will see a far brighter future!