The occurrence at Jennings middle school during which a police officer’s actions allegedly resulted in an injury to a student’s arm calls for an investigation.
While the injury is the immediate concern, there is another issue that also warrants a close look. It is developing and implementing procedures for dealing with persistently disruptive students and more clearly drawing the line between what should be a school matter and what should be a police matter.
On Jan. 6, an editorial (“Excessive force”) said “her [the student’s] behavior does not appear to have threatened anyone, a point at which police intervention should take place.”
Behavior like roaming the halls, tearing items from the walls and cursing into classrooms is not innocuous. A student who is doing these sorts of things has a profoundly negative effect.
False fire alarms, locker thefts, vandalism, graffiti and disruptions at classroom doors are more likely when the students rove the halls.
A persistently disruptive student becomes a focal point. Learning becomes secondary. Students feel less safe. Students and teachers have a right to attend schools unfettered by excessive interruptions due to student misbehavior.
One disruptive student has more effect on a classroom and a school than hundreds of classmates who are being considerate of others. Poor behavior is contagious and becomes epidemic if not quashed.
When a student is disruptive, school personnel will take disciplinary measures so the student knows the limits. This usually ends that matter. Sometimes, even after repeated attempts to change behavior, a student will continue to disrupt.
When is the line crossed that separates school discipline and violations of law? If a 13-year-old was walking through a shopping mall tearing items off walls, cursing into stores and chest-bumping folks, there would likely be a police response.
Schools deserve the same kind of consideration, especially after verbal directives to a student behaving aggressively have gone unheeded.
A person tearing items from walls, swearing and bumping who does not heed verbal directions to stop runs the risk of being restrained by a police officer.
That entails risk of injury. Given the circumstances described in the Beacon Journal articles, the officer’s decision to intervene was both reasonable and necessary. Any injury sustained is regrettable, but when the student decided to behave as she did, she also decided to risk injury.
Editor’s note: Weigle is a former principal of North High School.
Listen to the people, not the lobbyists
The Jan. 7 letter by Connie and Bob Kubilis (“Dim bulbs at work”) raised a good question: Why can Congress pass a silly law that is not necessary, such as banning the manufacture and importation of 75-watt incandescent light bulb, and not pass laws which are very necessary, such as balancing the budget and banning assault weapons? I truly believe the answer is that there is no lobbyist for light bulbs.
The federal budget will never be balanced until members of Congress quit listening to lobbyists for defense contractors, who are getting billions or maybe trillions of taxpayers’ money to build more and more military equipment that we do not need.
And the horrible killings with assault weapons will not be stopped until members quit listening to lobbyists, such as the National Rifle Association, for gun manufacturers.
What might work is a bill banning lobbyists from talking to members or taking them out to dinners.
Members of Congress should listen only to the people who voted them into office, through valid surveys made on the Internet.
Lesson in tough love
As I was reading the Jan. 6 article about University of Alabama coach Nick Saban (“Father’s tough lessons stick with Tide’s Saban”), I couldn’t help but draw a sad comparison to an Akron mother and daughter recently in the news.
According to Saban, when he was 17 years old and working in his father’s service station, he was in a bad mood and “sassed” a homeless man who frequented the station for free coffee.
When his father heard him being disrespectful, he gave him “the strap” right there. Saban admits it was the right thing to do because he was being disrespectful to an older person.
One can only imagine his father’s response if he had physically and verbally challenged a police officer in school, as Akron’s Tamika Williams did. Perhaps Sandra Williams, the teen’s mother, should be seeking advice from a counselor on how to be a parent as opposed to legal advice.
This obviously was not Tamika Williams’ first offense with those in authority, as she was transferred from another school for disciplinary issues.
I can’t imagine the day when my father or mother would support me after I spoke to a police officer or any other adult the way this child did, cursing in school and destroying other people’s property. Maybe the story about Saban should have been on the front page, where more parents could have read it.
There seems to be some confusion over what is meant by the Second Amendment’s reference to “A well regulated Militia” as the justification for gun ownership.
At the time of its writing, according to the Merriman-Webster Dictionary, the militia included “the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.”
The Supreme Court got it right.
Farms in the park, then and now
Upon reading the Nov. 24 article, “Local foods group receives grant,” regarding the award of Knight Foundation money to the Countryside Conservatory, I was happy to hear of the promotion of local farms within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Then my husband reminded me how ironic this was because when the park was created, it took many local farmers’ land by eminent domain. How short our memory is that we love “our” local national park, despite the fact that to form this contiguous plot of land, many local farmers were cheated out of the fair value of their land.
These same family farms were originally owned and run by historic Ohio families, preserving the life of their forefathers.
These farmers were held in contempt by the creation of the park and were prevented from continuing their local food production. And now the park has the audacity to try to appeal to newcomers to start up farms within the park?
This seems very unjust and disrespectful of the original farmers.
Crime victims deserve justice
This is in response to the Dec. 26 article, “Man who killed two firefighters left killing plan.” This article provided details of an ambush perpetrated by William Spengler.
All of the national outrage over this event has been directed toward his use of the same military-style rifle used in the Connecticut school massacre. My intent is not to debate the gun control issue; it’s to point out a fact mentioned in the above article which I believe is an underlying and overlooked problem.
In 1980, Spengler Jr. killed his 92-year-old grandmother in her home with a hammer. He served 17 years in prison. That fact alone is unbelievable. How is it you can kill someone with a hammer and be released in only 17 years?
Why are people who commit the most heinous crimes imaginable allowed to live on death row for 15, 20 and 25 years before their sentences are carried out? Why should the families of victims have to wait that long for justice?
It’s time for the judicial pendulum to swing back and begin showing more concern for the rights of the victims and their families and less for the deranged maniacs who commit these unconscionable acts of violence. While the death penalty may not be a deterrent to future acts of violence, there is no doubt it eliminates recidivism.
Gun tragedy spurs questions
I mourn the senseless loss of life in Newtown, Conn., the young lives with so much promise and dedicated educators so concerned with the well-being of their students.
With gun ownership comes responsibilities. Why didn’t the mother of the shooter use gun locks or have them safely stored along with the ammunition? Surely, she was aware of her son’s mental problems.
I also question the news media’s excessive coverage of this tragedy. What role will this publicity play in the minds of other mentally disturbed individuals?
James W. Teeter