Thanks Doo for posting. I hadn't seen or read his presentation and I'm left somewhat speechless. But during the presentation I kept recalling something I repeatedly heard in grad school:
"All education is moral education."
There really is no way around it. The school is the child's world. The teachers and staff are forced to confront and educate children about appropriate behavior - morals and ethics.
We (Americans) don't really want to admit that our schools have that much influence on our children's inner self, that by default of the amount of time children are in school, the adults there have a moral obligation to instill a morals education that protects children while it teaches them to welcome empathy and understanding for all our differences.
In other words, in the way that school is really about teaching children how to think, ask questions, and how to find answers, school is also chiefly about each students self-awareness and behavior choices. Unfortunately, the reality of schools is, for the greatest most part, only to teach so students remember information, pass tests.
You know, one of the first experiences I can remember of being bullied was in the 6th grade. Another student got a big classroom laugh mocking me, mocking the way I spoke and behaved; the way that little gay child moved and sounded. This happened during class while everyone was seated with the teacher in front of the class.
I remember how awful It felt. And, I remember not understanding what caused the mocking. What did I do wrong that I should be made fun of? I turned to the teacher so deeply shamed only to find the teacher laughing along with the class.
This is an incredibly vivid memory,a crystal clear moment in my mostly lost early life. After I looked at the teacher that morning, it all goes blank.
I think that's the first memory I have of the kind of tunnel-vision I still get with what I describe as an anxiety attack; when the prominent (?) part of myself kind-of winks out. Later, I rarely remember what happened, why I feel like I missed something someone said.
I mention all this because I, based on personal experience, believe that it is the adults around the children that will finally make the difference. I got it at school all day with no buffer of acceptance or normality given from the adults and when I got home, I got the same.
This is the way that a young person falls into despair so deeply they believe there is no way out but death.
To a child the structure of the school and the consistency of the adults creates an environment the child can count on; s/he knows what to expect and can mostly make adjustments. But if the child has no basic trust in the teachers or staff, that they are there to protect the children, the child is left with little or any other options.
I don't know why I wrote all that. I suppose I should get my own blog. And still, It feels right to hit the "Post" button. Anyway, thanks for indulging my ego a bit and THANK YOU for witnessing a little of my life experience.