Friday, June 01, 2012

Friday's Odds and Ends

A Texas jury gave Kimberly Cargill a death sentence after she had been found guilty of first degree murder for killing her babysitter and setting the woman's body on fire. Full story here: 

 

No matter what one thinks of the despicable crime, is the death penalty the best choice? If you were on a jury, would you vote for the death penalty? What if you had to pull the switch or give the lethal injection?

 

 I know it is easier to make these judgements when one is far removed from the case. We don't know all the evidence against Cargill, but I still hold that life without possibility of parole is a better option. Not just because she is a woman. I think that the death penalty should stop being used, period. Over and above my concerns about the humanity of using the death penalty, there are other reasons to abolish it. It costs much less money to keep a prisoner locked up for life than to carry out the death penalty, and there is no statistical evidence to show that using the death penalty cuts down the number of murders committed each year in the United States.

 

The school year is winding down across the country and summer vacation is upon us. Students and teachers alike are probably thrilled to have a break for several weeks so they can recoup and prepare emotionally for next year. 

 

While the students have to come back, the teachers do not, and some of them won't. Some of them are too worn down by the challenges: endless paperwork, teaching to the tests, inadequate funding, unruly kids, and parents who don't care enough to discipline their kids or supporting their efforts in school. On the other side of that last coin are the parents who are such champions of their children, the teacher is never right. 

 

There needs to be a middle ground - a place where there is mutual respect for each other and for certain rules that make the learning environment more productive. And parents need to support the teachers. One Dallas-area teacher recalled an incident for columnist, Steve Blow, in which a kindergarten student called her a bitch. When she called the parent so some action could be taken, the response was, "That's what she says when she is really mad. What did you do to make her mad?"

 

When I read that, I was astounded. Our son once called a teacher a bitch, and after meeting with her and the principal and the counselor and several other teachers in a conference, I had to agree with him. The woman was unreasonable and obviously had a keen dislike for our son. On the way home from the conference, my husband and I told our son that under no circumstances was he ever to call a teacher a name. Period. It didn't matter if it was true or not, the teacher is a figure of authority and you will treat her with respect. Period. And he was grounded for a week.

 

To read the entire column by Steve Blow in The Dallas Morning News, click HERE. There is some really good advice for parents shared by the teacher, Debbie Hulme Rush.

2 comments:

LD Masterson said...

When I went to school (back in the dark ages), you received detention for failing to address a teacher as Sir or Ma'am and there was no profanity of any kind allowed on school grounds. Ever.

How have we, as a society, let things go this far?

Maryann Miller said...

I think we went to school about the same time, LD. LOL