Yesterday I was so exhausted that I spent all of my free time trying to sleep because we couldn't quite get through Seattle's snowmageddon without my partner slipping on ice and possibly cracking a rib, and U.S. healthcare is a fucking joke. The one thing we do have is a shit ton of pain meds but doctors won't give them out anymore because we allowed big pharma to go hog wild with them for decades and now we have an opioid addiction and overdose problem.
This is something that's been on my radar and I wanted to talk about it Monday but here it is now.
A Florida boy was arrested after refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class
So what happened is this kid's class had a substitute who got all upset when he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they got into an argument, the sub called the school's office because she "did not want to continue dealing with him," they sent in the school cop because that's a thing we have now, and the child was arrested for "disruption."
The student was taken to a juvenile detention center and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. He was also suspended for three days.
Firstly, what the fuck is "resisting arrest without violence"?? He didn't skip over to juvie with a smile on his face? How is that a charge? How is this something we charge an 11-year-old child with???
Secondly, I may be an ancient, decrepit 30-year-old, but in MY DAY, kids weren't fucking ARRESTED for disrupting the class. They were sent to the office to get a talking to by the assistant principal, maybe have their recess privileges taken away for a time, and we all moved on with our lives without having to see a fellow child arrested by a cop, which seems more disruptive than anything a pre-teen could do. People are arguing that this was okay because he was arrested for "being disruptive" rather than being arrested directly for refusing to cite the pledge, but is this really that much better? Why are we arresting children for acting like children???
I witnessed all kinds of disruption in class. When I was in high school, a classmate of mine nearly gave our teacher a heart attack by taking a piece of paper with a bit of tape on the back and a staple on it, then smacked that piece of paper to his head with a stapler in his head while screaming, making it look like he had stapled a piece of paper to his own forehead. That was very disruptive (and hilarious) and yet no cops were called and no one was arrested! And he was like 16!
Of course, he was white.
I just don't remember when disrupting the class went from an inevitable consequence of trapping kids in a single room together and forcing them through a shitty education program to a CRIME that could land you in fucking juvie at age 11.
And lastly, can we use this to kick off a nationwide discussion about how fucked up it is that from the age of like five, kids are made to stand, put their hands on their heart, and pledge allegiance to a country every goddamn school day before they're old enough to understand or even pronounce "allegiance"?? No other Western country does this. There might be a couple countries in general that do this, like North Korea, but otherwise people outside the U.S. are shocked to learn that we do this shit. And when you think about it, it's fucked up. Why do we still do this?
When you put all of this together, it becomes a picture of fascism and white supremacy. A black 11-year-old refuses to recite the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, calling it racist. The teacher responds by basically telling him to go back to where he came from. The 11-year-old. She tells him to leave the country. Because that's a thing an 11-year-old can do.
After the boy told his substitute teacher that the American flag is racist, she asked him, according to her report to the school, “Why if it was so bad here, he did not go to another place to live.” The boy reportedly responded, “They brought me here.” The teacher then said, “Well, you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba, and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore, I would find another place to live.”
He's ELEVEN YEARS OLD.
Then this teacher basically calls the cops on him because she doesn't want to deal with him anymore and he's charged with disrupting the class, which I guess is a crime now, and "nonviolent resistance," which I guess is also a crime now.
Hopefully the press on this case will help keep him out of juvie, because otherwise this will become the poster for the school-to-prison pipeline in a fascist, white supremacist nation. Either way, this experience could have easily been traumatizing for the child, and will certainly affect his future. I hope he's as well as he can be after being victimized like that.
And the rest of us need to fix all of this bullshit. No more Pledge of Allegiance, no more cops in schools, no more making "disruption" and "existing while being arrested" a crime, no more putting any kids in any cages, no more school-to-prison pipeline, no more white supremacy, no more fascism. No. More.