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- President Biden Pushes For Teachers To Get Their COVID Vaccine Dose By March - March 2, 2021
- We’re Just People Who Don’t Want To Be Killed! A Student Reflection About Insurrection - January 26, 2021
- Betsy DeVos Resigns: Most Teachers Say Good Riddance - January 8, 2021
- Class Divide in Emergency Learning: A Crisis Overseas - September 10, 2020
- Practicing Self-Care in the Midst of Chaos - August 31, 2020
- Do the Work: Equity Symposium for Teachers - August 23, 2020
- Universities Collaborate on the Biggest Experiment in Higher Ed: Reopening - August 3, 2020
- The Day of Teacher Self-Care is Happening August 1, 2020 - July 21, 2020
- Do the Work: A Conversation Around Anti-Racist Teaching in K-12 Schools - June 14, 2020
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For months we’ve witnessed educators across the country becoming infuriated with the possibility that a national set of standards, the Common Core Standards, will be implemented in states across America. People have not only marched on their lawmakers offices and formed parent groups against them, but have written multiple opinion pieces about how these standards will set back our students. In addition, in all fifty states organziations have popped up asking parents to refuse the high stake testing associated with the Common Core standards, and there have been strikes to oppose the closing of neighborhood schools in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia. Teachers are angry and they will no longer allow policies that do not have students best interests at "heart" become common place. The world is finally realizing that teachers are (and always have been) advocating for their students.
That is with the exception of Jordan Davis, a 17 year old high school senior who was killed by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, Florida.
Last night in a verdict that shocked many, Michael Dunn was found guilty of three of four counts against him, including three for attempted second-degree murder, which will more than likely land him behind bars for decades; however, there was NO verdict on the first degree murder charged tied to the death of Davis. As I sat and listened to the verdict it took me back to how I felt when I heard the George Zimmerman verdict this past summer. All I could say was, "another child is dead and no one except his parents seem to care."
As I tried to process my thoughts as a teacher to students who look like Jordan Davis and as a parent to a teenager that will be seventeen in 4 years, I couldn't understand why it has become acceptable for adults to kill kids. Yes it's reported on our local news stations, but rarely do I see the type of activism for our murdered students that I see for issues like the Common Core standards. Thinking I was just overreacting I decided to log into social media (Facebook and Twitter) and l see if several of the teacher accounts would address this issue. However not one that I followed even mentioned the verdict, the murder or the life of Jordan Davis. Where did all the advocates go for Davis? Where was the outrage?
Now where’s the justice in that?
While I was in the classroom, whenever an injustice occurred my class discussed it. I made it a point to stop what I was teaching and to give students a chance to discuss what happened and what it meant for them. We discussed the frightening massacre of Newtown and everyone of my students ( who just happen to live in the inner city of Memphis and Atlanta) cried along with me thinking it could have been their little brother or sister killed by Adam Lanuza’s bullets. When Troy Davis was executed, I had kids who were so enraged (due to their Social Justice class) that a man was executed despite there being "reasonable doubt" of his innocence. I even had one student who decided to walk out of class in protest of the execution.
Sometimes the injustice hit home when a classmate was killed or when a teacher was let go due to trivial infractions and in those moments I saw the “spark” go off in my students eyes . Students were learning that thinking (and acting) critically was key for them surviving in this society. In my classroom it didn’t matter what the injustice was we talked about it, I always brought it into context of the subject area I taught, English/Language Arts. Sometimes students wrote argumentative essays about their positions, while other time we tied it into classics like A Lesson Before Dying and had fiery debates about the issues their readings brought out.
With that in mind, if you call yourself an advocate for children then I implore you to not look at the verdict in the Michael Dunn case as just another news story. Look at it for what it is- a case of a child being killed based on an assumption that he had a weapon. If you're uncomfortable with the topic, think about if it was your 17 year old child was at a gas station and ten bullets ripped through the car he was in, would you want people to just forget it or would you want action so that it could never happen again? Think about how traumatized the other four young men likely are due to Mr. Dunn’s actions. Think about what it was like for them to go back to school after their friend was killed. They will never forget that fateful November day.
This case should be a teaching moment no matter what ethnicity/color you are because it’s about protecting our students.
So the next time you want to advocate against reforms like the Common Core standards, high stakes testing and the closing of neighborhood schools, remember there’s an equally important issue that has to be addressed- the killing of our kids across this country. Since the Newtown massacre there’s been at least 194 kids killed across America.
Where's the outrage about that? Where are the online petitions? Where are the parent groups that vow to hold any person who murders a child accountable? Where's the outrage for kids like Jordan Davis?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]