Column 1: Misbehaving students

| September 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By BILL SHARKEY III
Martinez News-Gazette Columnist

MISBEHAVING STUDENTS have always been a challenge to those trying to reach them. Probably has been such over centuries. However, how to deal with such behavior has changed as has time and cultural issues, and the methods of educators and parents have adapted to change.

We’ve all heard stories of classroom discipline at various levels of school; some, perhaps exaggerated, but tales nevertheless. Friends told of their knuckles being smacked with a ruler by a strict Num in a Catholic classroom when poor behavior was not tolerated. Stories of physical ed teachers and coaches applying a paddle to backsides as a reminder of proper attitudes, “or, give me 10 more laps around the track”. Less stringent discipline included being sent to the principal’s office, kept after school or sent to a study hall.

Suspension and expulsion were the ultimate sentences for really serious offenses, and one not taken lightly, especially by parents who were mortified that their kid was tossed out of school. We say most parents because not all families considered education at the same level of importance for the future of their offspring. The old comments heard included, “He/she (mostly boys!) doesn’t need school; he can find a job.”

The challenge for educators has taken a turn for the worst, in our humble opinion, of course! Legislation just passed by the Legislature, as introduced by State Senator Nancy Skinner of Berkeley (where a lot of strange things begin) and signed by Governor Newsom, greatly restricts discipline by suspensions or expulsion. Her bill was supported by a group advocating for ‘men and boys of color’ claiming that a disproportionate number of boys of color were being suspended or expelled. The same claims are being made regarding men being sentenced to incarceration.

While we certainly don’t know all the details, we do know that classroom behavior is not like it was in the distant past. Now the teachers have another challenge, we would guess.

REGARDING SCHOOLS, some good news this week was the sentencing of the TV personality parent in the admissions scandal for giving a bunch of bribe money in a scam to get her child into a name university. While not a big sentence, it was noteworthy. Now, what will it take for the dear child to remain in school when she has to compete with those who qualified on their own? Can hardly wait to hear what penalty the couple who paid $500,000 receives. The creeps!!!

KEN BURNS, the master at producing documentaries all over the world, has his latest, “Country Western”, the history of same, playing in an eight-part series on PBS (Channel 9). While not fans of that music, the history of the performers and their music is fascinating. Happy we did not miss the first two programs. This evening may be the last session.

Listening to the many performers and their own written music, or that of others, was an interesting evening. So many known and unknown performers from the past, their histories and successes, or failures due to health, drugs, alcoholism, broken marriages or business problems has been enlightening for one who is not a fan. Great production.

As we watched the programs, we recalled a situation 16 years ago when we purchased a new upscale car, one that we planned would be our last car purchase in our senior years. We were very proud of the new vehicle which was ‘nicer’ than our new vehicles of the past.

Later when we stopped by friends, they admired the new car and its features, etc. However, the wife, not known for always being tactful, commented, to our somewhat surprise, “New cars all look alike these days.”

As we watched the Cowboy Western documentary and its music, the thought came back to us about the friend’s comment: “All cowboy western music (and so many singers) sound alike.” Just an observation; not meant to be derogatory. Howwwwdy!!

SHELL/MEF RUN for Education coming up on Sunday, September 29th in downtown Martinez. The 17th running of this annual event will bring in many needed dollars for the betterment of our Martinez schools. A good time to join with friends and neighbors for a fun day. Still time to limber up the legs for the walking or running events. Entries can walk for 5K. Contact http://martinezedfoundation.org/run-for-ed, to sign up, or on race day at 7 o’clock.

BURGLARS always seem to hit someone else, not right next door. This was not the case last week when our neighbor’s home was burglarized in mid-day, and partly seen by a member of our household, but not realized as such. As the perpetrator drove off in our neighbor’s car, after backing out of the garage, from a distance the witness who could not see the driver, thought, “I wonder where they are going this time of day, and his truck is not here?” Later we got details of what and how and so forth. Not really a suspicious occurrence. But an event that leads one to ponder what could have been done at that point. The car was found and returned from Stockton, with three occupants now in custody. It had ‘debris’ in it like needles, etc. and a broken back window. Why Stockton? Maybe more to come with Martinez P.D working the case.

PICKED ONE YET? A Democrat presidential candidate, we mean. The field has narrowed and plans, policies, promises and personalities are becoming more apparent. However, as the campaigns push forward, the question of ‘electability’ keeps being discussed by the pundits and the electorate. Who of the group could defeat the incumbent office-holder? What’s more important, the policies and capabilities, or the candidate who can win? And, who can handle the rigors of the campaign trail ahead? Is age, sex or personality a serious factor. Does appearance on the debate stage influence the public watching?

Some interesting, and fun, responses have been heard from interviews with candidates. Andrew Yang, when asked how he was different from President Trump, replied, “I am Asian and like math,” with a smile.

It’s a long road and time to November 2020. Don’t give up!

GREAT COMMENT: “What you are will show in what you do”, Thomas A. Edison.

CHEERS for Governor Gavin Newsom for dedicating millions to combat the e-cigarette scourge which is causing serious illness and has caused deaths. Money well planned to be spent.

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Category: Opinion