Friday, July 07, 2006

Arresting Teens, Heavy-handed Discipline

I was watching C-Span the other night. It was a show about a recently published book called Tiger Force. During the Vietnam War, Tiger Force was a special ops military unit that was off the books. And for a period of years it was out of control as well with unit members performing heinous war crimes in Vietnam.

The authors concluded that the behavior was a direct result of negligent and unethical supervision by the superior officers. One of the comments about a soldier, a California surfer, who was intimidated into killing a prisoner in cold blood remains in my head screaming for resolution. The authors went on to say that once he had committed that murder the rest of the horrible things he would do followed with an easy discompassion. Once a certain line is crossed there's little more to regret.

In just the past few weeks I have read numerous stories from many states about police intervening in teenage high school activities. Today the police are no longer the friendly neighborhood watchmen of the past. With the ratcheting up of tensions thanks to the political commercialization of terrorism, police no longer exercise patience, understanding, nor do they dismiss teenaged behavior with a stern warning.

More disconcertingly, school officials in far too many CT school districts seem to play the police card casually as though teenagers are somehow hardened criminals deserving a rough time.

I offer the following links to some very disturbing incidents that bring into question the quality of educational administration.

Read here and here to get a flavor of what's going on.

I have no doubt that there are times where police involvement is absolutely necessary but it seems to me that society needs to begin thinking about staffing community relations specialists who can act as para-professional police authorities who are less likely to over-react to teens and children misbehaving.

And it would be nice if school administrators used better judgment as well.

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