I have been getting bored with all the reports of teachers sexually molesting their students (oh, yes, they have been turning up at the usual rate), so it is stimulating, though still depressing, to see a different type of outrageous conduct that shows how little training too many public school personnel receive, how little judgment some of them display, and most of all, the appalling presence of such fools in close contact with our children at all. In Pine Bluff, Arkansas, a member of a junior high school staff thought the kids weren’t clearing the halls fast enough, so what do you think he did?
Come on, guess.
Faith Fourney, a student at the school, witnessed the school resource officer–now identified as one Anthony Brown— spray, and more. “Not knowing he was going to spray it I walked straight into it,” Forney said. She inhaled it,as did several other students. Three went to the hospital, and seventeen others left school early. “Everybody started hollering and we had people just gagging and throwing up and everything and I’m like, what’s going on?” Forney said. (Completely tangential issue: I heard Sean Hannity on the radio blathering on while saying, over and over again, “and I’m, like…” as an illiterate stand-in for “and I said.” It’s bad enough having a valley girl clone like Megan McCain being featured as a pundit on Fox News and CNN, but radio hosts over the mental age of 16 have an ethical obligation not to degrade the language further by talking like middle-school students. I mean, I was like, “Marc Levin, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh have their flaws, but at least they speak standard English!”)
Superintendent Jerry Payne confirmed that a school resource officer did use pepper spray to force students inside classrooms. Payne said the officer pointed the spray toward the ground, not at students.
Well it’s okay, then.
I know I sound like a corrupted media file (“like a broken record” was so much clearer. <sigh!>), but when something like this happens, it implicates the school and the whole school system. What kind of idiots are they hiring to interact with 12-14-year-olds? How could they think that assaulting them with toxic spray is appropriate? Where are the procedures? Where is the training and supervision?
When something like this happens, I am tempted to advocate that every teacher and administrator be fired, the school closed and razed, and salt sowed into the land where it once stood. How can any responsible parent trust a place like this with the education and safety of their children? If one staff member will pepper spray them, another might beat them with a baseball bat. The school system should close the place down until there is a thorough investigation.
The news account quotes student Forney as opining that the incident “could have been avoided.” A student needs to say that? Pepper spraying kids in school “could” have been avoided? Let me teach Faith something that could be helpful when she is a parent: it has to be avoided; in fact, the thought of pepper spraying students should never enter a school employee’s brain.
Home schooling has its drawbacks, to be sure. I’m reasonably certain, however, that no home schooled student will ever be pepper sprayed.
Update: Rick Jones has an excellent post on this story, in the context of other pepper spray incidents.