Wednesday, May 15, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Page: 8

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Text Content of Page 8 of Cedar Rapids Gazette on Wednesday, May 15, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 15, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa "V‘v4 ,4'" 4A Tbe Cedar Rapids Gazette Wed . May IS. JW Totalitarian Schools Are Adding to Problems By Tom Tiede WASHINGTON (NEA) - A local teacher (ells the agonizing story of a shy young pupil who was too embarrassed to ask for a pass to visit the school lavatory Thus inhibited, the lad wet his pants regularly, became the object of peer derision, earned the nickname “Peeped", and had a mental breakdown The teacher says. “What kind of system do we have (Fourth in a Series) when a kid can't go to the bathroom without written permission?" Schools Oppressive? The question is being asked with steadily growing regularity by child advocates who believe schools have become one of the most oppressive, often the most destructive, forces in young people’s lives. Toilet permission is only the beginning of lengthy regulatory lists which, at most schools in America, are absolute law. Violation of such mundane things as dress codes, personal appearance standards, and even locker tidiness can result in public humiliation, expulsion and in some cases corporal punishment. The examples pain the mind A student caught smoking in Mississippi was forced to walk the hallways with an "I'm an addict" poster A kindergarten child in Texas, who wore ear-length hair to hide a skull deformity. was expelled at five years old A basketball coach in New Jersey passed out contracts to his squad mandating personal behavior, and warned they would be dropped from the squad if they broke the agreement. Child advocate Eda Leshane DETROIT (AP) - Weather conditions, air pollution and news headlines all play a role in mental health but (‘ach has a different effect, a University of Pennsylvania research team reports. The researchers said their findings were based on a study comparing such variables with fluctuations in numbers of persons seeking psychiatric help for different kinds of emotional crises News Headlines t The least linkage was between psychiatric emergencies and news headlines, Dr. .John Valentine of Philadelphia told the American Psychiatric Assn on Thursday However, headlines conveying bad or unfavorable news “may be implicated in the worsening of neurotic and family conflicts and a tendency to act out the conflict " in either selfdestructive ways or behavior damaging to others, Valentine said. “Favorable headlines may encourage bravado" aud thus indirectly lead to fatal accidents, he said The study was conducted by a team in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennslyvania school of medicine. Valentine said the group was says children sometimes get warnings for overdue library books that hint of sabotaging the child's future employment attempts I-oses Rights The illustrations arc not isolated Though the U.S. supreme court has determined that neither “students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” the student at least is still shedding plenty in the way of civil rights when he enters the educational door In most schools, children do not have the right of redress from teachers or administrative personnel In many schools, students are subject to physical retaliation for real or imagined faults (Dallas school officials administered 28.000 lickings in 1072) In many schools pupils are not allowed any expression, much less freedom of it, at times the teacher wishes quiet In sum. the American education system does not hold with the Hill of Rights In fact, at least part of the American educational system, does not hold with base decency Thousands of schools allow the administration of amphetamines to calm hyperactive kids. even though many medical opinions question the practice Instances Cited In Boston recently , a child advocacy group discovered HOO foreign-speaking children who could not attend school because administrators refused to provide bilingual facilities In the South, according to officials of the Robert Kennedv Foundation, as many as 50.(NNI black youths have been pushed out of classrooms through discriminatory treatment. To be ^ure, the abuses vary from institution to institution and teacher to teacher, but at least one constitutionally questionable practice prevails nationwide According to Dr William Phari* director of the National Assn of Elementary School Principals, all schools in the nation keep files on children arid most keep the files secret from either pupil or parent inspection The confidential file system iv, naturally, historic in American schools But Dr Pharjs says that does not make it any less repulsive today. Much of the youngster's life “Nobody has a right to keep is represented in the school secret data on anybody; I think data, and a good deal of private, the courts will agree” opinion besides.    Records    But even if this    one civil include grades, psychologist abuse is removed from schools, reports, medical histories — dozens more will likely and very often, with varying remain: Censorship of student degrees of accuracy , personal newspapers, areas off-limits to notations of conduct, deport- students, careless adnunistra-ment. character, even per- tors who deal with names and seriality.    numbers    rather than    children. It is not unusual for an angry    Thus with the cost    of educa- instructor. for good reason or Jinn skyrocketing — now $05 no. to record for posterity tin' billion a year — growing ar-opinion that "this kid is a real mies of both students and sad jerk.”    parents    believe the    expendi tures should provide for the Shocked by System    inclusion of justice in the daily lessons Tilt* system shocks Pharis He says not only is it wrong to (Thursday: Spare the rod. spoil keep secret files on anybody , even children, but it can be — destructive as well    4 It s the old self-fulfilling Ay. prophesy syndrome Most of MB what people are is what they “vc become from other people s input So if teachers continue ^B to harp on a child’s actions, using the files, the child may 9|| soon come to behave as he’s ■ expected to behave. ”    2 In other words, the marginal (■ comments in the secret files H may not help so much as hurt I the development of a young- I ster    I But even without the I sociological implications, the I files create problems Students resent them because they can’t see them Parents grow suspicious of the data-gathering institution and its values not to mention its democratic principles Moreover, says an official with the I S department of    jS education "Though the files    V are supposed to be confiden-bal they sometimes go public    rl Who knows how many jobs have been lost, for example.    f because an employer found    I disqualifying traits on the past    C records of applicants 0 " Encouragingly, the secret    I file system mav be on the wav    .V out Several schools, including Zachary Lane elementary i L outside Minneapolis, have j adopted open file techniques. I Zachary Principal David! Dooley says parents often keep j the dossiers at home, there is I space in the files for both 1 parent and teacher observations, and very often the student himself is the one I filling in new file information I Other Abuses    I Even as the idea spreads, R NA KSP Director Pharis J predicts the courts will soon J     m B# nu. for th.. n.~«tmil     ; Contemporary Styling Biscuit tufted back and seat Re* r*4*»    ^    versible    cushions.    Olive    tweed I    cover. OPEN THURSDAY ’TIL 9:00 P.M KROEHLER Uruguay Purging College Staffs MONTEVIDEO. 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