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View Sample Pages : Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 15, 1974

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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 15, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 4A Tie Cedar Baplds Gazette: Wed., May 15. 1974 Totalitarian Schools Are Adding to Problems B> Tom Tiede WASHINGTON A local teacher (ells the agoniz- ing story of a shy .vouiig pupil who was too embarrassed to ask for a pass to visit the school lavatory. Thus inhibited, the lad his pants regularly, became the object of peer derision, earned the nickname 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 per- 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 repula- tory lists which, at most schools in America, are ab- solute 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 punish- ment. 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 and warned they would be dropped from the squad if they broke the agreement. Child advocate Eda Leshane Uruguay Purging College Staffs MONTEVIDEO, .Uruguay (AP) Resident Bordaberry says the government plans to fire all university staff members who cannot prove "noteworthy democratic af- filiations." He called on university officials to cooperate with military and police intelligence services in an investigation of the faculties and other staff members. Observers assumed that Marxists are the target of the purge. But Bordaberry also outlawed a right-wing or- ganization named Tradition. Family and Propriety, charg- ing that it was an extremist group. Togo President Changes Name LOME, Togo (AP) President Etienne Eyadema has abandoned his "imported Christian first name" and taken the African name of Ghansimgbe. He said he had no desire to influence other citizens to do likewise and he would continue to be a Christian. Enjoy extra spending money. Order a want ad! says children sometimes get warnings for overdue library books that hint of sabotaging the child's future employment attempts. Loses Rights The illustrations arc not isolated. Though the U.S. supreme court has determined that neither "students nor teachers shed their constitu- tional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse 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 administra- tive personnel. In many schools, students are subject to physical retaliation for real or imagined faults (Dallas school officials administered lickings in In many schools pupils are not allowed any expression, much less freedom of it. at times the teacher wishes quiet. sum, the American educa- tion system does not hold with the Bill 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 hyper- active kids, even though many medical opinions question the practice. Instances Cited In Boston recently, a child advocacy group discovered 600 foreign-speaking children who could not attend school because administrators refused to provide bilingual facilities. In the South, according to officials of the Robert Kennedy Foundation, as many as black youths have been "pushed out" of classrooms through discriminatory treat- ment. To be sure, the abuses vary from institution to institution and teacher to teacher, but at least one constitutionally ques- tionable practice prevails na- tionwide. According to Dr. William Pharis. director of the National Assn. of Elementary School Principals, all schools in the nation keep files on children and most keep the files secret from either pupil or parent inspection. The confidential file system is-, naturally, historic in American schools. But Dr. Pharis says that does not make t any less repulsive today. Much of the youngster's life is represented in the school data, and a good deal of private. opinion besides. Records include grades, psychologist reports, medical histories and very often, with varying degrees of accuracy, personal notations of conduct, deport- ment, character, even per- sonality. It is not unusual for an angry instructor, for good reason or no, to record for posterity the opinion that "this kid is a real sad jerk." Shocked by System The system shocks Pharis. He says not only is it wrong to keep secret files on anybody, even children, but it can be destructive as well. "It's the old self-fulfilling prophesy syndrome. Most of what people are is what they've become from other people's input. So if teachers continue to harp on a child's actions, using the files, the child may soon come to behave as he's expected to behave." In other words, the marginal comments in the secret files may not help so much as hurt the development of a young- ster. But even without (he sociological implications, the files create problems. Students resent them because they can't see them. Parents grow sus- picious of the data-gathering institution and its values, not to mention its democratic prin- ciples. Moreover, says an official with the U. S. department of education: "Though the files are supposed to be confiden- tial, they sometimes go public. Who knows how many jobs have been lost, for example, because an employer found disqualifying traits on the past records of Encouragingly, the secret file system may be on the wav out. Several schools, includ- ing Zachary Lane elementary outside Minneapolis, have adopted open file techniques. Zachary Principal David Dooley says parents often keep the dossiers at home, there is space in the files for both parent and teacher observa- tions, and very often the student himself is the one filling in new file information. Other Abuses Even as the idea spreads, -NAESP Director Pharis predicts the courts will soon rule fur the nation as a whole: I A very cool up-date I of the twenties look, this cotton flared off-face brim clears the way for casual time schedules eyecatching zig zag stitching completes a cool wearing look that makes us "remember back when..." In a full array of colors. a hint of gatsby's girl ARMSTRONG MILLINERY SECOND FLOOR "Nobody has a right to keep secret data on anybody, 1 think the courts will agree." But even if this one civil abuse is removed from schools, dozens more will likely remain: Censorship of student newspapers, areas off-limits to students, careless administra- tors who deal with names and numbers rather than children. Thus with the cost of educa- tion skyrocketing now billion a year growing ar- mies of both students and parents believe the expendi- tures should provide for the inclusion of justice in the daily lessons. (Thursday: Spare the rod, spoil the Weather, Smog, Headlines Linked to Mental Stress By Alton Blakeslfe DETROIT (AP) Weather conditions, air pollution and news headlines all play a role in mental health but each has a different effect, a University of Pennsylvania research team reports. The researchers said (heir 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 The least linkage was between psychiatric emergen- cies and news headlines, Dr. John Valentine of Philadelphia told the American Psychiatric Assn. on Thursday. However, headlines convey- ing 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 self-destructive ways or sehavior damaging to others, Valentine said. "Favorable headlines may encourage bravado" and thus ndirectly lead to fatal ac- cidents, he said. The study was conducted by a team in the department of isychiatry at (he University of 'ennslyvania school of nedicihe. Valentine said the group was seeking reasons for the marked variability noted in (he types and frequencies of "psychia- tric emergencies" bringing people into contact with psychiatrists, or sometimes leading tu homicide. The study covered 879 per- sons during the summer of 1973 in Philadelphia, he said. High Pressure Among weather effects, (he researchers found high barometric pressure was as- sociated with more people seeking help for depressions, while days of low pressure brought on more cases of in- toxication. They'll Do It Every Time 0UMMIM6 THE 6ALS WHO PRESS LIKE SUMMER SAILORS ITS WOMEN'S 1.183 ANSWER TO THE MAY0S OMUY SEEMS JAM'fflEALICE THAT WAY.' AetueeowN.1 UIKE VTHbi .-.c GONNA TAKE SOOR TEMPER- Something Special Club THURSDAY 'TIL KROEHLER For the Traditional Minded Reversible zippered cushions. Includes arm caps and pillows. Skirted luxurious looking velvet in choice of colors. Love Seat and Chair Available Contemporary Styling Biscuit tufted back and seat. 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