**This post is pretty long and it takes a lot of twists and turns, but bear with me, I’ll get you there. **
“Just the facts ma’am. Just the facts,” is something that Sgt. Joe Friday, a fictional character, from Dragnet says. However in real life, there’s a lot more than facts to consider when you’re dealing with people.
The story began last night when I was talking to Sam, my oldest son, about a post that I wrote entitled,”Letter Response to an Angry Commenter Regarding the Jena 6“. I wrote the letter in response to an angry commenter with much too much time on his hands. He was harassing me. He let me know how disgusting he thought black people were. I tried to be fair and publish his comments, but he was feeding off of the negative attention that he was getting so I had to cut him off and stop publishing his comments.
Another part of this story relates to a talk that I had with my husband about an activity that I did in my class on the legal foundations of special education. My teacher split us up into four groups, with each of us tackling a specific part of the text. Well, my group tackled Hendrick Hudson District Board of Education v. Rowley (1982), a case that involved a deaf/hearing impaired child.
Her parents sued the school district because they did not believe that their daughter was getting a Free Appropriate Public Education (F.A.P.E.), so they asked the district to provide a sign-language interpreter for their daughter on a full-time basis. The school district refused. Well, the Section 504 regulation requires a school district to provide a F.A.P.E. to each qualified person with a disability who is in the school’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the person’s disability.
According to this, the school district should have provided a F.A.P.E. However the Supreme Court denied it on the grounds that the school district didn’t have to “develop the maximum potential of students with disabilities; that the law was intended only to give students access to educational opportunities”.
Well, initially I agreed with the Supreme Court’s decision strictly because of the precedent that it was setting. This was my take on things: If the court decided that they needed to give this child extra services, then many more people were going to come out of the “woodworks” asking for extra services which could potentially cost millions of dollars.
That was all fine and dandy until one of my classmates mentioned that she had a problem with it because her little sister was deaf and needed an interpreter in class. My classmate then asked how the child in question could have a free and appropriate public education if she couldn’t communicate with the teacher. A sign language class was only offered to her teachers if they wanted it. So the student in question was not, in fact, getting a free and appropriate public education because she didn’t have fair access. How could she have fair access if she didn’t understand what was being said?
“Okay,” I thought to myself, maybe she does have a case.
However, the Supreme Courts’ ruling stood. But the school district that my classmates sister was in did decide to hire her sister a teacher and an aide who signed. What we took away from that was that the school district could do it if they wanted to, but because of the Supreme Courts’ ruling, they were under no obligation to do this.
This leads me directly into my next point- the human factor. When dealing with anything to do with people, there is always the human factor. By that, I mean that you can’t just look at the facts. You have to look at the person involved.
In this case, it took my classmates’ deaf sister to change my mind. That is why I would like to pose the question to all those out there who think that these teenagers should get 22 years of their life taken away.
Could you tell their mothers to their faces that their children deserve jail time? Could you tell Mychal Bell’s mother that her son should not be free until he’s 38 yrs. old? Could you honestly say it to her face and not care about the hurt and pain in her eyes? Could you honestly tell these mothers that their sons deserve to be in jail for the rest of their teenage years? All of their 20′s and almost all of their 30′s?
Could you honestly discount the human factor and tell her that? Because if you can, I would like to know if you’re an organ donor, ’cause someone else could use that heart that you’re not using!
With anything, there is always the human factor involved. It took my classmates sister to make me see that the Supreme Court was wrong. Although I do agree with why they did it, I don’t agree with the people that are hurt by it.
What will it take those who think that these boys should get this type of treatment, just because of the color of their skin, to realize that these young men are people too and we don’t need just the facts?
I am really trying to be fair with this thing, but there is no way that I could say that these boys deserve to have the bulk of their lives taken away because I’m just not going to say it. I do feel for Justin Barker, the boy that was beaten up, but there is just no way on God’s green earth that these boys deserve this type of treatment. No way! No how!
Think about! Could you tell his mother something like this?
Filed under: Food for thought, In the know!!, life, update | Leave a Comment »