BY SHARON MARTIN
He had, but what the reporter didn’t say was that the first arrest happened when he was barely 18. His accomplices, both 17, didn’t serve any time for the robberies, but he did.
The article also didn’t say that the getaway vehicle for one of the string of incidents for which the high school boys, all students of mine, had been arrested was a bicycle or that the weapon was a BB gun.
Did that make it any less serious? No. Armed robbery’s a serious offense, and this youthful stupidity had serious consequences.
As the news story outlined the sordid incident, it didn’t tell the public what I, his former teacher knew – that the kid was funny, but he was also street smart. He had to be. And he craved a loving family. He could have been something special.
Most schools, especially those in poor areas, aren’t given the tools to help students overcome parents that can’t or won’t do the right things for their children. And as we step up the testing and cut out the funding, more and more children who need more than their teachers can give them will not get the help they and their families sorely need.
School must be a community effort. Parents must be a vital part of that community, and not just as cheerleaders for the football team.
Schools need to teach life skills, civic responsibility, and the arts, not just reading, writing, and arithmetic. We must teach young people and their parents how to navigate the social world. We must give them tools to build strong families.
Contrary to what you hear in the press, we are turning out students who can do higher order math. We are also turning away those who are doomed to sad lives because of our focus on core subjects.
Forget Common Core; we have to nurture the whole child. We have to help students build lives so they can do better by their children than their parents did for them.
We have to focus on families.
Until we do, there will be more lost souls like the young man in the mug shot for whom I mourn.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer