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C'est la Z

Why are police held to such a lower standard than teachers?

My friend Neal Zupancic, actually former student, friend, and long time teacher Neal Zupancic posted this on Facebook.

It's 100% spot on. I'd add my two cents but Neal captured it better than I ever could.

Take a minute to read it:

In my ten years of teaching, I've dealt with a number of situations that could have potentially turned dangerous. I've taught in public schools and private; urban schools and rural. I have de-escalated every last one of those situations. I have never once used force. I once broke up a fist fight using only my voice and my presence.

I've never felt the need to announce that before, because it's just a part of my profession. Every teacher knows it and most of the public knows as well. And there are teachers who have been in far more dangerous situations than I have. Teachers who deal with gang activity, drug dealers, kids who bring weapons to school with the intent to use them, kids who fight and don't necessarily stop when you show up. I know teachers who have been assaulted by students. I know teachers who have been threatened by students, including with deadly weapons. Every teacher is expected to deal with every one of these situations without using force or violence. Some of us are well-trained, and some of us are thrown in and just go on instinct. But we de-escalate. We calm. We soothe. We help. We repair and restore the community. We heal people. We build an environment in which those we are responsible for can thrive.

I keep seeing people ask "who would want to be a cop if you could get fired for doing your job?" But literally any teacher could do that job without killing people. Literally any teacher would have had the patience to talk George Floyd into getting into that police car instead of tossing him on the ground and murdering him. Literally any teacher would have let Rayshard Brooks get away rather than shooting him dead, knowing that the system would provide accountability for his resisting arrest and that you didn't have to be his executioner. Literally any teacher knows that by the time you are in a power struggle with a student, you have already lost. Literally. any. teacher.

I hear these cops whining on social media and it sickens me. They wouldn't last a day teaching. And of course we see that when we see how often cops in schools arrest kids for routine behavior problems that teachers could have solved peacefully. We already know cops can't handle teenagers without resorting to force. We already know cops in schools exacerbate racism and inequality - just like they do outside of schools.

And the reason for that is that we fire teachers who can't control their tempers. We fire teachers who use force rather than let them stay on the job and keep escalating that force until they kill someone. We weed out the bad apples. And no teacher would ever dream of protesting or walking off the job in support of someone who got fired for assaulting a student. Are you kidding me?

I'm reading posts in teacher's groups about going back to school in fall - or in some cases, in July or August to extend the school year - without adequate protection from coronavirus, without enough room in their halls and classrooms to socially distance, without funding for hand sanitizer or wipes or masks, without training or PD on blended or distance learning, without promised raises because municipalities have lost tax revenue because of corona - and then I see cops who walk around in body armor and work for departments that own tanks, whining about how hard their jobs are because they're finally catching flak for shooting people, and it's like - what are your priorities? Where is your perspective? What kind of society do you expect to raise into the next generation when you'll fund a militarized occupying force with impunity for homicide but you won't buy teachers masks and sanitizer during a pandemic?

And teachers never, ever, ever whine like these cops do. My students don't even whine like these cops do.

Seriously - where do they find these people? Our job is a hundred times harder and if we mess up even once the way cops do every day, we're out in a heartbeat. And yet if I whined about it the way cops whine about it, people would say "hey man, maybe you should stfu and find a different job." And they'd be right.

So to all the cops out there who think they have it rough: You ain't nothing compared to a teacher. STFU and find a different job.

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