Friday, April 06, 2007

13-Year-Old Arested In School For Writing On Desk

(CBS) NEW YORK In this day and age where young students are frequently charged for serious school offenses such as possessing weapons, dealing drugs, or assaulting other students on school property, one Brooklyn teen's arrest may come as a surprise. A 13-year-old girl was handcuffed and placed under arrest in front of her classmates in Dyker Heights after she wrote "Okay" on her desk.

The "suspect," Chelsea Fraser, says she's sorry for scribbling the word on her desk, but both she and her mother are shocked at the punishment.

"I'm appalled, because here we have rapists, murderers, and you're taking a 13-year-old kid? Wasting valuable manpower to arrest a child who wrote on a desk?" Fraser's mother Diana Silva told CBS 2.

Police confirm that that's exactly what's written on her arrest record and for the crime, she's been charged with criminal mischief and the making of graffiti. Fraser says the day she marked her desk, she was wrongly grouped together with troublemakers who had plastered stickers all over the classroom.

Fraser was arrested at the Dyker Heights Intermediate School on March 30 along with three other male students. She says she was made to empty her pockets and take off her belt. Then she was handcuffed and led out of the school in front of her classmates and placed in the back of a police car.

"It was really embarrassing because some of the kids, they talk, and they're going to label me as a bad kid. But I'm really not," Fraser said. "I didn't know writing 'Okay' would get me arrested."

"All the kids were ... watching these three boys and my daughter being marched out with four -- they had four police officers -- walking them out, handcuffed," Silva said. "She goes to me, 'Mommy, these hurt!'

"The students were taken to the 68th Precinct station house where Silva says they were separated for three hours. "MY child is 13-years-old -- doesn't it stand that I'm supposed to be present for any questioning?" Silva said. "I'm watching my daughter, she's handcuffed to the pole. I ask the officer has she been there the entire time? She says, 'Yes.'"

On her report card, under conduct, Fraser has earned all "satisfactory" marks and one "excellent" mark.

"My daughter just wrote something on a desk. I would have her scrub it with Soft Scrub on a Saturday morning when she should be out playing, and maybe a day of in-house and a formal apology to the principal," Silva said.

CBS 2 contacted both the NYPD and the Board of Education for a response. The police say the arrests followed a request by the school's principal. The Board of Education said the matter is under investigation, adding that graffiti was found on several desks.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

In his preface, Philip Zimbardo stated that he didn’t want to write a book after his Stanford Prison experiment ended because he didn’t want to relive the negative emotions that the experiment caused. He agreed to write a book only after the nefarious events in the Abu Ghraib prison and being an expert witness for one of the Abu Ghraib guards. He didn’t want to write it, but he did. I didn’t want to read it, but I did.

I knew about the experiment. However, it has been so many years ago that I had forgotten where it happened and I knew none of the details. It happened when I was a graduate student at CMU. A professor may have talked about it. I only remembered that the experiment was important.

As I read the book, events that had happened in the education institution where I was either a student or a teacher flashed back. Some of the events that happened in the Stanford Prison experiment had happened in schools where I taught. Events then past by me without realizing what I had witnessed. Reading the Lucifer Effect opened my awareness: kind of late. Now I know what should have been stopped and what to avoid.

Philip wrote in detail about the behavior of an assistant that had been imprisoned and paroled prior to being made a part of the Stanford Prison experiment. I thought that he would have been sympathetic to the plight of the student prisoners. Empathy should have caused him to not do to them what was done to him [The Golden Rule]. That was not the case.

This is what I realized from reading what was written about the paroled prisoner that became the chairman of the Parole Board at the Stanford Prison. When roles are reversed after someone has had their self-esteem attacked by system authority figures, they will egregiously wage an attack on someone else’s self-esteem and then justify it with eloquent reasoning or defend themselves with anger. Knowing this is another reason why you should read The Lucifer Effect. You owe it to your students to understand how good people turn evil. The best way to do that is to read The Lucifer Effect.