THIS IS NOT A DEFENSE OF ACTION POST
I figure I'll put that disclaimer in the title because media types regularly like to miss the point in order to get a story to sell papers or advertisments. In the story you can read by following this link to the Seattle Times, a teacher clearly stepped over any boundry between joke and seriousness when he states, "I ought to take whoever is talking in my class, line them up against a wall and shoot them." Let me be very clear, we shouldn't say things like that.
Of course, the story ends up in the news. But the story that doesn't end up in the news, but should as well, is the story of the student "spacing out." No one seems outraged, other than the teacher, that the student wasn't paying attention. Again, this is not an excuse for what the teacher said; I merely point it out because while our media types love a good story about failing schools and how the public education system is failing our students, the media regularly overlooks student behavior.
I'd like to know what "going off" on the student really means. I once sat my Pre-College English class down and had a heart to heart discussion about their grades. I shared my deep concern for their progress. I did not yell; I did not label; I simply shared my disappointment with their approach. Later in the day, a student from the later class walked in and said, "Hey McNamar, 'Susie' said you went off on her class." There's that phrase, went off.
Also, and not defending what the teacher said, how many times in a day do we hear students make statements as absurd and "scary" as what this teacher said. Those students don't end up in the local newspaper. Today, as I walked through the lunch room, an argument was taking place between two students. Some not so nice words, and threats, were spoken. I didn't call up the Seattle Times to have them come write a story about it. Mostly because I knew they would laugh at me.
They are only kids, these students who say whatever they want to say. They don't understand the seriousness of it. So, we'll talk to them, but that's about it. At some point, I would like our society, and media, to focus on the reality of what our teenagers are really like. Believe me, it's a lot worse than what this teacher said--but, I am not supporting or defending what he said.