Today the Supreme Court did a good thing, no more death penalty for those who commit crimes when they are juveniles. To hear people discuss it,however, you would think that the Supreme Court took away everyone's Christmas present. For a bunch of Christians, these Americans are strangely pro-death penalty. I am positive that Christ himself would support the execution of juveniles while they are still juveniles. Amen.
I wanted to discuss the opinion with my students. I wanted them to see what an actual opinion looks like. We went up on line in the classroom and saw it. As we talked about what it meant my students opened up about their legal issues and problems.
I was stunned.
One young woman asked about what to do when her boyfriend beat her. Should she call the police from their appartment, should she leave the scene, should she sleep on it and call the next day.
I feel odd discussing the elegance of a Supreme Court decision with its beautiful citations and form when these students experience such violence.
One young man, so full of energy and intelligence asked if his girl friend had a restraining order against him and she walked into their favorite club and he was there, should he leave or should she? I told him bluntly to be a man, don't argue over some childish right to be drinking in their favorite club, and leave. Just walk away. Why don't she have to do that, he begged. Why don't we skip over that part and you be the adult and leave, I replied.
How can we teach the civilization of this Supreme Court decision to people who live with such violence as part of their lives?
I don't think it was a wasted class. I think our textbooks and our curriculum should address the violence that is our students' lives. They asked me who to call if the neighbors are abusing their children. I replied that a call to the police would certainly work and that Child Protective Services would investigate. I told them if they did not call the police they were making the abuse possible because they are aware of it and are doing nothing.
And I'm going to conferences.