VOTE: Should NJ schools teach students how to interact with police?
When NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio spoke of the time he needed to have “the talk” with his son about how to interact with police – in response to the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents – the voices of criticism were heard far and wide.
DeBlasio’s “talk” was seen as painting the police in a negative light - especially when it comes to police interactions with African American youths.
But whether you see the police as the protectors of the peace or an “occupying force,” one thing is certain - Young people aren’t schooled in how to behave as far as those interactions are concerned.
That’s why a group of New Jersey lawmakers have proposed a bill which would teach kids how to interact with police.
The bill requires school districts to come up with instructions for student as part of their Social Studies Core Curriculum Content Standards that would include
"the role and responsibilities of a law enforcement official in providing for public safety" and "an individual's responsibilities to comply with a directive from a law enforcement official."
Just one quick aside. Will this be included in the PARCC test?
The reason being given for the course, according to Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, stems from the recent death of Michael Brown in Fergurson, Mo. He states that the purpose is not to lay blame at either the police nor the victim; but rather to stop incidents like this before they start.
"Kids have to learn how to behave when they're being investigated or talked to, because they could put themselves in jeopardy," Caputo said. "It's also a good effort to protect the police. Kids have to recognize their authority when they're being questioned and how to conduct themselves."
Once I read this line: “Kids have to recognize their authority…" I knew we were in trouble.
Go back to the incident that had taken place a week and a half ago in Paterson where a student beat down his freshman physics teacher.
I ask you – if a teacher can’t even command respect for himself – then how in God's name are they going to teach respecting a law enforcement officer.
Especially if that respect isn’t even taught – or demanded – at home.
The bill’s intention is good – but, like many bills of its kind, it’s kneejerk – and it places the burden of teaching something as basic as how to respect authority in the hands of educators.
Here again, lawmakers want the school to become the defacto parent – and teach students what they should have learned from jump street.
Do you agree with the proposal that would require districts to teach NJ students how to interact with police?