Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The End of the Norman Rockwell Cop?

Reading? Check.
Writing? Check.
Arithmetic? Check.
Police brutality? Coming right up.

The Village Voice runs an interesting article about teaching elementary schoolers about their legal rights. It is a follow-up to the newspaper's coverage of the Sean Bell killing, the unarmed man shot to death by zealous New York police officers. Naturally, many young students struggled to make sense of the episode:

"The conversation was unfortunately devolving into an impassioned 'I hate cops' discussion instead of something more constructive," [South Bronx 6th grade teacher Molly Henderson] recalls. "I tried to point out that not all the officers who fired at Sean Bell and his friends were white. But many of these kids have strong feelings about police officers, and one of them, even at age 12, was very vocal about white cops. I knew we had to talk about it, because there's nothing about police brutality or knowing your rights in the curriculum."

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Even if you don't read the article, link to it and check out the photo of Molly Henderson. Where do you think she lives: Williamsburg or the East Village? Hipster teachers are so cool.]


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