The impact of belligerence in the classroom or anywhere else in society is real and destructive.
As Minneapolis, Portland, and Seattle experience renewed turmoil propagated by Antifa and other anarchist groups, I am reminded of a time many years earlier. While my daughter was in middle school and high school, and even after she graduated, I volunteered on ‘career day’ to teach in classrooms about being an author and speaker. Other parents in other professions did the same.
I eventually gave it up because, invariably, one or two of the minority students — African American — in each class simply could not sit still. These were 14 and 15 year olds, and this happened in 2014, in President Obama’s sixth of eight years in office.
Obviously in writing this article I could avoid citing their minority status. That might be deemed the ‘politically correct’ thing to do, nevertheless I’m duly recounting what led to my departure.
One certainly could engage in a long sociological discussion about their behavior and what prompts it. They would be disruptive, make one-line comments, sit on their desks, make noises, intentionally seek to distract me, and diminish the quality of interaction in the room. At 6’3″, and an athletic 188 pounds, I could have physically intimidated any of the disruptors, but I did not.
Elective Not Mandatory
These students were not forced to attend such sessions; all of these classes for career day were elective. Students signed up in advance for the presenter in the field in which they were interested, or at least feigned interest. In class, most students listened attentively.
Some asked serious questions. Many were thankful for the session. You could see the look of disdain on their faces when others sought to disrupt the class. It was apparent they had witnessed such intentional disruption many times before.
The Progression to Belligerence
If I had been a full-time teacher, the unprovoked, continuing belligerence of some students would have changed my perception about the profession and about such students. How might I have reacted if the disruptors were Caucasian? I would, unquestionably, have been equally agitated. This didn’t occur, but it could have.
Was I naive in thinking that I could make my annual presentation and remain unscathed? Perhaps. Maybe it was a matter of time before I ran into such belligerence, but I don’t think so.
What happened was a progression: All students in my earlier years were polite. Then, in subsequent years, some disruptors began to emerge in small ways. Then, disruptors set about to openly flaunt classroom decorum.
At least subconsciously, the disruptors incrementally determined what they could get away with, in a variety of situations, without penalty. Undoubtedly, this was in motion long before I arrived on the scene. I surmise that they were constantly testing the waters – with substitute teachers, instructors, coaches, trainers, and any adult authority figure with whom they felt they might gain leverage.
On this last time that I would volunteer in this capacity, and following my last session, I went downstairs to the school office. I told the vice principal and a secretary the reason why I would not return in the future and waste my time. Confidentially, the secretary told me that other presenters had shared the same experience.
To No One’s Benefit
Don’t discount the impact of belligerence in the classroom or anywhere else in society. It is real and destructive. Presently, municipal city police officers face constant war zone-like conditions in areas of high belligerence. Such intense, daily experiences have a deleterious effect on their homeostasis, well-being, judgment, and reflexes.
In that regard, U.S. police officers face more conflict than many soldiers in war zones and suffer the same type of traumas such as PTSD. One can’t help but wonder to what their daily, repeat-exposure to domestic war zones leads. Perhaps PTSD like symptoms are at the root unfortunate, fatal encounters in recent times.
Liberal Mayors and city-councils, in Democrat-run municipalities, who do not support their police forces, play a dangerous game with all of the citizens whom they were elected to govern. Squeamish mayors end up helping no one, and indeed, hurting many.
Only in Imagination
The media machine censors news items about those who act aggressively, but only in the ‘progressive’ imagination are police officers invariably at fault, and the array of perpetrators that they encounter are universally law-abiding and upstanding citizens.