Our legal system is increasingly senseless
Time changes our thinking as to what is acceptable and what is not.
As a student very many years ago, I recall a teacher who would dig her bony fingers into shoulders until students cried. Another, in anger, would routinely pick students up by the ear before giving a whack on the back- side. It was not unusual to be made to sit in a corner (or stand in the trashcan, or be sent into the closet). Striking across the hand with a ruler and spanking were common. At that time, students endured the punishment since any complaint to the parent would result in more distress.
I could go on, but I’m guessing you can recall a few teachers from your past who freely used ridicule and demeaning and hurtful techniques of punishment. As years have passed, complaints that began to come from parents were handled discretely. In- creasingly over time, a more positive classroom atmosphere for students has been realized.
Recently, a substitute teacher intended to throw his shoe against the wall (a technique he learned in the past from an older instructor) in an attempt to get attention and regain order in a classroom. Unfortunately, it hit a student. In an ordinary course of events, he would have realized not to do this again and life would have gone on. But as preposterous as this seems to me, this spur of the moment misjudgment by a 20-year-old (inexperienced) substitute set off a chain of legal actions that will haunt him for years to come.
Let me state here that I do not know this young man. My interest comes from a sense that the resulting charges against him appear extreme. The state can prosecute him at any time during the next three years. A second-degree assault will remain in the criminal record as an inactive case for three years. This is a misdemeanor that could be punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He cannot be employed, or volunteer, for any venue involving minors. He cannot be on any property owned or controlled by the Cecil County Public School system.
Should he have thrown his shoe? No.
Does the punishment remotely fit this blunder? Of course not!
Do other teachers act in various careless ways? Very likely.
But I must ask: Where is the logic?
On what might seem a separate note is the recent acquittal of Kevin Cooper, who was accused of the horrific double homicide of a local couple. The outcome for him was acquittal. I mention this to call attention to the contrast. The murder suspect was released free-and-clear so that he could allegedly engage in mayhem within a month of his release — this time armed robbery.
On the other hand, a young person attempting to contribute to his community had the proverbial ‘book’ thrown at him.
Again, where is the logic? In my opinion, our legal system is losing its sense and sensibility.