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More than most people, as a Black woman, I wish that social structures meant to make things better worked as advertised. Unfortunately, depending on what the people living and working in those structures are doing and what the people in charge of maintaining those structures are doing, they rarely do what they’re supposed to do. The structure and the people.

Now that I’m an employee for the school district, an employee that deals directly with

  • maintaining order,
  • aiding the students,
  • and disciplinary issues

I see the failings of social structures like the school system more clearly than ever and from the prospective of an adult who grew up in those systems. As a child, I was afraid for my life and future because I knew from experience that the system doesn’t do what its supposed to do. Now I not only worry for myself but the kid I work with and the employees who are are put in my position.

For the past two weeks, I now have two jobs and am under an incredible amount of stress. At the school, it has become glaringly obvious that my students, about 500 of them, by and large cannot follow simple directions. The only disciplinary action the administrators offer…

Detention.

And yelling at them and making empty threats.

The problem with this is that detention is not a deterrent to bad/defiant behavior for many of the students. They are are not threatened by it. Many students walk out of detention and go to recess and play anyway.

Fellow co-workers ignore their behavior or don’t care at all. They’re on their phones, waiting to leave, or coddling kids who break the rules with smiles and treats. For them, its a popularity contest or earning a couple of bucks. These coworkers frown at me because I’m actually doing my job and more. I go above and beyond my pay grade and what is required of me. Because I care about the students and I care about their education. Even the principal and the vice principal treat me as if I am reporting things that are of little consequence when I’m only doing what they told me to do.

I’ve had elementary school students make racist remarks to me and commit violent acts against me. I’ve had students cuss at me and threaten me. The principal and the vice principal’s response to any of these given situations?

Detention.

The system is broken.

It undermines the entire purpose of my job when it comes to reporting discipline problems when there are no real consequences for breaking the rules. When the students do not respect my position as a staff member or respect adults in general. My job has no purpose when the principal and the vice principal don’t see that small acts of disobedience like following simple rules meant for everyone often create bigger issues during the school year. My job has no purpose when the principal and the vice principal do nothing to support my authority as an employee and allow students to do whatever they want.

It is tearing me apart and driving me crazy. My students do not understand or respect consequences for their behavior because there are none. My students do not respect adults or other children because they are being taught passively and actively that they don’t have to so they don’t care to. And I also, as much as I care about the kids, have to stand up for myself. The lack of support from my supervisors and coworkers means that I have to choose between myself and the education of students that I care about.

To add stress to insult and more stress, I go to my other job as a government clerk and have to deal with ADULT CHILDREN who never grew up or learned to respect others or their environment. When they started messing with my paycheck, I got so mad I had to go set some stuff straight. If I can help it, they’re not going to take my time, my sanity, and the money I have my time and effort to earn.

The world is mad. Straight up crazy. All I want is a little peace and quiet in a little corner somewhere I can pretend to be away from it all.

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