Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Another Prick In The Wall

Apathy Jack writes:

“Hi Mister!”
“Hi. Hey, smack your brother for me.”
“Alright. (Long pause) Wait, why?”
“Because he’s been bad.”
“You don’t teach my brother.”
“So how do you know he’s been bad.”
“Because I know everything, remember?”
“Oh yeah, that’s right.”

See, really, I can see how things like the David Benson Pope thing can happen. Today, while supervising a dance practice, I slammed a door in the face of a crying boy, and told a student in all seriousness that she should kill herself.

Now, out of context, those stories sound pretty damning. However, there is a context. As I’ve mentioned before: My students are not isolated anecdote-friendly incidents, they are very complex individuals, and I know them better than you do. So slamming a door or two will work, and you’ll have to trust me on that, because I don’t see you pulling thirteen hour days looking after these kids.

Meh. I don’t mean to complain - if it weren’t for this job, I would have gone my whole life without ever saying the sentence “You hoodrats are lucky the Charleston is so similar to the C-Walk.”

There are two things that make me a bit angry about the Benson Pope thing.

Firstly, while I don’t usually like to shoot the messenger, Rodney Hide does “earnest concern” so badly that you can actually see insincerity oozing from his pores as he sweats with the effort of attempted probity. Hide is backed in this instance by National’s Judith Collins, in the news at the end of last year for trying to introduce a bill that would have forced doctors to inform the parents of teenage girls needing abortions. How dare someone lecture the country about the safety of high school students when they’ve been trying to introduce legislation that would have seen the death toll among South Auckland teenagers increase exponentially.

Secondly: I was watching a Campbell Live interview with Tennis-Ball-Breath, and he asked; What could he do? He was helpless and there was nothing he could have done to stop the evil maniac gagging him and tying his hands.

Nothing at all, he reckoned.

If I pulled out a tennis ball and some gaffer tape, my students would beat the shit out of me.

So there is something he could have done. Sure, he was probably smaller and less Tongan than a lot of my kids, but getting the hell out of the classroom and complaining to another teacher probably wasn’t outside the realms of possibility at some point during the lesson.

I discussed the issue with my class today (it was news day – we talk about current affairs). I brought a tennis ball along by way of demonstration.

By the time the bell rang twenty minutes later, it had been half-inched off my desk without my even noticing.

So sure, Benson Pope is a sadist, a monster, and whateverthefuckelse they want to call him, but bugger the culture of victimhood that says there was nothing anyone could do until an election year three decades later.


Anonymous said...

Damn straight.

I feel the same way about "victims" of sexual and physical abuse. I mean, all these stories about someone creeping in and abusing them. They could have run away. They could have told someone else in authority. They could have knocked the abuser out with a handy frypan.

Bugger this culture of victimhood that says they couldn't do anything and complaining about it years later.

Apathy Jack said...

Room full of witnesses, and yet none of them do a thing until an election year?

I don't believe that timing for a second.

Anonymous said...

So first it's the victims fault. Then it's the messenger.

The truth of the matter is that David Benson-Pope has dug his own grave.

If it really wasn't a big deal, he should have answered differently. Instead, he chose to say that the allegations were "disgraceful" and that the allegations were "preposterous".

I'm struggling to understand your position, Apathy.

Is it, that the behaviour was o.k?

Is it that the behaviour was not o.k, but it shouldn't have been brought up.

Is it that it should have been brought up, but earlier, so now it doesn't count.

It it that it should have been brought up, just not when the timing is bad.

Apathy Jack said...

My position on beating school children has always been clear - it is both Necessary and Good...

Firstly, I haven't entirely made up my mind as to whether it actually happenend the way it is supposed to have. As I said, things have contexts, and out of context, they sound worse than they may have been.

However, take as read that Benson Pope is a horrible child abusing monster.

Where has Tennis Ball Features been for the last 25 years? Why didn't he report it at the time? Okay, victims of abuse often don't. Why, then, did one of the other students not report it? I know every indiscretion committed at my school because the students tell me about them - I've helped several of them lodge formal complaints. There are no secrets of that size in a school, so if it was comparable to "sexual and physical abuse" as you claim, then how come nothing was done for 25 years? How come there are not dozens of ex-staff members and hundreds of ex-pupils now saying "Yeah, we heard about that"?

Also, if Racketdentures did finally come to his senses and decide to report on a horriying incident of abuse that, in a class of thirty, only two or three other people saw (and trust me - it's hard to tie a student to anything without some manner of spectacle), then why wait until jut shy of the election? Why not while Benson Pope was still teaching? Why not before Benson Pope became Associate Education Minister? Why not immediately after he was appointed, instead of this close to election time?

Also, if this was comparable in the victim's mind to sexual abuse, why would he take it to the politicians rather than the police? Remember, it was only taken to the filth at the insistance of Benson Pope himself.

And just while we're here: Hows about a name? Debating against someone called 'anonymous' is just undignified...