Thursday, March 10, 2011

Good Kids

Writers and directors who put together movies in which the handicapped kid is mocked by the popular kids, or by any kids, or even just ignored are either stupid or ignorant.  Yes, kids get teased and cruelly, but they are never--and let me make this clear: NEVER--the kids with "legitimate" and visible special needs.  The 7th and 8th graders I work with now, as well as all the other high schoolers and middle schoolers I've worked with over the last decade, are silent heroes, helping, guiding, encouraging and all without even being asked.  Of course, this doesn't spare geeks and the preternaturally awkward, but that's not my point (and, yeah, if we split hairs, we all have special needs).  Certainly we're not entirely innocent, and such helping hands don't absolve humanity from other atrocities, but seeing such service warms my heart.

On an entirely different note, I have a student whose first name is "Amisi," pronounced (seriously) "ah-MEE-zee."  I can hardly believe the kids don't giggle every time I take roll; maybe I'm still just too accustomed to high school.


  1. Yeah, I agree. It's not to say that meanness has been eradicated. I think that bullying is still strong when it comes to issues of sexual orientation, weight, or, as you said, social awkwardness. But I think that kids are doing a better job than they get credit for when it comes to things like physical or mental handicaps.

  2. I've seen ... I guess you could call them "pockets" of kids among populations that seem able to overlook even these sorts of polarizing differences. I'm not a sociologist, and I'm not sure how it all fits together, but the kid mocked--whoever he/she is--I believe is the target of some jealousy in bully. Insecurity is the most obvious factor--that is some insecure bully makes fun of someone else to build himself up--but I think there's jealousy there as well. It warrants research that I don't have the time or means to do (and which has already been done), but it's something that interests me--enough so that I'm considering pursuing criminal defense in my law studies, but in the direction of child and adolescent defense....