Our State of Mind by Robin Martin McCaskill – What about the many school aged children who need small or even one on one learning environments? What about the children that experience being bullied for being different. Special education learners are the typical targets of humiliation, pranks, as are LGBGTQ+, English language learners or children who are immigrants to this country, and the economically disadvantaged.
Each of these groups has unique characteristics that if studied and researched would benefit from virtual learning.
For example, students placed in self-contained classes are seen as ‘special’ the slang to indicate or infer a person not intelligent, somewhat like Gronkowski in the USAA commercial, when he says, “I’m special.”
This is not a joke, If you are the child being characterized as ‘special’ by the non disabled children. Some of these special education chlldren have paraprofessionals assigned as one-on-one aides that escort them to each class, to assist in the classroom, which stands out in a middle and high school for all to see. For all of the bullies to target them with humiliating pranks, manipulation. Then the crowning outcomes, of laughter, embarrassment, and middle school gossip.
Self-identified LGBTQ+ are targets, vulnerable targets for the anti-LGBTQ+. They are typically observed in two ways, extremely shy in school, so present as introverts, at least when it comes to oral expressions. Virtual learning as an option is more comfortable to them. They have a degree of independence or even control of choice and voice, as to how they participate, with less pressure than being in-person.
ELL and immigrant students, most of these students also present as shy, or attempt to be accepted by the predominant school culture. This makes it difficult for them to focus on academics as the real priority. The predominant population of the school environment determines the success or failure of acceptance and socialization of this group.
Virtual learning limits the distractions of the desire to be accepted or the possibility of subversive humiliation in class, lunch or physical education. Virtual learning offers them the opportunity to exclude the outside noise or distractions that will impede their progress. Teachers have technology available to monitor and report behavior real time.
Which leads to the socialization so many have said is necessary for children, that only being in school can provide.
Sorry socialization, is at times cruel. The different and naive students are humiliated. The immature pranksters face disciplinary actions that are permanently etched on their school record. You have heard of the school to prison pipeline.
Mass school shootings also are the result of poor, misguided, unchecked socialization of our children.
Recently, Oxford High School in Michigan, a 15 year old by the name of Ethan Crumbley, suggested he was bullied, which led him to come to school with a gun, to shoot, and then kill his innocent vulnerable classmates as a method to resolve his torment.
If that public school had a virtual option, among other social options, just maybe those four children would be alive, and Ethan getting the therapy he so desperately needed.
Students socialize virtually now! They are more skilled than most adults, with developers who are adults creating the very platforms available to them. How to properly socialize with peers in virtual spaces to develop character remains possible. With the use of parental controls, institutional guidance and technology social norms can be properly achieved.
Finally, ask a college student about having the option of virtual learning. Middle and high school students that go to college are getting a valuable experiential lesson in virtual learning for the future.
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
1777 – Prince Hall, founder of the first African American Masonic lodge petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for funds to return to Africa. The first recorded plan to return to the homeland.
1863- January 1, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect.
1953 – January 10, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is founded, with Dr. King,Jr. President