Hanukkah 2009 is now history, Santa and the reindeer have landed on our roofs, Kwanzaa began Saturday and the Three Kings will arrive next week. These celebrations allow us time to reflect on the true meaning and intent of these special events and to better ourselves and our world. I would like to share some reflections regarding the events of October 29th at Frankford High School and what meaning we can find in this event.
We go to school to learn. Many question what our children are learning and how well they are learning it. But off to school they go. Rules and laws should be in place to protect us. But sometimes things go terribly wrong. PA law mandates that children must attend school between the ages of 8 and 17. However, in Philadelphia, the starting age for mandatory school attendance is 6 years old. There are those, for whatever reason(s), do not regularly attend school and are labeled as truant. The PA Department of Education defines truancy as any unexcused absence from school. Truancy has been cited as a BIG problem in the School District of Philadelphia schools. To address truancy in its schools, the School District of Philadelphia has implemented a plan called ATIPS (Attendance and Truancy Intervention and Prevention Services). If you read the details of this plan, “police stop students who are on public streets or in/around public areas between the hours of 9:00 AM and 11:30 AM every (non-holiday) weekday during the regular school year. The officer first asks for documentation and checks the student’s identification to confirm the student’s name and assigned school. If the student does not have documentation, s/he is escorted to their home school, the nearest age-appropriate school or to one of the district’s Truancy Support Centers.” So the goal appears to be to get students to their schools to learn.
Here’s the scoop regarding the outcome of the investigation! Stopped one block from school, this student admitted he “mouthed off” to the officers by telling them he was already late and continued to walk the one block to school instead of getting in the van that would have taken him to school anyway. Lesson #1 – Let us be respectful in our dealings with each other – old to young – young to old and everyone in between. Our encounters should be positive experiences.
The officers followed the student to school. Once he entered the school, “the student was held down by one officer while another officer beat him.” Lesson 2 – Those with authority can never, ever abuse it. Power doesn’t give any person or country rights over another. The more power you have, the more restrained you must be when using it.
A Frankford High School staff member witnessed this incident and he wrote an email to the School Superintendent asking that the truth be heard. It has been. Lesson #3 – We must act with courage whenever the rights of one of us have been violated. It takes great risk to stand up to right a wrong but exercising our courage will help us do that.
Lastly, all involved in an incident like this are victims. The innocent deserve justice – the guilty need our understanding and help, too! Lesson #4 – we need to be sure those that work with our young people are well-trained and have the necessary skills to deal with the daily stresses and challenges they face.
Learning lessons from such events can help to prevent them in the future. These are the lessons we want to teach our young.
Frankford High School is sponsoring a workshop on what students need in order to graduate from high school. Did you know that your child must accrue 23.5 credits? Do you know how many credits your child has? Come and find out about this and more by attending the “23.5 Credits Workshop” at the High School’s IMC Room (Library) on the first floor on Tuesday, Dec. 15. There are 2 sessions for your convenience – 10:00 AM or 6:00 PM. June is too late to find out your child lacks the necessary credits. When you go, be sure to ask about FamilyNet, the School District’s parent information website where you can keep up with your child’s grades, attendance and to keep informed about their progress. Your active involvement is the best Christmas present. Refer to the following flyer for contact information regarding this workshop.
We first linked to this story on November 3, 2009. The incident is truly unfortunate and while it is still being investigated, many questions remain about what actually happened. However, this young man faces charges of assault at an upcoming hearing. We hope his lawyer is successful in postponing this hearing until the questions are answered and witness accounts are fully heard. Please read more of this story here. Thank you!
"Mr. Fantastic Squirrel"
A few weeks back, my husband noticed that our neighborly squirrel invited himself to the party at the bird feeder. Well, my husband then took action and raised the height of the bird feeder, thinking that he would outsmart the squirrel. On Saturday morning, as we anticipated our first snowfall, we noticed through our kitchen window that the squirrel was having his fill. Of course, we wanted to capture the action. My husband was outsquirreled. Squirrel: 1 Husband: Back to the drawing board. You can see more pictures here. I’ll keep you posted on what my husband decides to do next. (Disclaimer: No animals or humans were harmed during this event.)
Yesterday I had the idea to put down some of the things I am thankful for. Of course, there were things to do to get ready for Thanksgiving but I started making my list as I went about my preparations. I am thankful to live in a country where we are free – free to be who we are and free to work towards who we want to become.
Courage, the Turkey, is Pardoned!
We have dreams – Langston Hughes knew so well “that if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” (Taken from the poem, “A Dream Deferred”.) And, like Courage, the turkey pardoned by President Obama, we are pardoned for yesterday’s mistakes as we make a fresh start each and every day. I am thankful that my husband is always able to see the better side of me. I am so lucky to have him! I am thankful for the relationship I have with my son. I am thankful that my daughter-in-law is always smiling and has brought more smiles into our lives. I am thankful for the rest of my family and their families for sharing the ups and downs of life with me. We are in this together. I am thankful for my mother and mother-in-law who show me every day that you can grow older with grace and patience. I am trying to learn those lessons now. My friends are other sources of thankfulness because of their constancy and support. I am lucky to have them as examples of caring and generosity. I am thankful for my faith that lifts me up and helps me be aware of others, rather than just myself, and encourages me to reach out to them. Today is Thanksgiving! We are reminded of all that we can be thankful for this day as we share it with family and friends. Being thankful is something to express everyday – yes, things could always be better or different, but being thankful reminds us of what we have today! And, today is very precious, as Courage knows, because that’s all we can really count on! What are you thankful for?