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Reflection #3

lcarrenoro's picture

For my field placement, I tutor one to two elementary school children on a weekly basis as a part of an afterschool program. A few weeks ago, my peers and I unintentionally arrived nearly thirty minutes early and the elementary students were not released for afterschool tutoring yet so we patiently waited in the hallway for them to arrive when something in particular caught my eye. Alongside ESL pamphlets and food nutrition pamphlets was one pamphlet that stood out to me—on the cover it stated in bolded letters “FIGHT BACK AGAINST: Drugs, gangs, robbery, vandalism, violence, and weapons in your school by calling WeTip inc”. And the pamphlet went on to describe how an individual can anonymously report a crime and potentially receive up to a $1,000 reward by reporting though a specific number and website.

This pamphlet prompted me to begin asking many questions about the environment and the concept of safety within and outside of a school setting and the impact it can have on a student’s education. So as a result of my curiosity I began to question: is this a standard program for all public schools in this area? Was the school required to implement this program or was it the school’s choice? Was there a particular instance that “set off” an insecure feeling that led to the execution of this program? From what I discovered from the WeTip website, it is a service that can be bought by schools and companies in order to secure anonymity of anyone reporting a tip and the service has been in existence since 1972.

Personally, one of the most unsettling questions I had about this pamphlet was why in the world was this in an elementary school? I remember having something similar to this in my middle school but not in elementary school. And why was there an elementary aged child on the cover using a cellphone? Does the elementary school expect their students to report any suspicious behavior? I found this provocative pamphlet in way a “slice of classroom life” because the environment, in which a student is exposed to while in school, (whether it is considered safe or unsafe by community standards) can have a profound impact on the comfort of a teacher when interacting with students and vice versa. This can ultimately influence the teaching and learning process within a classroom. The very idea of trying to promote a safer school and community in a way implies that to some degree that the current or previous predicament was once that of an unsafe or dangerous nature.

In relation to one of the articles we read titled, “The Having of Wonderful ideas” on page eight the author truly illustrates why I found this pamphlet so startling and unsettling in the elementary school, “Certainly the material world is too diverse and too complex for a child to become familiar with all of it in the course of an elementary school career”. I feel as though if I were to ask a seven year old if s/he knew what things like drugs or vandalism was they would not know. But the real question that I believe needs to addressed in our ever changing society is should they know? Would placing this knowledge in the hands of a seven or eight year old make their lives safer in the short term or more at risk in the long run?