Generally speaking, there’s no more “safe space” for law-abiding citizens than when the police occupy part of it, but this didn’t stop a New England school district from ending a program designed to build bridges between children and law enforcement.
Reporting on the story, the Associated Press writes, “A Massachusetts police department's program that sent officers into elementary schools one day a week to greet and high-five students has been ended because some people complained.”
“Northampton police started ‘High Five Friday’ in December as a way to foster better relationships between police and children,” the AP continued.
But the event was nixed last week after concerns that some students could react “negatively” upon seeing uniformed officers in school. In particular, some snowflake parents/activists worried about the response of “people of color” (as opposed to people of no color), illegal-alien kids, “or other children who may have had negative encounters with law enforcement,” as the Daily Hampshire Gazette put it.
Wow, only in grammar school, and they already have a sour relationship with police. Their futures are bright.
What ever happened to the days when kids thought it was cool to meet a cop in a uniform?
Really, though, this is yet another example of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. Northampton police chief Jody Kasper acknowledged that the complaints about the program were few, yet she and school district superintendent John Provost terminated the program nonetheless. As the New York Times reports:
“Certainly we do not want to have our officers at a school and have kids, even if it’s a handful of kids, be traumatized and have a negative experience with our officers,” Chief Kasper said in an interview on Tuesday. “That’s the opposite of the goal we’re trying to accomplish.”
She noted that most of the response to the effort had been positive, but said the police needed to listen to those who felt otherwise.
“We are everyone’s police,” she said. “Not just the majority, and not just the minority.”
Actually, though, since the Times also reports that parents “overwhelmingly supported the program,” Kasper is acting as the minority’s police — making policy based on minority will.
Perhaps she ought to ponder the words of monk and poet John Lydgate: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
And right now she’s pleasing most of the people none of the time. Her department’s Facebook page is being deluged with complaints from angry parents, and a “petition is circulating to reinstate the program,” the Times informs.
Much as with the story yesterday about teachers being ousted from the classroom merely for supporting the enforcement of immigration law, this is an example of moral reality turned on its head. The police are “deported” from a school because illegal aliens may find them intimidating? Would we make the same allowances for students carrying contraband?
As for citizen students reacting negatively, wasn’t this reality the whole point behind the program’s creation? The Gazette writes that the event was “billed as a way for officers to connect with students and show support for schools,” and the Left — especially in this age of Trumpian border ambitions — preaches about “building bridges, not walls.” Yet the opportunity to build bridges between the cop-cowering students and the police ended with the program.
We could also wonder: Since some children have had negative encounters with educators (I was one of them), will teachers be kicked out of school, too?
This gets at an important point. Much as how “offensiveness” can’t be a reliable guide for rules because it’s wholly subjective, neither can irrational fears. For everyone is afraid of something and most everything evokes fear in someone (ergo phobias). And which fears are catered to perhaps tells us more about the authorities than those they claim to be protecting.
Massachusetts Senate president Stan Rosenberg made this point, stating, reports the Boston Herald, “It’s so interesting how often adults sort of project their problems and their whatevers onto the children as opposed to just letting things sort out naturally. There isn’t a child getting off that bus who shouldn’t learn and understand that the police are there to help. And if there is a problem in a particular family, then there are ways for the family and the police and others to be helpful to bridge that gap.”
For sure. It’s entirely understandable, for instance, that a child hailing from a Third World nation with corrupt police may feel apprehension at the sight of the men in blue. But not that long ago people would have instinctively understood the proper response: You take the student aside and gently explain that the police visiting his school are there as friends.
Some might also wonder about the parenting evident here. If your child has some irrational cop phobia, do you try to educate and change his mind? Or should you moan and groan and try to change all of society to accommodate irrationality?
Having said this, how many of the complainers are such parents, as opposed to Caucasian leftists practicing their paternalistic bearing of the white liberals’ burden?
Whatever the case, this story certainly does accord with the snowflake spirit of the age, where we mollycoddle instead of mold, kowtow and not correct — and shelter kids from all the wrong things.
If people object to today’s inundation of children with sexual messages in “education” and entertainment, they’re told “You can’t raise kids in a bubble!” But when it comes to the truths that hurt but inspire growth, we’re suddenly to ensconce them in bubble wrap.
Thus do we have college-campus “safe spaces” where a few snowflake undergraduates are shielded from positions and even people (i.e., whites) that may “disturb” them. And thus do we have schools where a handful of snowflake children are shielded from friendly police interaction because this, supposedly, will disturb them.
Does this do students any favors? True education involves teaching the young to tackle contrary beliefs and either accept them as Truth or refute them, not just hide from them. Likewise, irrational fears should be dispelled, not nurtured.
It’s ironic that those most opposed to having a wall to protect our nation from people without are quite content to erect walls separating the people within.