The Ghosts Of Jim Crow Still Haunt Georgia

      I have never told this story to anyone, not even my mother until yesterday, because I did not think anybody would really care. However, the experience did change me, and I thought about it more than a few times over the years. When I was in my early twenties I lived in small town in southern Georgia for a time and I thought the state was beautiful, so I used to just drive around a lot up there. One Sunday, I think it was, when I was driving on this old country road I heard the most stunning beautiful choir music coming from a small church and I was just so taken in by the sound of it that I just could not help, but to pull up and stop the car to listen to it more. For a brief moment, I thought about going in the little church, but I had not been in a church since I was eight or ten years old and even though it was 1982 I worried how I might be received since I was certain that my face would be the palest face in there because after all it was a black church, so I just sat there in front of the church and listened to their amazing choir. Suddenly a black fellow came out followed by another and then a black woman and at first it looked as though they were glaring angrily at me, so I started my car and readied to leave. I then looked back at them and thought wait a minute they are looking beyond me at something behind me, so I immediately spun my head around and behind me coming out another small building across the road was a group Ku Klux Klansmen in full dress with some with the hoods off walking out that building and they were glaring at the people that came out of that church and by that time more had stepped outside the church. I was scared, but at that very same time I was never more ashamed to have white skin than I was that day. Not knowing what to do, I slowly pulled away from the church and headed down the road, but my fear and utter total embarrassment quickly turned into a tearful anger. I pulled off the road again and just hung my head and thought Jesus Christ brown people cannot even feel safe in their house or worship, their house of God. When is this vile hatred going to stop?  After getting underway again, I wondered if I would ever live long enough to see the end of this evil hateful nonsense.

     Well I am almost sixty-one now and I have lived long enough to see the whites only signs go down and the other vile visuals and symbols of the “Jim Crow” era disappear, but current events in this country tells me the same hatred stills imbues the soul of our nation and the deceptively racist laws being passed tells me the old ghosts of “Jim Crow” are alive and well and still haunting the beautiful and otherwise inviting state of Georgia.      

Nobody

 I was nobody

I was never known by millions.

I was not of influence, wealth, or power

I was just another person in the crowd.

I was a body at many different jobs

I had a few relatives and friends all over

Some I only talked with on the phone or online.

I think some of them miss me, but I am not sure

I know what is left of my family misses me

The empty seat at the table still makes them all tear up.

I was nobody

The world did not know me

I was a face passing through the realm of time

My anonymity was both a curse and a blessing

 I did not matter to most people.

I was a just few numbers and a name

on cards and things in my wallet

I was of little to no value to most people

I was just one of many who died of a deadly virus

Now I am a number in a death count that still climbs

I was nobody

Yet a stranger held my hand knowing my light was extinguishing

A trembling hand that had clearly held too many hands like mine

with a pair of teary exhausted eyes ravaged by this unrelenting insanity

The stranger gave me hope because after all the pain and suffering they endured

they were able to find a few more tears within them for a nobody

The stranger understood that I was not just another face or number

They realized that this nobody was someone to somebody somewhere.

Guilty of Being Black in America

     Over the years I have witnessed many protests both violent and peaceful.  I have also seen many cities tore up and burning because of social unrest. I was in the middle of a riot once while working some years ago. I was scared, but I made it out of the city after my deliveries that night largely due to a black man I worked with that ran the same route in this predominantly black neighborhood who knew the area well and he instructed me in detail on how, as he put it, “I could get my white ass out of there if something ever did happen.” I am pretty sure my ass would have been in big trouble without some of those instructions that night because people did throw bottles and strike the vehicle I was in with bats and sticks and I was called a honky and other angry words more times that night than I had ever heard before in my life. The smell of tear gas that had been propelled into a building next to a group of people is something I will never forget or the chaos that ensued in that neighborhood because of a an incident that shined a light on racism, unfairness, or perhaps I should say the persistent inequity in treatment between people in this country often by the people who are supposed to protect and serve us all. Unfortunately, behind these incidents there is always dead body with dark skin that cause many of us to cry injustice and to get angry for a little while. For an instant, the people in this country who are in the majority are forced to come face to face with the reality of the hidden racism in this country and indifference shown to people in the minority and some in the majority hate to have their silent racism rubbed in their face. Nevertheless, every time something like this happens most people of all races and creeds hope that this time the death of a brown skinned man or woman because of callous indifference will be the last and some meaningful change occur. Often change in the way of social reforms to attempt to keep what happened from happening again does occur, but what doesn’t change is how we think or how perceive each other and as long as that doesn’t change being guilty of just simply being black in America will continue to occur.

      The question before us is what will make our racism, or our unfairness or indifference to others end? When will these senseless deaths from callous indifference that cause violence to erupt across our nation stop?  It will end the day a white person can look at black person and not see the color of their skin first and when a black person can look a white person and not see the color of their skin first. The day a guy looking at hot girls on the beach doesn’t lean over to his friend and say look at that hot girl over there without having to add the descriptive black or African American to distinguish her from the other hot girls. The day a person gets angry at someone that does not look like them or wear the same skin color and the first thing that pops in their mind is not a derogatory term connected to their skin color or race. The day we realize that there is no such thing as a black problem or white problem, but that it is a problem for all of us. The day when people stop talking about racism because as long as we are talking about racism, we have a race problem. The day people of all races, creeds, colors realize that we are in this thing called life together and that when one of us bleeds we all bleed. The day we as a people stop allowing the psychological chains of slavery to bind us to attitudes, thoughts, and feelings that imbue the very soul of our nation. The day we stop allowing the grotesque ghosts of “Jim Crow” to lynch the hearts and minds of generation after generation people. The day a special fear constructed from our ugly history no longer exists. A fear that forces brown moms and dads to have a special conversation with their children at a certain point in their lives about the white people that could hurt them, especially those who might wear a badge. When that day comes there will be no more senseless deaths from simply being guilty of being black in America. When that day comes, we will have arrived at that elusive but magical place some of us heard about many years ago from a wise man that died trying to get us there, a place called the “promised land.”                 

Can You Imagine?

     Can you imagine being chained in a ship and taken to a strange land against your will?

     Can you imagine you and yours being shackled and sold to farms to work the land?

     Can you imagine being whipped for just saying something or looking the wrong way?

     Can you imagine your wife or daughter being used as brood mares to create more workers?

     Can you imagine your loved ones being categorized just like any other livestock?

     Can you imagine finally acquiring your freedom after a lifetime of imposed servitude?

     Can you imagine a country founded on the ideal of freedom denying it to so many?

     Can you imagine being hated and treated unequally just because you looked different?

     Can you imagine being hunted by people in hoods with bibles and crosses in their hand?

     Can you imagine being in fear for your life just for walking someplace or talking to someone?

     Can you imagine seeing your father or son in a hangman’s noose swinging from a tree?

     Can you imagine not being able to use a bathroom just because you were the wrong color?

     Can you imagine having to scold your child for using one of those bathrooms?

     Can you imagine being told that you cannot ride in a seat in the front of the bus?

     Can you imagine being told there is no vacancy at a motel when you know there is vacancies?

     Can you imagine people not serving you at a restaurant because you were not the right color?

     Can you imagine people crossing the street because they feared walking by you?

     Can you imagine having feelings for someone but not acting on them because of others?  

     Can you imagine being gunned down by those who are supposed to protect and serve?

     Can you imagine being sprawled out on the ground with someone’s knee on your neck, struggling for every breath, asking for your mother, knowing the life is slowly draining from your body and wondering why?

     Can you imagine?

God Make It Stop!

The hearts of our once invisible heroes grow weary fighting a relentless demon.

God make it stop!

They sacrifice all with little to save souls from the consuming darkness surrounding them.

God make it stop!

How many faces of those gasping for life’s last breath will be burned into their memories?

God make it stop!

How many hands will go lifeless in theirs because of a viral monster that yet goes unanswered?

God make it stop!

How often must they gaze into already tear-soaked faces and be the bearers of even worse news?

God make it stop!

How many times will they totally collapse from exhaustion from working extra shifts and hours?

God make it stop!

How many more tears will fall behind their masks for those they could not pull back from death?

God make it stop!

They yearn for a whisper of hope to dull the ventilators symphony of despair and desperation.

God make it stop!

They search for the rainbow beyond a dark ominous cloud that now besieges all humanity.

God make it stop!

           

Written for all the medical professionals working tirelessly through this epidemic.

Who Are We?

Are we a shining beacon of possibility to people everywhere?

Or are we doomed to float endlessly in the sea of our own contempt?

Who are we?

Are we the welcoming light of hope held up on high for all to see?

Or have we succumbed to the darkness of hatred and indifference?

Who are we?

Are we the champion that seeks to set the best example for the rest of the world?

Or have we resigned ourselves to accept the requiem of our national conscience?

Who are we?

Are we capable of finding the greatness within ourselves once again?

Or will we endlessly tumble into the unquieted abyss of our past glory?

Who are we?

Are we doomed to sit in quiet desperation contemplating what once was for eternity?

Or will we once again strive to make our greatness more than an empty slogan on a cap?

Who are we?

How Do We Educate Students With Emotional/Behavioral Disorders?

     What are students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders also known by the anacronym EBD students? EBD students like many students fall within the special needs category of students and EBD students along with other students with all sorts of disabilities fall into Florida’s ESE or Exceptional Student Education category in public schools. The purpose of ESE is to help each child with a disability progress in school and prepare for life after school. However, even with planning and providing everything special needs students need to learn in school some students do not meet those goals easily and these unique frequently troublesome EBD students are one such group.

     EBD students are children with all sorts of mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders like ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and so on and their numbers are growing. It is estimated that one in seven children between the ages of two and eight has either a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder (Who Cares About Kelsey). In many cases these children have been abused in unimaginable ways, suffered extreme neglect, and for one reason or another have been shuffled from one foster care home to another numerous times before they even reach school age, but the issues EBD students have can be either biological or environmental or quite often a combination of both. In general education settings EBD students go far beyond being disruptive in class and are routinely either spending their days in ISS (in school suspension) or getting OSS (out of school suspension) and sent home. EBD students often get angry over the littlest slights by others, can get frustrated over the smallest of things, and will occasionally just go into a full-blown tirade or fit. Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (EBD) have been known to throw chairs, flip tables, desks, tear up classrooms, and on occasion hurt other students or those who work with and around them. However, no matter how bad these students behave or what some people might think we must try to educate them because first every child has a right to an education under the law, and second our failure to at least try to educate them and help them toward a better life is just sending them on down to the next stop on the freeway to social failure the criminal justice system (Rutherford, Mathur, & Nelson, 2000). 

     What many people fail to realize is that money spent on education is never a waste even if some things attempted do not work as well as expected because the hard truth is it costs far less to educate young people than it does to incarcerate them and the social costs of doing nothing or not trying is even greater than the economic ones. As a result, people all over the country have tried to figure out the best way to educate these challenging EBD students. Some feel EBD children should be educated in their own school or what is called a self-contained school while others think they should be educated in self-contained classrooms within public schools. Research has shown that specialized Emotional/Behavioral Disorder units, self-contained classrooms, in public schools improve students educational and social skills.

     In one study that focused on the academic performance of EBD students from elementary age through middle school in self-contained schools that only provided services to EBD students showed that both elementary and secondary age groups scored far below the 25th percentile in math, written expression, and reading and the secondary age group of students were shown to have even lower skills in all math (Lane, Barton-Arwood, Nelson, & Wehby, 2007). Unlike other studies that used only standardized achievement tests, this study used both curriculum-based measures as well as standardized achievement tests to garner their results (Lane, Barton-Arwood, Nelson, & Wehby, 2007). This study was not without some limitations, but the results did confirm the results of previous studies on self-contained schools that reported substandard academic performance as well as finding them deficient in other areas, like socialization (Lane, Barton-Arwood, Nelson, & Wehby, 2007).

    In another study that compared self-contained schools with self-contained classrooms to see if there was any difference in them. The results showed that the students educated in self-contained classrooms scored much higher academically than those educated in self-contained schools and again both standardized and curriculum-based measures were used in garnering the results (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005).  The students educated in self-contained classrooms had far better skills in math, reading comprehension, oral language, written language, and fluency than students educated in self-contained schools (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). However, there seemed to be no difference in socialization skills between the two groups, but the results of these skills were derived from teacher assessments. Researchers strongly believe that there is a difference here that favors those in self-contained classrooms and those differences are going unrecognized simply because teachers are not connected well enough with student peer culture to detect the differences (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005).

     The researchers from the previous study did a part two of that study where they again compared self-contained classrooms with self-contained schools to see if there was any difference in them, but this time they followed EBD students that had been placed in both of those settings at the start of the study for a year (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). The results were like the first study with somethings showing more of a difference and less in others (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). One significant change was that EBD students educated in self-contained classrooms in this study showed better scores in relation to social and behavioral aspects, so unlike the previous study the social skills of these EBD students improved (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). On the other hand, the social skills of students educated in self-contained schools decreased noticeably (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). EBD students in self-contained schools also showed significant decreases in writing scores when compared to students in self-contained classrooms (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). Researchers feel that because more severe problem behavior was reported in self-contained schools that this score may be because less time was allocated to academics to make more room for social instruction and anger management therapies (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). However, self-contained classrooms are set up in public schools and they have a steady stream of people coming into self-contained classrooms to observe and to pick up students to work with individually to improve their socialization and deal with their anger issues. Despite some improvements the researchers of this study concluded that collectively over the course of an academic year the EBD students in both the self-contained classrooms and self-contained schools made very little progress in some areas (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005). Researchers also state that their findings, more than anything else, indicate that more support is needed in both settings to show more progress (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005).  These researchers also realized that there were glaring limitations in both their studies and that more research must be done in this area and all future studies should have a much larger sample (Lane, Wehby, Little, & Cooley, 2005).

      Some are now thinking that inclusion of EBD students back into general education classrooms with support and more teacher education in dealing with EBD students is a better idea. However, a study comparing developmental gains on preschool children with all sorts disabilities, including EBD children, in inclusive settings or general education classrooms, and self-contained classrooms showed mixed or no notable differences in social outcomes between students in general education classrooms and those in self-contained classrooms, so as far as socialization is concerned there is little difference in the settings (Holahan & Costenbader, 2000). The researchers go on to state that children with disabilities do not show positive outcomes or benefit from a social skills standpoint just by being near children without disabilities (Holahan & Costenbader, 2000). As far as developmental growth or functioning is concerned these researchers found that children who are already functioning at a higher level do better in inclusive classrooms and children already functioning at a lower level in these things made higher gains in self-contained classrooms (Holahan & Costenbader, 2000). Even though these researchers were not exclusively studying preschool EBD students, their research seriously challenges the reoccurring notion that one educational setting is better or will produce better results socially or academically than another (Holahan & Costenbader, 2000).

     Better socialization or improving the social skills of EBD students is the whole reason behind the idea for inclusion of EBD students into general education classrooms. One study that focused on the social life of EBD children in self-contained classrooms did detailed interviews of fourteen students educated in a self-contained classroom and fourteen children that were closely matched for comparison educated  in a general education classroom and found that EBD children had little to no chance to engage in integrated school activities and that their social networks in school were comprised of mostly those children and adults who were connected to or a part of special needs education (Panacek & Dunlap, 2003). The overall value of this study as far as reliable information is in the least questionable because not only was the sample size very small, but all the students interviewed for this study came from the same school district and to add to that the students used in the study were all pulled from the free lunch roster, so all those interviewed came from low income families (Panacek & Dunlap, 2003). This and other limitations that the researchers themselves recognized with this study makes this study hard to generalize across a whole population (Panacek & Dunlap, 2003).  The truth, from a person who works with EBD students in a public school, is that EBD children in self-contained classrooms in some public schools do engage integrated activities. Public schools refer to things like gym, chorus, and so on with other students as “specials,” and EBD students can be involved in them, but they often lose those privileges quickly do to their behavior. EBD students also encounter general education students on buses, playgrounds and in line for breakfast and lunch each day, so the premise that EBD students are completely cut off from general education students in public schools or that they never encounter general education students as a group or individually in public school is totally ludicrous. EBD student’s inability to socialize normally with general education students and their frequent antisocial behaviors better explains why their social networks are small, not the self-contained classrooms they are educated in.

     One article or study looked at the outcomes of a three-year project that examined the consultation process and what would be needed to develop or ready staff for the inclusion of EBD students back into general education classes (Shapiro, Miller, Sawka, Gardill, & Handler). Apparently, it is believed by some that inclusion in general education classes is better for EBD students, but they realize that general education teachers and staff need to learn how to deal with and handle EBD students and that consultation will be needed before and after training or developing the staff to make inclusion of these students successful. These researchers tried to ascertain how much consultation would be needed and whether it needed to continue after training and developing staff and how much staff development would be needed (Shapiro, Miller, Sawka, Gardill, & Handler). The results of this study showed that consultation services are critically important for continued staff development and thought it to be a solid strategy to improve the chances that the inclusion of EBD students in general education classes would be effective and successful (Shapiro, Miller, Sawka, Gardill, & Handler). However, researchers found that even with an intensive experience based in service programs to help teach and develop staff to create and implement intervention strategies a large majority of the teams assembled failed to implement the strategies they created and selected (Shapiro, Miller, Sawka, Gardill, & Handler). People in many school districts were uncertain of

how to proceed, their communication broke down, and there was a lack of follow through with interventions (Shapiro, Miller, Sawka, Gardill, & Handler). The researchers concluded that for inclusion of EBD children in general education classes to succeed all school personnel must be provided with intensive training, have a lot of or a significant amount of consultation support, very specific interventions that are accepted by a majority of those involved, and continued collaboration efforts (Shapiro, Miller, Sawka, Gardill, & Handler). Some groups in the study that utilized the training well and did all the things necessary to make this successful and where the EBD students received effective intervention seventy percent of the EBD students maintained or increased their time in general education classes (Shapiro, Miller, Sawka, Gardill, & Handler). The study did show that putting EBD students back into general education classes and having it work out is possible, but for this transition to work, even a little, would not be without a massive effort and cost.          

     Unfortunately, there are several things not considered or even mentioned when inclusion is discussed by researchers in these studies. First, is the fact that no one considers the good students in the general education classes with these EBD students. How will it affect their education and safety? If a teacher must focus on one EBD child that is frequently out of control and disrupting the entire class, how will that affect the education of the majority students in that class? Isn’t that teacher losing precious class time that could be more productively spent on the students in the class that behave? If an EBD student hits a student with chair or attacks one of the other students in a way that requires outside medical help or hospitalization, what are you going to say to the parents of that student? How are you going to explain to them that the violence perpetrated on their child was caused by a student with emotional and behavioral issues or better yet asks you why that violent of a student was in their child’s class to begin with? Would having EBD students in general education classes not increase the school’s overall liability? Second, EBD students are often removed from the school they are in and bused to schools that have EBD units or self-contained classrooms. If you were to completely end self-contained classrooms and schools for EBD students and put all the EBD students back in general education classes in the schools they were in and the number of EBD students keeps increasing, schools in some areas will be overburdened with EBD students while other schools would have few. Wouldn’t having a huge number of students in any school that are consistently one or two grades behind effect funding or the quality of the education provided in that school? Third, the EBD students that are in self-contained schools and classrooms now were once included and in general education classrooms and their actions or better yet their inability to socialize and their antisocial behaviors is what resulted in them being evaluated by someone in the school system with a psychology degree and placed in a self-contained classroom in the first place. Since they were evaluated and placed in a self-contained classroom, it is safe to say that the EBD students in self-contained classrooms have the severest of problems or issues and most likely could not be integrated back into general education classes easily. If integration back into a general education setting was attempted for all EBD students, it would not be without a lot of trouble and great cost.

     One reason why research done on EBD students in schools is limited and what research has been done is all over the place and checkered with spotty or inconclusive results is that there is little to no advocacy for EBD children. There is no one out there with any real desire to try and figure out what is best for these children educationally or otherwise because these unlucky children are not disabled in a way that is acceptable to most of us. No these are the crazy kids that have meltdowns over nonsense, wreck things for no reason, and are constantly wanting to punch the living daylights out of anybody that angers or irritates them even slightly. They are the children that many people think need nothing more than a swift kick in the butt to correct their behavior and refuse to accept that they may have a mental disorder because mental illness is something we do not like to talk about. We do not fundraise for mental illness or have a Special Olympics for crazy children, we lock it away and pretend it does not exist. There is no one out there willing to speak up and say what might be best for EBD children or say what type of education or educational setting would be best for EBD students and be able to explain why.  

     The people that would make the strongest advocates for these children, particularly in education, are the people that work with and around EBD students in the schools every day. Special Education Teachers because they work so closely with EBD students would be the most aware of the unique educational needs of these students and their families and that awareness would make them great advocates for all the services necessary to meet the needs of these students and their families (Murry, 2005). Unfortunately, there are barriers that keep or at least inhibit Special Education Teachers and other people that work with these children in schools from advocating effectively on behalf of these children and their families (Murry, 2005). Some of those barriers would be the school bureaucracy itself, time constraints, the threat of losing standing or face because someone is to blame, employment insecurity because many teachers in school systems are on a three year probation, the need to step outside the normal operating routines, opposing perspectives from others within the school system, school wide need versus individual need scenarios, and the possible threat of some type of litigation (Murry, 2005).

     How do we educatestudents with emotional/behavior disorders? Is a question that appears to be a difficult one to answer because not only are the issues and problems surrounding EBD children and their education complex, but there is a serious lacking in the depth of knowledge regarding EBD children and their education. Research on this issue is wrought with many limitations and clear external validity issues not only illustrates that lack of knowledge, but clearly indicates that more research must be done in this area. However, we do know that self-contained classrooms are a far better choice for EBD students both academically and socially than self-contained schools because all the research points in that direction. All the data relating to self-contained schools indicates academic and socialization problems and one study clearly showed a decline in these things in EBD students educated in them. In contrast, EBD students educated in self-contained classrooms showed clear academic increases or higher academic scores than EBD students educated in self-contained schools in both the short term and over a whole school year. Researchers did not find much of an increase in socialization skills between the two settings, but self-contained classrooms scores on this were still better than self-contained schools and some researchers thought the scores on this should be higher for self-contained classrooms and offered a reason as to why the scores of the two settings were closer than they should have been. The findings of another study done on not just EBD students, but all students with disabilities challenged the whole idea that one educational setting would be better than the other for socialization.  Unfortunately, the difference in scores academically and socially between self-contained classrooms and self-contained schools was not enough to keep some people from considering integrating EBD students back into the general education classes they were taken out of because of their antisocial behaviors to improve socialization. However, inclusion of EBD students back into general education classes will be difficult, costly, and present other problems not fully considered or overlooked.    

     In 2006 there were over two million young people in the United States with emotional/behavioral disorders and that number has increased and continues to grow (Who Cares About Kelsey). Students with emotional/behavioral disorders are three times as likely to be arrested before leaving school and often in middle school because the graduation rate for EBD students is far worse than students with other disabilities (Who Cares About Kelsey). After getting out of school EBD students are more than twice as likely as students with other disabilities to wind up living in a correction facility, a half-way house, in a drug rehab center, or on the street and females with emotional/behavioral disorders will become teenage mothers at more than twice the rate of females with other disabilities (Who Cares About Kelsey). The statistics on children and young people with emotional/behavioral disorders are mind numbing now and will certainly get worse if we do not try to educate more of these young people enough to be at least somewhat productive citizens and the economic and social cost will be much, much greater if we make no attempt to try to educate them. It comes down to what people want the government to spend their taxes on. We can spend more on the front end to try an educate these difficult children, or we can spend it on the back end and build more prisons and juvenile detention centers. In either event a good deal of money is going to be spent whether we like it or not.

         Yes, it is imperative more research is done on trying to figure out the best way to educate students with emotional/behaviors disorders or if educating them more than one way is not a better approach to the problem and while doing this we must also consider the impact our fixes or solutions to this problem will have on the education and safety of other children. The research that has been done so far with all the limitations and generalization issues recognized in it really doesn’t tell us a lot other than self-contained classrooms are better than self-contained schools and that there are problems with inclusion and that there are some problems with inclusion researchers are not even considering. Future research on this issue is going to require larger samples, fewer limitations, and better external validity otherwise we will not have achieved anymore than we have and that is not good enough. The clock is ticking, and we know the problem is not going to get better because the number of children with emotional/behavioral disorders is increasing, so the need for answers will become even more important in the future.

     One of the reasons why this early research is not more concise or conclusive is because researchers are going in many directions and looking at many angles on the issue because there are little or no advocates out there for young people and students with emotional/ behavioral disorders, so there is nothing to send researchers in one direction and no one to create a push to find solutions to the problem quicker. The people best suited and most knowledgeable that could advocate for students with emotional/ behavior disorders are the people working closest with these students at schools, but they are afraid to because there are barriers that make it hard to get involved. Another reason is because we are talking about children with mental health issues and mental health is something we do not like to talk about or in some cases even acknowledge it exists. There is such a stigma associated with mental illness that we do not want to hear about mental illness period and God forbid someone in your family has a mental illness and a few people know about it the gossip whispers around you will be lower than dreaded cancer whispers. If you have a child with a mental illness that is violent and has fits of rage, an EBD child, that you cannot not handle, it is even worse because then you must be bad parents for not being able to control your child. Your child doesn’t have a mental illness all he or she needs is a swift kick in the butt that you are not giving them. My point here is the stigma around mental illness and public perceptions must change because along with everything else this stigma effects is one big one called advocacy.                             

References

Holahan, A., & Costenbader, V. (2000). A Comparison of Developmental Gains for Preschool Children with Disabilities in Inclusive and Self-Contained Classrooms. Topics in Early    Childhood Special Education, 20(4), 224-235. doi:10.1177/027112140002000403

Lane, K. L., Barton-Arwood, S. M., Nelson, J. R., & Wehby, J. (2007). Academic Performance of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Served in a Self-Contained Setting. Journal of Behavioral Education, 17(1), 43-62. doi:10.1007/s10864-007-9050-1

Lane, K. L., Wehby, J. H., Little, M. A., & Cooley, C. (2005). Academic, Social, and Behavioral Profiles of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Educated in Self-Contained Classrooms and Self-Contained Schools: Part I—Are They More Alike than Different? Behavioral Disorders, 30(4), 349-361. doi:10.1177/019874290503000407

Lane, K. L., Wehby, J. H., Little, M. A., & Cooley, C. (2005). Students Educated in Self-Contained Classrooms and Self-Contained Schools: Part II—How Do They Progress over Time? Behavioral Disorders, 30(4), 363-374. doi:10.1177/019874290503000408

Murry, F. (2005). Effective Advocacy for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders: How High the Cost? EDUCATION AND TREATMENT OF CHILDREN, 28(4)

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Shapiro, E. S., Miller, D. N., Sawka, K., Gardill, M. C., & Handler, M. W. (1999). Facilitating the Inclusion of Students with EBD into General Education Classrooms. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 7(2), 83-93. doi:10.1177/106342669900700203

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Who Cares About Kelsey. (n.d.). Key statistics. Retrieved from         https://whocaresaboutkelsey.com/docs/educational-materials/key-statistics.pdf?sfvrsn=2

The Time Has Come for Medicare For All

     People must wake up and stop being conned by the insurance and pharmaceutical industry and the people and congressmen or women they have bought to serve their interests. We must also realize that the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry are profit driven mechanisms that are not there to help you the average citizen. They do not care about you and your family and they never did. Any commercial for an insurance company whether it be Auto, life, health, or whatever kind of insurance that talks about being a family oriented company or anything of this nature is selling you a bunch of bullshit and they are trying to get you to buy into it and the famous spokesperson they might be using to do this more than likely has stock options or some vested interest above a paycheck in promoting their product. The pharmaceutical industry is just as crooked and as greedy as the insurance industry. They make medicines that can both make you sicker or treat your illness and get those medicines approved with the same speed because they control who tests those medications. Everyday you hear advertisements about lawsuits against a medicine or medical device and the reason why is because the pharmaceutical industry got the laboratories they own or that are in their pocket to say products they need approval for are safe and effective, so they can get it approved by the FDA and start making huge profits on it. Once a pharmaceutical product has been on the market six months or a year, the profits on it is so staggering that they can easily sustain a lawsuit against them for injuries or damages sustained by people who used the product, so all of it including spending millions on lobbyist to protect their interests is simply part of the cost of doing business in America for them. Just in 2018 alone the pharmaceutical industry spent 27.5 million dollars on lobbying to protect their interests. However, their increasing profits do not end there because even on older medicines that have been around that are used to treat certain diseases, like diabetes, asthma, and so on, they keep going up on the price because they know a certain number of people must have them to live and they also know the number people with diseases that require what they call maintenance drugs are growing, so to use the terms a business would use they are capitalizing on the emerging market and that is why something, like common insulin, that had been twenty dollars a prescription years ago when my grandmother took it is now four or five hundred dollars a prescription now. The reason for the increase is pure greed and nothing more. You need it they got it, so now you or your insurance company is going to have to pay for it and your insurance can get off the hook for some of the cost, by putting the burden back on you the average citizen in the form of a copayments, deductibles, and premiums.

     Whether you believe health care should be an individual right or not is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Whether Obama Care works for you or not is not relevant either because unless there is a move toward something like Medicare for all problems with our health care system will continue and the greed within it will run unabated.  The truth is Medicare for all can be done and should be done. The infrastructure is already there and we all pay a good amount into it from our paychecks for those on social security or social security disability, so why not pay a little more in taxes to get the rest of us covered by a plan that already exists and works. You will not find and elderly person in America anywhere willing to give up their Medicare card because they know it covers 80% of their medical costs right off the top and if I can pay for someone else to enjoy these benefits what is wrong with me paying a little more in taxes for myself and family. Right now, health care costs the average family of four about 28000.00 year. If you divide that by four, you come to 7000. dollars per year give or take as the number that each person pays in health costs per year, so even if they were to increase the Medicare deduction from your paycheck by another 40.00 per week to accomplish Medicare for all the cost to you the average citizen would only be an additional 2080.00 dollars per year which translates into savings to you of about 5000.00 dollars per year. Medicare for all would also control costs because they would no longer be able to gouge people and their insurance companies for services and prescription drugs like they are doing right now. The Koch brothers, the guys that support Republicans and their bullshit lie machines, had people do a study on this thinking that they could prove that Medicare for all would cost more, but what their study proved was that Medicare for all would save Americans two trillion dollars over a ten-year period. When they do not have the money argument against something that would be good for the average citizen, they then try to get you to believe that our quality of care would be diminished and other absolute bullshit along this plane. Grandma and Grandpa uses Medicare has the quality of their care diminished? Do they have to wait in long lines to receive care?  The answer is no, and neither would any of us. The want to scare you away from things like Medicare for all, with words like socialized medicine, because the insurance industry will not get away with screwing people on insurance premiums, deductibles, copayments and other things they do to increase their profit margin. The pharmaceutical industry will not be able to bilk obnoxious profits out of drugs people desperately need because if we are all paying into the same program and receiving the same benefits from it the government will have to constrain them.  

     The truth is if we want a congress that will work to do something like Medicare for all or any change that will make a significant difference to the average citizen, the first thing we must do is to elect people whether Democrat or Republican that are not in the pockets of the insurance or pharmaceutical industry. We do not have that now and that is why the political will to get things done, especially big things, and achieve real results for average citizens does not exist. What we have is a lot of congressmen and women on both sides of the aisle that are getting fat protecting the interests of big business and taking their money hand over fist and standing there telling us it cannot be done or conning us into believing that something that is in all our best interest is not in our best interest. Comedian George Carlin once stated in a show, “This is one big club and you ain’t in it.” Which is true the average citizen is not in the club, never has been, and never will be. However, we can vote intelligently and remove some of the greediest club members. All we must do is follow the money and not cast a vote for anyone running for congress that is taking money directly or indirectly from the insurance or pharmaceutical industry because they are nothing but paid for puppets for those industries and will do their bidding even when it is in total opposition to the greater good of the majority of the people in this country. The real reason nothing gets done in Washington for the average citizen in this country has nothing to do with the words Democrat or Republican because both political parties are dysfunctional in some sense, but because we the average citizen working more than one job to keep their heads above water, not unlike the homeless, do not have a lobby in Washington, so unlike the insurance and pharmaceutical industry or other corporations we do not have a big fat check to hand someone running for Congress to do our bidding.      

Hey Mama, I Think The Gringos Are Hungry

Hey Mama, I Think The Gringos Are Hungry

“Hola Mama, Creo que los gringos tienen hambre”

By Kim Morrison

 

When I was a teenager many years ago, my family decided that we would get out of the cold weather of upstate New York and travel to Florida in the winter and comeback in the spring. My father sold everything and bought a travel trailer. At that time, we had started to do flea markets along the way to finance our trips back and forth and it seemed to be working, but the thirty-one-foot Rolls International travel trailer proved costly to move down the road and not very convenient for the purpose of setting up and selling at flea markets, so my father sold the travel trailer. We liked traveling down to Florida in the winter, but we wanted to see more of the country and since one of my uncles and his family moved to Arizona we thought we would get something that might possibly make a trip or two across the country. Unfortunately, my family never had much money, so my father, a man of many ideas, who liked to drive and could drive anything got the idea of getting a bus and converting into a camper. The first bus of two my father and I converted into a camper was an old 1960’s model blue Ford school bus. It ran like a champ after our mechanic did some repairs and modifications on it, and it wound up working out well for us because we made several trips down to Florida, out to Arizona, and that old bus even got us out to San Diego, California once.

I reflect on those times now and can say that they were exciting and fun in many ways and quite honestly a learning experience like no other that very few will ever know or understand. However, the trips were not always easy, sometimes we did not make much money at the flea markets we stopped at, so we had to augment our plans a bit and make stops at flea markets we had never been to before. On one trip to Arizona, we left Pensacola, Florida without much money because the flea markets there were awful money wise. However, we had a lot of stuff to sell and quite a few cypress clocks that we were not sure would sell in other parts of the country, but we figured we could at least get to Texas with what we had and hopefully make some money there to continue our journey to Tucson, Arizona. Unfortunately, we had issues with the bus along the way that cost us a little of the money we made, and the weather was not working in our favor, but despite it all we did manage to make it to San Antonio, Texas. When we got there, we had just enough to pay the flea market space rent, so for all intents and purposes we were flat broke, had very little to eat the night before, and had to make money at this little rundown indoor market to not only continue our trip, but to be able to eat the next day. It would be a gross understatement to say that we were nervous about what the next day would bring. We were in a strange place, at a flea market we had never worked before knowing that we never did as well when we setup at indoor markets, a little hungry and knew we would be even more hungry the next day if we did not make any money, but we did have a package of Top Tobacco which always came with rolling papers that we rolled into cigarettes. I am not sure whether rolling them or smoking them eased our tension more, but in either event it seemed to help.

The next morning, we carried our stuff into the flea market and began setting up our tables with the hope of having a good sale day.  Everybody in the place seem to be able speak Spanish, but us which was not unusual when you consider where we were. The people setup next to us with mostly used items were a very friendly Mexican family that could speak no English at all. We did not know whether they were legal or illegal immigrants and quite frankly it did not matter to us because we were all there for the same reason and that was to make some money. Our Mexican neighbors were cooking something on an electric hot plate that smelled so good that it was making me hungrier than I already was, but the best we could relay to them through gesture is that what they were cooking smelled good. After we got all our stuff setup and already begun our day, one of the children of our Mexican neighbors again through gesture held out and offered us a few breakfast tacos they had made. We assumed they were breakfast tacos because it was still breakfast time. We gladly accepted because by that time we were hungry and still had not sold anything. We thanked them numerous times and wondered if they did not somehow know or could tell that we were hungry because we did hear the word gringos a few times. However, this kind gesture from folks that could not understand us any better than we could understand them came as shock. These simple tacos were made of refried beans with bits of fried egg and bacon wrapped in a soft tortilla shell, but still to this day they were the best damn tacos I have ever had because they were the result of a pure act of kindness from strangers who could not speak our language, but somehow knew that we were hungry.

We did not make much money that day, but we were not hungry anymore and in better spirits thanks to an overt act of kindness shown to us by strangers who spoke a different language from us. We did make enough to eat later and the next day the cypress clocks we brought from Florida that we thought might not sell anywhere else took off and we wound up selling most of them right there the next day and made enough money to continue our trip to Arizona where we wound up selling the rest of them. We never returned to San Antonio, Texas, but my family and I never forgot that a single act of kindness by strangers, a gesture that transcended both cultural and language barriers, an act of goodwill that clearly illustrates that good people do come in all colors, shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and faiths. Yes, mama the gringos were hungry that day and sometimes a simple breakfast taco is far, far more than just what is under the tortilla shell.

An Unspeakable Truth

First, this piece is not politically motivated or a referendum on anything currently going on.     Second, I want to state unequivocally that I do not claim or presume to be an expert on women’s trauma or sex abuse related issues. This is just one good man’s opinion on not all that women go through when they are sexually abused or assaulted, but on the truth that women, no matter how tough they are or how hard they try, never forget or even get by these horrific events in their life without issues no matter how much time passes. My opinion comes from being an active listener and the ability to garner trust with many people extremely quickly which is one of the reasons why I switched from mass communications in college to psychology. In the different positions I have held I have had countless conversations with women young and old and some on occasion have told me some very personal things or details of things that happened to them that they have never told anyone else. The fact that some of them told me about their rape, molestation, or sex abuse I still to this day find surprising because I can tell you these are things women do not like to share with anyone period and none have ever done so with me without either a tear entering their eyes or their voice cracking on, at least, the high points of the horrible event they were recanting to me. In my opinion, the idea that any woman who was a victim of any kind of sexual abuse wanting to speak about what happened to them in any kind of public forum, let alone testify about it a hearing, for profit or any kind of contrived purpose is utterly ludicrous. Sexual abuse and things of that nature that women at any age have endured are what I call unspeakable truths and if you are lucky enough to have heard one of these intensely personal stories from any woman of any age please realize that she only told you because she trusted you, for whatever reason, absolutely implicitly.

Over the years I have heard a few stories from women which include everything from violent rape to sexual abuse that were sometimes so gut wrenching or shocking to me that they left me stunned and without words which is a hard thing to imagine because I write, so I usually always have words. Despite that I write, I have never written a story based entirely on any sexual abuse or rape any woman has ever told me about and I never will because what was told to me was in confidence and I hold those kinds confidences more dear and near than a Catholic Priest holds a confession. I learned quickly from these women that their stories are known by a very select few people and in one case I am certain no one knew what happened to her when she was a young teen, not even her father or mother. Just imagine having some type of sexual abuse happen to you when you are a young woman or in your teenage years and never disclosing any portion of it to another living soul until many years later just simply because you felt no one would ever believe you, not even those closest to you. Imagine holding on to a terrible secret for years that may have eaten away at your self-esteem to a point that this one life incident has redefined your feelings of self-worth. Imagine trying to tell people what happened to you knowing full well that they will either not believe you or make you feel like you did something to cause what happened to you. Imagine asking yourself over and again “why me,” or “why did this happen to me” as if you were somehow selected to be raped or sexually abused. Imagine feeling so dirty, sullied, or fouled by an experience like this that no matter what you do you cannot physically or psychologically wash it away. Imagine constantly feeling like you have had something taken from you that you and only you had a right to give. Imagine taking anxiety medication for half your life to eliminate the memories, nightmares, or unrelenting moments of fear and emotions that just well up inside of you out of the blue because of single horrible event in your life that you had no control over. Imagine being haunted by a memory of some vile act done to you ten, twenty, or forty years ago and doing your best to live with it, live around it, to move on, to grow as a person personally and intellectually despite of it, but still, no matter how far you have come, never being able put the memory or memories of what happened to you to sleep permanently, an incident that almost certainly altered you or your life in some way whether you realize it or not. Now, imagine garnering the courage to publicly tell your story and after going through it all having some man say, “Well it was a longtime ago and after all boys will be boys.”  Yes, boys will be boys, but good boys know better and a truly good man or men should damn well know better.