Fear, Punishment, Security, and Control in our Public Schools

by NYC Firm Schools on November 18, 2009

The War on Kids, the 2009 winner of Best Educational Film by the New York Independent Film and Video Festival, opens today in Manhattan.

Blame for problems with schooling in America is often assigned to insufficient funding or the inherent failings of today’s kids. In rare cases, parents, teachers, and administrators are also implicated. However, all efforts to improve the quality of education are doomed to fail if the system itself is not examined and understood to be the most significant impediment. After over six years in the making, THE WAR ON KIDS reveals that the problems with public education ultimately stem from the institution itself. Astonishingly all efforts at reform consistently avoid even considering this to be a possibility and the future for children and American democracy are at stake.

This film exposes the many ways the public school system has failed children and our future by robbing students of all freedoms due largely to irrational fears. Children are subjected to endure prison-like security, arbitrary punishments, and pharmacological abuse through the forced prescription of dangerous drugs. Even with these measures, schools not only fail to educate students, but the drive to teach has become secondary to the need to control children.

School children are interviewed as are high school teachers and administrators, as well as prison security guards, plus renowned educators and authors including:

  • Henry Giroux: Author of Stealing Innocence: Corporate Culture’s War on Children
  • Mike A. Males: Sociologist, author of Scapegoat Generation
  • John Gatto: New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year
  • Judith Browne: Associate Director of the Advancement Project
  • Dan Losen: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University
  • Dr. Peter Breggin: Author, Toxic Psychiatry, Talking Back To Prozac

A few of the reviews of the documentary:
The New York Times
Education World
KidCity
Political Film Society

Where to see the film:
November 18-24th
Quad Cinema
34 West 13th Street
New York, NY
Fees: $11.00 for adults, $8.00 for children and senior citizens

Here is a CBS news report on corporal punishment in schools, which is legal in 21 states:

Interestingly, The Courthouse News Service, also just released a an article entitled, Watchdog Wants Info on Police Use of Force Against Schoolkids

Police in Texas public schools are increasingly using force against children, including Tasers and pepper spray, and the “overwhelming majority” of police “interventions” involve “low-level, non-violent misdemeanors like disruption of class or disorderly conduct,” a public interest group says.

Here is the link to the lawsuit.

We would love to hear your thoughts and reactions to this documentary in our comments section.

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