Friday, May 22, 2009

A different kind of cutback at Thunder Bay school

Criminal charges in Canada are laid at the discretion of the Crown Attorney, generally on the recommendation of, or in consultation with the police. If the Crown refuses to lay charges, a victim's options for seeking justice are severely limited. However, the Crown's main consideration in laying charges is the public interest. A criminal charge, trial and conviction is intended to serve not only to punish someone for breaking the law but also to provide an example that will deter others from breaking the law. On the simple grounds of deterrence alone I can see no reason at all not to charge this person with assault.

You can be sure that if a teacher or some other student had snipped the ponytail off some blonde cheerleader, there would be seven kinds of hell to pay. I don't care if it was a case of not understanding the rules or having the best of intentions, school staff are not allowed to give the students involuntary haircuts.

Some might argue that "ruining" the teaching assistant's life by charging them with assault is unfair and would end their career and that the person in question doesn't deserve to go to jail for trimming a seven-year-old's bangs. I would argue that this person very much deserves to go to jail since this is someone who has been placed in a position of trust and authority over that child and has used that authority to violate their person, terrorize and traumatize a seven-year-old. They either know they had no right to interfere with this young boy the way they did and willingly broke the law or they are so completely ignorant of the rules that govern their profession that they should not be allowed within a mile of a classroom full of seven-year-olds.

If the child's parents were to drop by the teaching assistant's home with a pair of clippers and shave her head "to help her see better" I think it's safe to say they'd be in jail faster than you could knock "shave and a haircut".

I'm not sure whether the family's accusations of anti-Native discrimination are well founded or not - they may just be the racist icing on the layer cake of stupid - and frankly I don't think the discrimination angle even matters. For a teacher or any member of the school staff to take a pair of scissors to a seven-year-old's hair against the child's will is an incredible violation of trust.

And the first person to make a "scalping" joke is really going to wish they hadn't.

crossposted from the Woodshed, where the uke-fight has only just begun!

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