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Teaching Kids to Hate Cops

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LifeZette posts this mind-boggling story:

The Chicago Public School system is introducing a new curriculum for eighth- and 10th-grade students....

As part of a 2015 reparations deal, Chicago public school students will be [exposed] to a new six-lesson curriculum "about Jon Burge, a former CPD detective accused of using torture, primarily on black men in his custody between the 1970s and 1990s, to force confessions to crimes," reported The Columbia Chronicle.

Burge was allegedly responsible for torturing over 200 suspects in police custody between 1972 and 1991. The Chronicle makes it clear, however, that the true motivation behind the new course of study is not to educate Chicago's youth about Burge as much as to teach the myth of systemic racism in law enforcement.

"The first lesson calls for students to discuss opinions or experiences with racism and police brutality. This precedes discussion of Burge's human-rights abuses and the police officers whose actions helped him hide his crimes," reported The Chronicle.

It doesn't get any better.

"Counseling will be made available because of the traumatic impact discussions about racism can have on the people of color who make up the majority of the CPS student bodies," and the course finishes with "a unit assessment in which students create a proposal for a memorial in honor of the victims of Burge's torture methods," according to The Chronicle.

For those of you still thinking the schools might teach reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic, time to get with it.

Heather MacDonald was not amused:

An expert in the escalating vilification of law enforcement said there is no question Chicago school administrators intend to use the Burge case to increase hostility toward modern-day police officers.

"Anti-police activists have been using the Burge case for over a decade to justify counterproductive constraints on the CPD today, even though the CPD has long since taken measures to make sure that such abuse never happens again," said Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of "The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe."

"Now the Chicago Public Schools are resurrecting the case to increase hatred for the police," she told LifeZette.

I too see more than one problem here.

We all know the common complaint that police need to build trust with minority communities, and that the way to do this is by being openly contrite for acting aggressively, or worse than aggressively, against suspects.

No sensate person doubts there are instances of police misconduct.  Some of them are shocking and atrocious. When they occur, what's called for, in my view, is less oratory and more accountability  --  accountability enforced by the full weight of the law. (I had my hand in furnishing both to several corrupt Chicago police early in my career,  United States v. Vymola, et. al, 585 F.2d 242 (7th Cir. 1978).

But while police should face at least the same accountability for criminal behavior as other citizens, to feature a torturer as the first story about police to which school children are given any detailed exposure is grossly misleading, slanderous, and dangerous.  If one wants a more hopeful and  recent picture of what police do, perhaps students could be told in similar detail about what the police (and fire fighters and other emergency personnel) did to save so many lives, and then prevent looting, in Hurricane Irma.

To be sure, neither brutality-induced confessions nor heroic disaster relief is what police officers do day-to-day.  It's more mundane:  Stand guard for the rest of us, and haul the criminals who would do us harm before the bar of justice.   Sometimes this involves force, an unfortunate but necessary fact of police life given that drug dealers, bank robbers, rapists and thugs are not typically amenable to the rule of law, in addition to having, shall we say, poor impulse control.

While featuring one appalling story of police cruelty, one might ask how much the CPS curriculum features  --  or even hints at  --  the far more prevalent and menacing spectacle in Chicago, to wit, the city's murder spree. What will actually make children safe is not condemning the police but encouraging them to stand forthrightly against the criminal tide now threatening peaceable life in their city.. Is there some reason the curriculum highlights one soiled, outlier career from two decades ago but stays mum about the dozens  of Chicagoans, many not much older than the children getting these lessons, who were shot to death last month? And the hundreds in the months before?

It's foolhardy  --  it's unhinged, actually  --  to think we can build trust in police by wallowing in the worst of their behavior.  Nor, to be honest, could the building of trust possibly be thought to be the real aim of this program.  The real aim is as perverse as it is clear  --  to build distrust,  if not suspicion, if not, indeed, hate.

What builds trust in police is police officers' doing the job parents pay them to do: Suppress crime.  That becomes more difficult, not easier, when children are not merely taught, but steeped in, a slanted view that no normal person could think of as fair-minded or even, in candor, informative in any useful way.

The portrayal being given Chicago children is thus not merely false, it's hazardous to their health.  The distrust being fed into them is certain to result in less, not more, community cooperation in fighting crime.  This will give a leg up to criminals.  When they have a leg up, they'll be more active, and when they're more active, among their first and most defenseless victims will be these self-same children.  

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{among other things ...Harvard profs. want ciminals to be a protected class}
Professors Condemn Harvard’s Rebuff of Michelle Jones
and Chelsea Manning

by Marina N. Bolotnikova -- 9.21.17

LAST WEEK was a bad public-relations episode for Harvard.
On Tuesday, the Marshall Project, a news organization covering
criminal justice, reported that University leadership had reversed the
admission of Michelle Jones ["recommended" for history Ph.D. program];
she had served 20 years in prison for the murder of a child she had as a teenager,.. Her application was also rejected by Yale..

..Then, last Thursday, the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) rescinded
Chelsea Manning’s appointment as a visiting fellow this fall, after backlash
from CIA director Mike Pompeo, J.D. ’94, who canceled a scheduled appearance
at the school..

...Both of Harvard’s decisions provoked criticism in the media, and,
yesterday, were condemned from within the community by 162 University
faculty members
who signed aHarvard Crimson op-ed..

..The text also urged the administration to add candidates’ criminal history
to the University’s existing non-discrimination policies;
“I think the essay grew out of a shared concern about multiple ongoing problems, including the possible repeal of [DACA],”
said professor of sociology Jason Beckfield, one of the lead authors of the op-ed, along with ..[professors]
Joyce Chaplin and .. Khalil Muhammad. “Deportations of our students
are in the same category as overruled admissions decisions (Jones)
and withdrawn speaking invitations (Manning) in that they undermine
our efforts as educators.”


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