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Abusive Positions

31 Aug

Is This Consensual, Or Abusive?I astounded that Betsy Karasik, supposedly a lawyer, wouldn’t have known intellectually, that rape is not about sex, but all about power.

There is a painfully uncomfortable episode of “Louie” in which the comedian Louis C.K. muses that maybe child molesters wouldn’t kill their victims if the penalty weren’t so severe. Everyone I know who watches the show vividly recalls that scene from 2010 because it conjures such a witches’ cauldron of taboo, disgust and moral outrage, all wrapped around a disturbing kernel of truth. I have similar ambivalence about the case involving former Montana high school teacher Stacey Dean Rambold. Louie concluded his riff with a comment to the effect of “I don’t know what to do with that information.” That may be the case for many of us, but with our legal and moral codes failing us, our society needs to have an uncensored dialogue about the reality of sex in schools.

As protesters decry the leniency of Rambold’s sentence — he will spend 30 days in prison after pleading guilty to raping 14-year-old Cherice Morales, who committed suicide at age 16 — I find myself troubled for the opposite reason. I don’t believe that all sexual conduct between underage students and teachers should necessarily be classified as rape, and I believe that absent extenuating circumstances, consensual sexual activity between teachers and students should not be criminalized. While I am not defending Judge G. Todd Baugh’s comments about Morales being “as much in control of the situation” — for which he has appropriately apologized — tarring and feathering him for attempting to articulate the context that informed his sentence will not advance this much-needed dialogue.

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Do Babies Judge By Voices Or Faces?

9 Jun

mouth_translationThis is an important issue, when infants are increasingly maturing in multilingual environments, and parents are making decisions on education based on theories about human social reasoning. According to Katherine Kinzler, kids like to hear someone speaking in their native languages, and not foreign languages.

This could be useful to know for educators seeking to immerse babies in foreign languages.

 

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Give That Young Man His Due

29 May

Asean JohnsonAsean Johnson has a talent for advocacy and had some good teachers.

Some called for the boy to run for mayor. Others reached further, suggesting he could run for president. (Because of his age, he wouldn’t be eligible until 2039.) As for Asean Johnson, he said he might consider a run, but honestly, he’d rather be a professional football player.

“President would be my second choice,” he said on a recent day, taking a break from the playground at his Far South Side school, Garvey Elementary. “And I might want to be a scientist or a lawyer. Those are going to be my two backup plans.”

The reed-thin boy with big ears and gap teeth shot to celebrity last week when a video of him speaking passionately on behalf of his school went viral on YouTube. As of Friday night, the three-minute clip had been viewed 153,000 times, by people as far away as China and Australia.

Enjoy the speech – until the school year ends and schools close.

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