Labels can be tough to overcome

Posted: Friday, August 06, 2010

On July 25 The Clarion ran an in-depth and insightful article about educating students at the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility. The subheading read "Teacher talks working with young criminals." A more accurate and less offensive description would have been to refer the students as Youthful Offenders.

The purpose for writing is not to defend the actions of my students, which for many are only misdemeanors, but to speak for a small minority population who can't or may not otherwise speak for themselves. This, being mindful, kids will live up to whatever expectation we set upon them whether positive or negative which includes the use of labeling.

I would also like to clarify a quote that was taken completely out of context, which read, " The education system likes to do what works best for it, not necessarily the students." At the time, I was referencing only those students who transfer out of the Youth Facility to a myriad of other Alternative Ed. Program outside of the Kenai Peninsula where classes are not always continued. As a result, these often already credit deficient students fall even further behind and thus are academically punished in the end because other these programs aren't willing to address the individual needs of their incoming students. It was never my intent, implied or otherwise, to make it appear that our education system as a whole puts themselves above their students.

Joe Mooney, Sterling



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