Should The Geneva Convention Be Applied in Schools to End Collective Punishment? .It Depends on Your Definition of War.
An eleven year old girl recently made internet news when she declared collective punishment should not be used by her teacher as it violated The Geneva Convention.
The Daily Dot contended the girl was partially correct. From 11-year-old claims classroom punishment violates Geneva Convention—and she’s right (kind of):
The article continues:
But that doesn’t answer the question whether this unnamed teacher could be accused of a war crime. The answer is probably not, considering the school isn’t engaged in a war and likely isn’t located in an occupied territory.
Those two sentences deserve some discussion. If war is defined as a military conflict between states/nations which utilizes guns, bombs, planes, tanks, knives, warships, etc, then the school is not in a war as it is commonly understood and defined. If the definition of war is expanded and includes conflict beyond the traditional battlefield, the issues dividing parents/taxpayers in the Common Core/ESSA educational reform could be classified as the school engaged in a battle. It may not qualify as a war, but as metaphorical clashes of values from actual or threatened clashes of arms. Could the school be considered as being in an occupied territory as it is being directed by NGO policies/ESSA mandates and not policies created by the school? From The Philosophy of War:
Some examples of the ‘arms’ in the school’s cache are ‘sit and stare’ punishment if a student opts out of unvalidated and meaningless testing, lower grading even if a student performs well in a collective group assignment (individual effort is not rewarded), and lower scores on math assignments if the problems are not answered in a prescribed manner (even if the answer is correct). School boards have quashed questions from taxpayers on the legitimacy of education reform in their schools and have even had those asking questions about curriculum and educational reforms removed from meetings.
The threats from schools are not only about curriculum and teaching, but extends to inquiring about a child’s physical care. From Father arrested and injured after confronting teacher about not letting young son use bathroom:
“His father approached a teacher just to verify why she didn’t let him use the bathroom. He gets arrested for asking a simple question. It’s not her against him, it’s her against us. Could’ve happened to any of our kids,” said Stacia Gregorio, a parent.
“We are afraid, we are very afraid. We can come to the school and any issue I’m up and if you’re going to go and address it, you were going to be arrested,” said Maryam Genik, a parent.
What causes this type of authoritarian punishment from authorities determined to protect the system and prescribed manner of learning? The ’causes of war’ from The Philosophy of War:
When school boards set up the rules that citizens are only allowed 2 minutes to speak on serious issues concerning their children, the schools are setting up the climate for conflict. The parents are obligated to pay into this system and have little to no say in how the schools teach and discipline their children. When they ask questions, many times they are ridiculed, ignored or arrested. The parents, aka the taxpayers paying for this school, are discovering that they must accept the collective ‘wisdom’ of the school bureaucracy or face the consequences. The masses are not easily swayed by the ideas of the elite and the elite is not ultimately pursing what the majority seeks. Who doesn’t believe there is an educational war and has been for quite some time?