Monday, August 11, 2008

Strolling through the park one day......

If you don't know that I'm not a big fan of driving while on the phone, then you're either new or haven't been paying attention. I'm not sure why we, as a society, tolerate it any more than we tolerate drunk driving - studies have shown it's every bit as dangerous. Anyway, I'm taking my walk around Sugarhouse park today, walking opposite the direction of traffic because I like to look people in the face as I pass them. 3/4 of the way around the park I see this car coming towards me, and the driver is not only talking on the phone, but also reading at the same time. While driving through a park. Where a bunch of kids are running around, not to mention bikers, joggers, walkers and skaters. When are we going to put some teeth into our laws so that these people can be pulled over and told that this is just not OK? We have a distracted driving law on the books with two fatal flaws. It does not state any specific behavior as an example of distractred drivingand it's only enforcable as a secondary infraction. You cannot be pulled over for distracted driving, but if you cause an accident or are pulled over for speeding you can be cited for it. I thought laws were supposed to be preventative, not punitive. Secondary infraction laws are punitive, not preventative, because nobody thinks that they're going to cause an accident. It's like having drunk driving laws that are secondary to vehicular homicide. Don't kill anyone and you're OK, but if you run someone over we're really going to slap it to you for being drunk.

7 comments:

Jannx said...

It's frightening the kind of people that are on the road; the only thing more frightening is that some of them are raising kids, and those kids are the ones in our classrooms.

Max said...

Ain't that the truth. But comeuppance can be so satisfying. This kid we had last year that changed the entire feel of the school by bringing gang crap in came in this week to register. Since we're a special-permit school we got to say "Uh, no. But thanks for asking." Sent him packing like G.W. 159 days from today.

Jannx said...

Wow, a special-permit school, how lucky you are. My school is not that lucky. I think my school operates on the principle of higher the register, the more funds the principal receives. It seems as if she accepts any biped that can walk unassisted and unrestrained. Last school year, we were still accepting students in May -- I know, I received one in May. One of the other teachers said that she received a student in June a couple of years back.

This coming school year, we will have two new special ed classes. Now, there is nothing wrong with students who require "learning-assisted" services, but what some kids (and it is only some) bring to special education is a bit unsettling.

Max said...

It is a luxury we have that other schools don't - that we get to refuse the hardest kids, but we don't turn all the problems away. We need to have a certain number of students to keep all the teachers we have, if we drop too low the district will take some of our funding for salaries. So, it's not that we don't have any hard kids, just that we can get rid of the hardcore hard kids. And it's kind of sad that Special Ed sometimes becomes the dunping ground for problem students, it makes it so much harder for the students that really need the help - and want it. We spend way too much of our resources dealing with the students that don't care, or want to make trouble, that some of the hard working students get forgotten.

Jannx said...

Thanks for the clarification. Oh, I agree with your last comment about the "hard cases" getting more attention.

I realize now that no school (or system), be it public or private can really turn away too many kids for one reason or another. But just being able to say "no" once or twice can really go a long way.

Max said...

Yeah, like private schools, at least we get to say no to the really bad ones. But even private schools can't refuse everyone, or they'll go out of business. Add to that the monetary pressure of the kid whose parents donated $3 million for the new library wing, and you have some serious pressure to keep that kid even if he/she is a pain. It's all a balancing act, weighing one thing against another and making the best choice possible at the time....

Jannx said...

I agree. Very nicely stated.