Two days ago I watched an interesting documentary released in 2009 titled “The War on Kids“.
This documentary was written, directed and produced by Cevin Soling and was awarded as the best educational documentary at the 2009 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
“The War on Kids” is about the current US-American public school system. The film takes a look at public school education in the USA. This documentary concludes that public schools are not only failing to educate, but are increasingly authoritarian institutions that are eroding the foundations of US-American democracy.
“The War on Kids” studies the zero tolerance policies that are applied in US-American public schools since the 1990s. By arbitrary application of such a policy via unchecked authority, soon nail clippers, key chains, and aspirin were considered dangerous and violations of the rules.
Zero tolerance policies, combined with Columbine-inspired fear, has resulted in kindergartners being suspended for using pointed fingers as guns in games of cops and robbers and students being suspended for having Midol and Alka-Seltzer. Schools in the USA have been turned into often absurd and demoralizing educational institutions.
Increasingly, issues once dealt with by the guidance counselor or a trip to the principal’s office are now handled by handcuffs and tasers in the hands of the local police.
Students in public schools are also often denied basic constitutional rights. Surveillance cameras, locker searches, and metal detectors are shown to be commonplace. Courts routinely uphold the school’s right to do whatever they choose, creating by that way often an atmosphere of fear and loathing, anger and despair.
Even more harmful than this physical oppression is the use and often also abuse of psychiatric drugs at US-American public schools.
The rampant diagnoses of ADD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and similar conditions are shown to be intimately connected to pharmaceutical companies’ promotional activities. The alleged disorder known as ODD (Oppositional defiance disorder) is used to further control kids by serving as a gateway for further authoritative measures, often of the extreme kind.
Ritalin (Methylphenidate) and other psychiatric drugs are often being massively over-prescribed. These strong drugs can have dire consequences, including suicide and murder. Some school shooters, including the Columbine killers, have used or been on these drugs.
See for this dubious mass drugging of US-american school kids also my blog article “Generation RX (2008)“.
From an educational or pedagogic point of view this massive prescription of psychiatric drugs to children is obviously an aspect of a brainless zero tolerance policies that is applied in US-american schools.
See also an interesting interview of January 21, 2010 with Cevin Soling about his motives to make this documentary titled “ReThink Interview: Cevin Soling, Director of The War On Kids“ in the “Huffington Post“.
I can really recommend to you to watch this well made documentary.
The War on Kids (2009) Klaus Gauger steht unter einer Creative Commons Namensnennung-NichtKommerziell-KeineBearbeitung 3.0 Unported Lizenz