WBEZ | parents http://www.wbez.org/tags/parents Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Dealing with alcoholism in the family http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-08/dealing-alcoholism-family-113249 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy visits FOX News’ “America’s Newsroom” at FOX Studios on October 6, 2015 in New York City..jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A memoir called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Common-Struggle-Personal-Journey-Addiction/dp/0399173323?tag=wburorg-20" target="_blank">A Common Struggle</a>,&rdquo; released Tuesday by former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, bears all about his family&rsquo;s health and alleged addictions.</p><p>The portrait of his father, the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, and his mother Joan, breaks what he calls a &ldquo;conspiracy of silence&rdquo; about how alcoholism poisoned the family. Others are disputing the account, including his older brother, Ted Kennedy Jr., a Connecticut state senator.</p><p>Those inner-family disputes are not uncommon, according to&nbsp;Robert Ackerman, an expert on alcoholism and family life. Siblings can have different experiences with a parent&rsquo;s addiction, he says, and in some cases, one sibling may not recognize the problem at all.</p><p>Here &amp; Now&lsquo;s Robin Young speaks with Ackerman about alcoholism and the many ways that it impacts family and children.</p><hr /><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>How common is it for one child to say something and another to stay silent?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very common. Several years ago I was amazed when I met adult children of alcoholics whose siblings did not consider themselves to be adult children of alcoholics. There&rsquo;s a lot of different reasons for it &ndash; it runs all the way from your perception, your age, your gender can have a lot to do with it. Daughters of alcoholics talked about their experience very differently than sons talked about their experience. Let me give you an example. Daughters of alcoholic fathers, which is the most common in 60 percent of cases, talked about their dads almost from a defensive point of view, but daughters of alcoholic mothers talked about their moms almost from an attacking point of view. A man can get inebriated and make a fool out of himself in public, but by our cultural standards, he&rsquo;s still permitted to feel masculine. But it&rsquo;s very difficult for a woman to do the same thing.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Can someone really deny that a family member is alcoholic?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Well yes, we would think after all these years we&rsquo;d have a handle on the concept of denial. One way of looking at it is what&rsquo;s really in it for the person who really does deny. Men coming out of alcoholic families &ndash; boy if it&rsquo;s your mom, we will deny for a much longer time if mom had a drinking problem than if dad had a drinking problem. I denied and protected my dad for years, and finally when I was older I thought about what&rsquo;s in it for me, and I thought, as long as I deny that he was alcoholic, I got to deny that it really hurt me. If I wasn&rsquo;t hurt then I didn&rsquo;t have to do anything about it. And I found out later that that&rsquo;s just not true, it had a huge impact on me. One classic case I saw was one time people came to hear me speak and there were sisters asking all kinds of questions, and the father was alcoholic but had quit drinking, but the older sister went on and on, and the younger sister said, &lsquo;we never realized you were impacted by this&rsquo; and this really quiet mother spoke up and said, &lsquo;you weren&rsquo;t affected, none of you were affected&rsquo; just like that. And you know, mom spent her life trying to protect her children and if her kids were affected, then mom thought maybe she had failed.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On the disastrous nature of anonymity for children of alcoholic parents</strong></p><div>&ldquo;You mentioned Patrick Kennedy and his &lsquo;conspiracy of silence&rsquo;. I&rsquo;ve always talked about, if you&rsquo;re living in an alcoholic family, addiction takes hostages. It puts a whole lid on what you can and can&rsquo;t say in your family, and it starts to put a lid on yourself and pretty soon you find yourself going out of your way to cover up what you live with every day. The stuff that really stands out the most is that it really has an impact in normal human development. Those things you and I should work on as we grow up &ndash; the development of trust, the development of intimacy with other people, a great sense of creativity, a sense of self-accomplishment. When you&rsquo;re second or third to a bottle or to OxyContin, it&rsquo;s very painful. I was aware of this as a kid and I never said anything to anybody but I never felt that I was as good as the other children, like &lsquo;wow they must have come from a really good home&rsquo; and I just was not about to share my home. And it&rsquo;s not just about what&rsquo;s happening to you &ndash; I believe the greatest impact, especially on children, it&rsquo;s not what happened, it&rsquo;s about what they&rsquo;re missing.&rdquo;</div><p><strong>On the terrifying moment of intervention</strong><br />&ldquo;We have absolutely no idea how that parent is going to take it. I wound up with the same thing, I finally got enough nerve to say something to my father when I was a young man and my dad sort of politely told me where to go. The number one thing is, and I believe this more than anything else, that is people and members of an alcoholic family quite simply have a right to recovery. It&rsquo;s as simple as that, whether that person is five or 55 years old. And that right does not depend on whether that alcoholic gets sober, it depends on whether or not you take enough interest in yourself or your children to get help. You can&rsquo;t sit around and wait for somebody who&rsquo;s drug-affected to make a rational decision.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/08/dealing-with-alcoholism-in-the-family" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-08/dealing-alcoholism-family-113249 Parents bond over closing of a Chicago public school http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/parents-bond-over-closing-chicago-public-school-112075 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150521 Jeanette Angela bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2013, Chicago Public Schools closed fifty schools as part of a restructuring. When Angela Ross found out her kids&rsquo; elementary school was closing, she could hardly believe it. Then Jeanette Ramann and other parents from a nearby Bronzeville school came to help with the transition. Today, Ross and Ramann are friends and fellow education advocates.</p><p><em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p><p><em>This story was recorded as part of a collaboration between StoryCorps Chicago and <a href="http://schoolprojectfilm.com">The School Project</a> </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/parents-bond-over-closing-chicago-public-school-112075 StoryCorps Chicago: High school friends help navigate family relationships http://www.wbez.org/sections/special-series/storycorps-chicago-high-school-friends-help-navigate-family-relationships <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150320 Brittany Imani bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Imani and Brittany are seniors at the same suburban Chicago high school. The two girls shared a class together freshman year, but didn&#39;t become close until earlier this school year.</p><p>They&rsquo;re on track to graduate soon: Brittany plans to go into the military, while Imani plans to study nursing. In this week&#39;s StoryCorps, they trade stories about their rocky relationships with their parents and how their friendship has helped them navigate life thus far.</p><p>&ldquo;When my mom had me, she didn&rsquo;t know she was pregnant with me,&rdquo; Brittany said, &ldquo;She was in jail because she got busted with a lot of drugs and they took us away from her.&rdquo;</p><p>Brittany doesn&rsquo;t remember her dad, even though she has photographs with him. When asked by Imani how she feels about that, Brittany responds by saying it would be nice to find out more about him. &ldquo;But then I kind of really don&rsquo;t care,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Imani grew up with her mom but her dad wasn&rsquo;t always present. When she was four or five years old, her dad said he would take her to a movie. She sat on the porch and waited, but he never came. Eventually Imani&rsquo;s mom brought her inside, kicking and screaming. She cried herself to sleep that night, and she says it was the first time her dad ever let her down.</p><p>The two girls have learned to protect themselves from the emotional pain caused by others. They show signs of emotional maturity far beyond their years. And they look to each other for comfort: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just nice to know that somebody has your back,&rdquo; Imani says. Brittany agrees, saying, &ldquo;It feels good to hear the truth from somebody.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/special-series/storycorps-chicago-high-school-friends-help-navigate-family-relationships Young couple prepares for the birth of their first child http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-couple-prepares-birth-their-first-child-110958 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 141017 Meg and Bobby Hart.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Megan and Bobby Hart met after college, while preparing to do the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso.</p><p>Three years ago, they got married. And now they&rsquo;re on the cusp of yet another adventure.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna have a baby,&rdquo; Bobby says, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;Very soon,&rdquo; Meg says. &ldquo;Tomorrow I will be 37-weeks pregnant, so that is considered full-term. The baby could come any time now.&rdquo;</p><p>As if that weren&rsquo;t enough excitement, they bought their first home a month ago, and Bobby is spending all his time getting it ready.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m hoping that the child doesn&rsquo;t come for maybe another four weeks,&rdquo; Bobby says, &ldquo;to allow us to really do all the work that needs to be done on the house&hellip;I mean I love this person who&rsquo;s coming into the world but I don&rsquo;t want them to come just yet. I want a solid four more weeks if I can get it. Three would be acceptable. Please no sooner than two.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What makes you think we are ready to be parents?&rdquo; he asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if we&rsquo;re ready,&rdquo; Megan says.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we are ready enough because there&rsquo;s a lot of love in our house so I think there&rsquo;s plenty of room for a new person to come into it and be loved and supported. And I think we&rsquo;ve also traveled, we&rsquo;ve gone to school. We&rsquo;ve kind of settled down and I think we&rsquo;re ready to bring somebody else into our lives now.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not woefully underprepared,&rdquo; Bobby says, &ldquo;but how do you know if you&rsquo;re really ready for this new experience that you&rsquo;ve never had? I&rsquo;ve never even really babysat. So this is really something that it&rsquo;s tough to say that I&rsquo;m absolutely prepared for.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What are you most looking forward to with this child coming into our lives?&rdquo; Meg wants to know.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, gosh! This is the person I get to hopefully teach the lessons that I think are really important. And maybe expand and move those things. I&rsquo;m excited to be able to have a relationship similar to the one that my father and mother have with me. All those sorts of cultural things you take from your parents. I&rsquo;m looking to be on the other side of that equation. And share those with a son or daughter. What about you?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m looking forward to that relationship,&rdquo; Meg says. &ldquo;You know I love you very much. But the way that our parents love us, I&rsquo;m excited to experience that love for somebody that is uncontrollable and overwhelming. I already feel it a little bit but I can&rsquo;t wait to meet the person.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We hope we do a good job,&rdquo; Bobby adds.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m confident we can do it,&rdquo; Meg says.</p><p>&ldquo;I am too.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-couple-prepares-birth-their-first-child-110958 Interracial lesbian couple falls in love http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/interracial-lesbian-couple-falls-love-110385 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 140620 Angela Virginia_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;There are lots of things about the queer community that I love and there are lots of things I don&rsquo;t love. I think there tends to be a big emphasis on looks and size,&rdquo; Angela Ibrahim says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>&ldquo;You tend to see people who look alike together. And if there are two people who don&rsquo;t look alike &ndash; It&rsquo;s Virginia and I. I&rsquo;m six feet tall and I&rsquo;m a big kid. Virginia is five (foot), five (inches), small and blond. So, we don&rsquo;t look alike.&rdquo;</p><p>There are other differences too: Angela is black and Virginia is white.</p><p>Angela grew up in the suburbs, while Virginia grew up in the city.</p><p>There are similarities as well. Both women work in higher education and both have brothers who have been to prison.</p><p>Angela says for a while after they met, though, she thought they could never be together because of their differences.</p><p>In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center, where the women were visiting from Wisconsin, Angela and Virginia express fear and excitement about their impending wedding and their families&rsquo; reactions.</p><p>&ldquo;I never really envisioned myself marrying someone,&rdquo; Virginia says. &ldquo;And even though I didn&rsquo;t have a vision for it, I know that when I&rsquo;m with you, I feel like it&rsquo;s gonna be okay&hellip;It just makes sense, and I trust that.&rdquo;</p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/interracial-lesbian-couple-falls-love-110385 Morning Shift: Dealing with first day jitters http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-26/morning-shift-dealing-first-day-jitters-108520 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Parent-child - Flickr-stephanski.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Monday marks the first day of school for CPS students, some of whom will be at new schools for the first time. We check in from various schools around the city. And, we discuss strategies for dealing with the anxiety of the first day of school.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Dealing with first day jitters" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-26/morning-shift-dealing-first-day-jitters-108520 Crowds descend on downtown Chicago to protest school closings, 127 ticketed http://www.wbez.org/news/crowds-descend-downtown-chicago-protest-school-closings-127-ticketed-106311 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/8596861162_a734e7f296_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><object height="338" width="601"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2F&amp;set_id=72157633103902875&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2F&amp;set_id=72157633103902875&amp;jump_to=" height="338" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="601"></embed></object></p><p>More than 100 people were cleared away by police at a Wednesday rally protesting Chicago Public Schools&#39;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">proposal to close 54 schools</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/civil-disobedience-revs-against-school-closings-106353" target="_blank">A group including teacher union officials, parents, janitors, lunch ladies and ministers sat down in front of City Hall. </a>Police asked each individual to leave. When they refused, police led them away.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department says it ticketed 127 people. At the rally, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called the closings a &quot;land grab and a power grab,&quot; and said they were part of an attempt to privatize the school system. For more on the rally, see WBEZ coverage <a href="http://www.wbez.org/civil-disobedience-revs-against-school-closings-106353" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday stood by the district&#39;s decision to close schools, saying <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-addresses-race-chicago-school-closure-plan-106325" target="_blank">the status quo is not working</a>.</p><p>Prior to the protest, the CTU had been training parents, teachers and community organizations in civil disobedience and had said it planned for 150 people to be arrested . &nbsp;A <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/441102002634744/">Facebook </a>announcement for the rally warned, &ldquo;They want to shut down our schools, we&rsquo;ll shut down the city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago&rsquo;s pubic schools are out for spring break this week, leaving students and teachers free to join in the rush-hour rally, organized by the teachers union and a coalition of other unions and community groups.&nbsp; Chicago Public Schools erected barricades Monday outside its headquarters in preparation. &nbsp;A spokeswoman said that&rsquo;s common practice in situations where the district gets advance word of a protest.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Public Schools is also <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/leaked-memo-tells-principals-keep-eye-school-closings-protesters-106301">preparing principals for acts of civil disobedience</a> at their schools, though not necessarily today. A memo sent to principals at closing schools lists lockdowns, walk-outs, sit-ins and &ldquo;Occupy&rdquo; actions as possibilities. It outlines &ldquo;overall guidelines for the prevention of civil disobedience&rdquo; and suggests principals &ldquo;be approachable and supportive to feelings of unrest, anxiety, or dissatisfaction.&rdquo; It also instructs principals to &ldquo;observe and report all information regarding possible protestors, locations, dates and times,&rdquo; and to note which community organizations or news organizations are present.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">In addition to closing 53 elementary schools</a> and one small high school, the district wants to completely re-staff six additional elementary schools. It is also proposing 23 schools share 11 buildings beginning next fall; some of those are new schools that will just be opening.</p><p dir="ltr">The district says closing the 54 schools will offer students a better education because it will allow scarce resources to be spread across fewer schools. Many of the schools slated for closure have fewer than 300 students. For the first time in more than a decade of school closings, CPS is saying it will put significant money into receiving schools, promising students air conditioning, libraries with new books, &ldquo;learning gardens&rdquo; and iPads, along with social workers and counselors to help students adjust.</p><p dir="ltr">The teachers union has said it wants no schools closed, and parents at the individual schools slated for consolidation have brought up their own concerns, from longer walks to school in winter weather to fear for their children crossing into rival gang territory.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month in Philadelphia, 19 activists were arrested at a meeting where the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted to close 23 schools; the head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, was among those arrested. The Chicago Teachers Union says Weingarten, who appeared at rallies here during the teachers strike in September, is not expected to be in Chicago today.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Linda Lutton is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 11:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/crowds-descend-downtown-chicago-protest-school-closings-127-ticketed-106311 New moms apologize a lot http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/new-moms-apologize-lot-103841 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jolie.jpg" style="height: 418px; width: 620px;" title="Sorry, this is not me. (AP)" /></div><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.19354258324216145">I know some people think of new mothers as smug, self-satisfied creatures who know what they&rsquo;ve done is amazing and the rest of the world is irrelevant, but that hasn&rsquo;t been the case in my experience. New moms apologize. A lot. Sorry about the way I look. Sorry, the house is a mess. Sorry my stroller is so big. Sorry the baby just spit up. Sorry the baby is crying. Sorry if the way I feed my baby might offend you. Sorry, I just forgot what I was going to say because THE BABY ATE MY BRAIN! Aargh! I&rsquo;m not myself, as you can see. Sorry.</span><br /><br />This is me, although getting a little progressively less so I as I slide amongst this matrix of knowing what I&rsquo;m doing and accepting a new reality. I think some of us (self-described) educated, somewhat-hip moms who think, &ldquo;I read <a href="http://www.stfuparentsblog.com/">STFU Parents</a>! I get it!&rdquo; then feel dismayed when we realize that we are not exactly the same, plus baby. And having a baby is not like Angelina Jolie having a baby. It&rsquo;s not striding through the airport all skinny with great sunglasses clutching your tiny quiet child to your chest as you go off and be awesome. It&rsquo;s very much like it is in the movies and TV, which makes you feel like such a cliche as your hair falls in your face and you wonder if you got poo under your nails and your shirt has been spit up on but you don&rsquo;t feel like adding to the laundry pile and you wonder if you should keep picking up the house or just only do it when people come over and not just people, but really important people like the president.<br /><br />The craziest thing is, I have noticed that some of us new moms continue to apologize amongst even our own kind. I had lunch with a girlfriend the other day who has a baby and she seemed frazzled as she tried to play it cool, juggling a 20-pound baby and a 30-pound stroller out of her car &mdash;&nbsp;not to mention a 10-pound diaper bag. I went to a party a new mom threw for other new moms and she seemed worried that all she had for her guests was guacamole and booze. (Let&#39;s be real: All you really need is the booze). I saw myself in these ladies and tried to impart the sentiment that, hey, we&rsquo;re all the same here. I don&rsquo;t know any of those women who make it all look easy and that they&rsquo;ve got it all under control. Frankly, I don&rsquo;t want to. So when we&rsquo;re around our own kind at least, I hope we can try to let go of apologizing for our current state of being. At the very least we should enjoy that brief moment we don&#39;t feel the need to apologize.<br /><br />I don&rsquo;t have a really good wrap up to this post. The baby is crying upstairs and I have to cook dinner tonight and currently the table I&rsquo;m typing this on is festooned with papers and a dirty kleenex and a pacifier and and an empty dog heartworm medicine box and soy sauce packets so my brain is I don&#39;t know what. I&rsquo;m sorry. But I know some of you will understand.</p></p> Thu, 15 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/new-moms-apologize-lot-103841 Parents fight over pledging allegiance in schools http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/parents-fight-over-pledging-allegiance-schools-92184 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-19/rosenthal_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Residents are waving the flag in Brookline, Mass., both for — and against — the Pledge of Allegiance.</p><p>Courts have ruled that public schools cannot compel students to recite the pledge, so in Brookline, as elsewhere, the pledge is voluntary.</p><p>But critics say there's still pressure on students to conform, and they want the pledge out of the classroom altogether.</p><p><strong>A concern about peer pressure</strong></p><p>Brookline parent Martin Rosenthal says he is very patriotic. He proudly put his hand on his heart and pledged allegiance to the flag at recent community event. But, he says, the pledge has no place in the classroom.</p><p>"You're asking kids in school to take a loyalty oath in front of their classmates," he says. "I just don't think that's right."</p><p>Rosenthal says the pledge has no educational value and even flies in the face of the kind of critical thinking schools should be teaching. But, he says, he's most bothered by the peer pressure students may feel to recite it.</p><p>"It's like if you don't agree with the group, we're gonna ostracize you," he says. "If you don't swear allegiance, you're considered disloyal. That's what I'm getting."</p><p>Since he filed his proposal, Rosenthal says he's been assaulted by calls and emails that prove his point — messages like "Go <strong>****</strong> yourself you socialist pig," and "You liberal <strong>*****</strong> are ruining this country."</p><p>"I mean, I have a thick skin, but I don't think it's right to put 6-7 year olds in that situation — and the school committee doesn't get it," Rosenthal says.</p><p>School committee chair Rebecca Stone says no students have ever complained they were bullied for not pledging. And schools are very careful to make sure the pledge does not feel coercive.</p><p>"We don't have a problem," she says.</p><p><strong>Kids say they don't feel pressure</strong></p><p>At Brookline's Runkle School, as in most, the pledge is led once a week over the intercom.</p><p>"Nobody should be asked to stand, nobody should be asked to salute, or to place their hands over heart, they are not told how to respond," Stone says. "They are given the opportunity to hear and recite the pledge if they so choose."</p><p>After dismissal, outside another Brookline school, eighth-grader Noam Fink agrees that there is no pressure to pledge. In fact, she says, sometimes there's pressure not to pledge.</p><p>"I did it once," she says. "And I was one of three people standing up and it was awkward 'cause everyone was staring at you."</p><p>Pledging seems to be more common in the younger grades. Though, as fourth-grader Milena Kitterman puts it, it's up to you.</p><p>"If you wanna do it, it's cool to do it," she says. "But if you don't want to do it, you just sit in your seat and wait till it's over and it's no big deal."</p><p>She and classmate Kate Staff say they like pledging.</p><p>"It just feels very special to do it," Kitterman says.</p><p>"I feel like I'm really actually an American," Staff adds.</p><p>School committee chair Stone says many in Brookline want more of the pledge, not less.</p><p>"There is no question that this is a cherished, civic tradition — and cherished, civic traditions count for something," she says.</p><p><strong>A distraction </strong></p><p>Indeed the flap over the flag ricocheted all the way up to the candidates for president. Speaking on Fox News, Newt Gingrich was indignant.</p><p>"I would hope that any tax-paid school will say the Pledge of Allegiance, and frankly I'd wonder whether taxpayers ought to subsidize it if it's not going to teach people how to be patriotic and how to be pro-American," he said.</p><p>In Brookline, equally enraged residents are now hanging flags outside their homes in support of the pledge. Resident Sandra Maloney says people should stop whining about peer pressure.</p><p>"Grow up," she says. "Part of growing up is having pressure put upon you so that you are able cope with life as you get older. We are trying to teach our children to stand up for themselves. This is part of education."</p><p>But at home, where his phone has been ringing nonstop, Rosenthal says the harassment he's experiencing is more than just teasing on the playground. The public threats even prompted the police chief to get involved.</p><p>For all the vocal opposition, there's been relative quiet from the side of civil libertarians. Even stalwart Harvey Silverglate came down in favor of the pledge in schools, saying it does have educational value. He says letting students wrestle with whether or not to pledge is kind of like Liberty 101.</p><p>"Let me tell you something — in an un-free country it's very easy because the authorities tell you what you have to do," he says. "So in a constitutional democracy, of course it's hard because you have to make your own mind up. But we should really thank our lucky stars that's what we've got."</p><p>Silverglate calls the whole debate over the pledge a distraction. But thanks to the First Amendment, he says, it's a distraction people have a right to raise.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 15:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/parents-fight-over-pledging-allegiance-schools-92184 High Court: Age must be considered in interrogation http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-16/high-court-age-must-be-considered-interrogation-87976 <p><p>The U.S. Supreme Court has broadened use of the Miranda warning for suspects, extending it to children questioned by police in school. By a 5-to-4 vote, the court said for the first time on Thursday that age must be considered in determining whether a suspect is aware of his or her rights.</p><p>This case, involving a 13-year-old North Carolina boy identified only as J.D.B., will likely change police practices across the country. Experts say that police questioning, particularly in school, can no longer be presumed to be legally permissible without advising a youngster of his or her rights.</p><p>J.D.B., a special-education seventh grader, was pulled out of his classroom by a uniformed officer and escorted to a conference room where he faced a police investigator, the assistant principal and two other school officials.</p><p>For more than half an hour, the investigator interrogated J.D.B. about a string of local burglaries. The boy's legal guardian, his grandmother, was never contacted, and he was not given a Miranda warning — the warnings routinely given by police to criminal suspects once they are taken into custody.</p><p>While the police officer later told J.D.B. that he was free to leave, he also told the boy that the police could get a court order to put him in juvenile detention, and the school's assistant principal advised the boy to "do the right thing."</p><p>J.D.B. eventually confessed, and helped police recover the stolen items. At trial, his lawyer tried to get the confession thrown out on the grounds that given J.D.B.'s age and the circumstances of the interrogation, the confession was, in essence, coerced, and that the boy should have been advised of his right to an attorney and to remain silent. The state countered that the boy had been free to leave, that he, therefore, was not in custody, and that age should not be considered in determining whether police warn suspects of their rights. The North Carolina courts agreed.</p><p><strong>Court's Ruling</strong></p><p>But on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time ruled that the age of a child subjected to police questioning is relevant. Writing for the five-member court majority, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said there is "no reason for police officers or courts to blind themselves to [the] commonsense reality" that "children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances" would not. Indeed, Sotomayor said that a student required by law to attend school, and who is subject to disciplinary action for disobedience, might well believe that he or she must answer all police questions.</p><p>"Our history is replete with laws and judicial recognition that children cannot be viewed simply as miniature adults," said Sotomayor, concluding that because children are different — less mature, less capable of judgment and more susceptible to influence — police and judges must consider age in determining whether a child should have been advised of his or her legal rights.</p><p>Joining her in the majority were Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.</p><p>Justice Samuel Alito wrote the dissent for the court's four most conservative justices. The dissenters said, essentially, that the beauty of the Miranda rule is that it is simple and objective. A suspect must be Mirandized once he is in police custody — in short, when he cannot leave. Thursday's ruling, wrote Alito, "blurs" that line and "is fundamentally at odds" with the clarity of the Miranda rule.</p><p><strong>Mixed Reaction</strong></p><p>Reaction to the decision was mixed, but police, prosecutors and juvenile justice advocates alike said the decision would require police in many places to revamp their practices in dealing with juveniles.</p><p>"The pressure" on police now "is basically to err on the side of caution, to give the Miranda warning almost every time," said John Charles Thomas, who represents the National District Attorneys Association.</p><p>Stephen A. Saltzburg, a professor of criminal law at George Washington University, agreed.</p><p>"The concern here," said Saltzburg, "is that now you are going to have to take into account whether someone is 7 or 9 or 13 or 16, and how is the police officer going to do that? I think the answer is: When in doubt, give Miranda warnings."</p><p>But it is unclear how Thursday's decision will affect the way police interact with student-suspects. "In many places, there's a routine practice of trying to contact a parent," said Saltzburg. "But in many [other] instances, if the parent is not available, the police have good reason not to want to delay, and in some instances, the fact is that they don't want the parent present. And unless the law requires the parent to be present, they will proceed with an interrogation."</p><p>The case gives a "real world" look at how police operate, says Eugene O'Donnell, a former New York City Police officer, prosecutor, defense counsel, and now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Pointing to the facts of this case, he noted that the police investigator "took great pains to orchestrate an environment where he would not have to give the Miranda warnings," said O'Donnell. "A lot of people think that cops are dying to take out that Miranda card and read the rights to suspects. But in fact the police are very reticent to do that. They rely on .. getting people to talk."</p><p>Steven Drizen, legal director at Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Conviction, calls Thursday's ruling "huge."</p><p>"This is the first time the court has applied Miranda to an interrogation that takes place in the schools, which is the site of many interrogations of children," said Drizen. "This is huge because when police go to locate suspects who are children, the first place they often go is to their school. And many times, police officers will question suspects at the school under the belief that if they do so, then they don't have to apply Miranda because it's not a station-house interrogation. ... It's been a loophole ... and this decision will close that loophole."</p><p>Indeed, "juveniles make up a disproportionate number of those who falsely confess," added Drizen, citing recent studies that demonstrate juveniles account for fully one-third of wrongful convictions based on false confessions. "The pressures of police interrogations weigh much more heavily on a juvenile suspect than they do on an adult suspect" leading to "exponentially higher" false confession rates among juveniles, said Drizen.</p><p><strong>Decision's Possible Impact</strong></p><p>Child advocates were thrilled with Thursday's ruling. "The court [issued] a resounding statement that whether we look to simple common sense or whether we look to research, there's no question that the characteristics of age and adolescence are relevant when we think of children's rights under the Constitution," said Marsha Levick, deputy director of the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.</p><p>ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro said that the decision must be considered in light of the trend of referring disciplinary actions to the courts instead of the principal's office. "Increasingly, misbehavior that used to be treated as a school disciplinary problem is now treated as a law enforcement problem," said Shapiro. "At a minimum, therefore, we have to ensure that students' rights are protected in those circumstances, and the decision is a step in that direction."</p><p>Others, like George Washington University's Saltzburg wonder whether giving Miranda warnings to kids will make any difference. "The reality," said Saltzburg, "is that even with Miranda warnings, it's doubtful that young people understand exactly what it all means and understand their choices, and so in the long run, I doubt that there will be many fewer confessions because of this opinion."</p><p>Indeed, the Supreme Court specifically left unanswered the question of whether a formal Miranda warning will suffice when given to a child, and what, if anything, police must do to make sure kids who are questioned do understand their rights.</p><p><strong>Chemical Weapons Treaty</strong></p><p>In other decisions handed down on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that citizens, not just states, can challenge the constitutionality of federal laws implementing the chemical weapons treaty.</p><p>The court's ruling came in a case with facts worthy of a soap opera. Carol Anne Bond discovered that her husband had fathered a child with her best friend and vowed revenge. Over an eight-month period, she placed toxic chemicals on the mistress' front doorknob, car handle and mailbox. The substance, however, was easily visible and the mistress suffered only a minor injury to her thumb.</p><p>When local police failed to act, the federal government stepped in and charged Bond with violating the chemical weapons treaty-enactment laws. She was sentenced to six years in prison.</p><p>But Bond challenged the treaty-enactment laws, contending they amounted to an unconstitutional federal usurpation by of states rights.</p><p>A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania rejected the argument, ruling that only a state can assert that the federal government is infringing its sovereignty.</p><p>On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed that decision. The high court said Bond could pursue her claim, but gave no hint that she was right in her states' rights claim.</p><p>Writing for the court, Justice Kennedy said that "[f]idelity to principles of federalism is not for the states alone to vindicate" and that "claims of individuals ... have been the principal source of judicial decisions concerning separation of powers and checks and balances." Writing in a concurring opinion, Justice Ginsburg said that Bond "had a personal right not to be convicted under a constitutionally invalid law" and therefore had the right to challenge this law.</p><p><strong>Prison Sentences</strong></p><p>In another criminal law decision, the court ruled unanimously that a federal judge cannot impose a longer prison sentence than what the sentencing guidelines permit simply to promote rehabilitation. In the case before the court, a judge imposed a 51-month sentence on Alejandra Tapia for smuggling illegal immigrants into the country. The sentence was at the outer edge of the sentencing guidelines, and the judge said he was imposing the longer sentence so that the defendant could qualify for all 500 hours of a federal drug-treatment program. The Supreme Court, however, said the judge went too far.</p><p>Writing for the court, Justice Kagan noted that for nearly a century federal law was based on the use of sentencing and parole to promote rehabilitation. But Congress, she added, abandoned that approach to focus more on retribution, deterrence and incapacitation. While rehabilitation may be considered, she said, Congress made clear that "imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting rehabilitation."</p><p><strong>Legality Of Searches</strong></p><p>In a fourth criminal law decision, the court upheld the conviction of an Alabama man, though the justices agreed the search that produced the incriminating evidence was illegal.</p><p>The case arose as a result of a shift in the court's approach to vehicle searches conducted at the time of an arrest of a passenger in the car. In this case, police conducting a routine traffic stop arrested the driver of a car for drunken driving and a passenger for giving a false name. The police then searched the car and found a gun in the passenger's jacket pocket. The passenger, Willie Gene Davis, was indicted on one count of a illegal possession of a firearm by a felon. The lower courts, following the existing law at the time, ruled that the search was legal. But while Davis' appeal was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that searches like this one are illegal.</p><p>On Thursday the court nonetheless refused to disturb the firearm conviction, declaring that at the time the search was conducted, police relied in good faith on existing law. The court said that since the rule that generally excludes illegally obtained evidence is designed to deter police misconduct, and there was no misconduct here, it would therefore serve no purpose to overturn the conviction.</p><p>The 7-to-2 ruling was written by Justice Samuel Alito. Justices Breyer and Ginsburg dissented. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Thu, 16 Jun 2011 20:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-16/high-court-age-must-be-considered-interrogation-87976