Gamma Ray Powered Disapproval…!
Pony Hulk is pretty hard to piss off, but once you do…things get REAL.
It has been a long time since we’ve seen Pony Hulk…not since the “Rascals” plotline, actually. Long time readers might notice a continuity issue here…Pony Hulk has three fingers and a thumb, instead of hoofy stumps, as in previous appearances. I needed to have the expressiveness of hands here, so we have a small continuity gaffe. C’est le vie.
So…why Pony Hulk? And what has Pony Hulk so cranky?
All week long…since Tuesday, I’ve watched friends, loved ones, and my students be completely upset about the election results. I’ve seen protests happening across my city, and across the United States. I’ve seen an “uptick” in activity from right wing and racist organizations, both in Los Angeles, and across the nation. My students finally got involved in something, and had a “walk out.” Through all of this, I’ve stayed pretty “even keel.” My friends are depressed, panicked, and emotions that I have trouble labeling, but I’ve been sticking to my “Superman Theory,” and attempting to redouble my efforts to do good in the world around me.
I donated to children in long term hospital care. I made sure my friends aren’t doing crazy things in response to a scary situation. I bought a homeless guy a sandwich. Little things, to basically just try to “be the change that i want to see in the world.” No grand gestures…be patient with my students, listen to them, and elsewhere in the world, try to be a bit more decent.
Pretty much, I’m trying to redouble my efforts in the causes that I care about. One of those causes, obviously, is the improvement and support of young people, especially the ones in my care.
And THAT, True Believer, is why Pony Hulk is Off The Chain right now.
Let me explain. I do a whole lot of preparation for my drawing. I do a lot of research, especially when there isn’t drama right in front of me. Of the political issues that I really care about, most of them intersect with education in some way. So…after playing “X-Wing” for much of Saturday, I came home, and read the news on my iPad. I started with a pretty generic Google News overview, then focused downward to California, and finally refined the search to Los Angeles.
That’s when I saw this, and for the first time, was really, really enraged by the election results, and subsequent fallout.
If you didn’t click the link, I’ll summarize. a long term substitute teacher at Bret Harte Middle School in South LA spent some serious time in PE class telling students that their parents would be deported now that Mr. Trump is the President Elect. Seriously…this is a thing that happened, and it was recorded at the time. If you click the link above, you can even listen for yourself.
The fact is…when you’re teacher, even a substitute, you have a big responsibility. my students have been fearful of Mr. Trump for months, and now…they honestly don’t know what will happen. Explaining the facts doesn’t really help with that fear and paranoia either. For a while it has been a part of my job to listen to my students’ fears about this, to be patient, and to attempt to put them at ease. That’s partly rational self interest…you aren’t going to care too much about English class if you are seriously worried about your family being able to stay together. One problem is just way, way larger.
But to tell a group of nervous sixth graders that the government could easily deport their parents and break up their families…that seems excessive. By a whole lot. The current situation is not unlike when the September 11th attack happened. People are confused, students are worried and emotional, and things seem outside their normal control. Teachers have to be the best people they can in those moments, for the good of the young people that we are trusted with.
That teacher obviously didn’t rise to the occasion.
Apparently, that particular sub won’t be working for our district any longer. That’s fine…but at the same time, it gave me a pretty dim view of Bret Harte Middle School as well. I interviewed there, just before I started drawing Adequacy, and just before I started working at my old school. Now, in retrospect, I’m pretty happy that Harte chose to pass on me because I was “controversial” for my involvement in the politics of education. Most specifically, the rights of students over the rights of union employees. They didn’t love that.
Clearly, they like a different kind of strident, outspoken teacher. You know…the kind that doesn’t care a whit about students, or their rights. The kind that will take the kind of racist, ignorant rhetoric that drove the entire election cycle, and use it to scare the @#$% out of a group of eleven year olds.
You see THAT? That grinds my gears and winds me up, True Believers. It makes me wonder how many other teachers might have ugly things like that to say to their classes, and suddenly feel empowered to do so.
And that thought makes me, and Pony Hulk, pretty damn angry.