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Classrooms and Courtrooms [Updated]

From 11 Alive, Atlanta, which carried the story after all sorts of officials dropped the ball:

Stefan [Ferraro] is an 11-year-old boy with Autism. A judge ruled he was physically and verbally abused at school.. . . Stefan cannot speak. He has Autism, and is non-verbal.

Ferraro began to show signs of abuse after he was transferred to the Marshall School in DeKalb County, a placement through the Atlanta Public School System.  His parents complained to the school, to no effect.  Then they placed a microphone in their son’s clothes.  This is what they recorded.  Picture an adult talking to another adult in a room with profoundly disabled, non-verbal children in their care:

“The man I’m dating is intelligent. But he has a small penis. You can’t throw a pebble into the ocean. Does it matter? Does size matter? Yes it does.”

The adults talked about drinking.

“Russian vodka with olive juice. That’s a dirty martini?”

At one point in the day, Stefan ate some pizza out of the trash can. The adults joked about it.

“I mean he was chill. Finger lickin’ good. He was chillin’ with that.”

But what the Ferraris heard that horrified them was this:

“You want a be-quiet hit?” (followed by the sound of a thump) “There you go. Get it now, go on.”

And two minutes later, listen as an adult tells others to leave.

“Please make him be quiet. Go away. Go. Take a minute. Go. Go on.”

And 15 seconds later, there were 18 seconds of thumps and the sounds of Stefan making noises.

Have you ever been in a classroom where adults talked like this?  Here is the way the same adult talked in the courtroom:

[T]he most anticipated witness took the stand on the final day of the hearing: teacher Sherri Jones. And the Ferrari’s attorney, John Zimring, got right to it, asking her if she was the one talking about a man’s gentials.

“I can’t recall if I said it or not,” Jones said.

If she was the one talking about drinking.

“I may have,” she said.

If she was one of the people joking about Stefan eating out of the trash.

“I don’t recall saying that,” Jones said.

But after Sherri Jones is made again and again to listen to the audio, her answers changed.

“And that was your voice?” Zimring asked.

“Yes, it was,” Jones answered.

“So you did say that?” Zimring asked.

“It came out of my mouth, yes,” Jones replied.

“It came out of my mouth.”  Denial of culpability is the lingua franca of courtrooms, spoken fluently by defendants who believe that any judgment of their behavior is unfair.  The weird, stilted, third-person language that people slip into in court, and even outside of it, is a verbal tactic designed to avoid guilt.  Ms. Jones was actually saying: “I was in that room.  The child was in that room.  The words were in that room.  But the words were just there.  Nobody is any more responsible for them than anybody else.”

A regular Albert Camus.

A person who is foul enough to talk about her boyfriend’s genitals in the presence of handicapped children, and mock those children, and either hit them or allow another adult to hit them, cannot reasonably be expected to take responsibility for that behavior.  The real question is this: why is nobody else holding her responsible?  Her principal has not done so.  The Atlanta Public School System has not done so.  They are defending what she did.

It came out of her mouth, and they did nothing.

***

Jurors in the Silver Comet Trail killer trial took less than two hours to find Michael Ledford guilty.  Paul Kersey writes:

Michael Ledford was found guilty on all ten counts. Remember how his lawyers made a huge stink about not being paid? Well, they did not call one witness for his defense. Their actual work in the case was/is, like you said, tactics to delay and obfuscate. The news reports on Monday said Ledford’s lawyers will call several witnesses during the sentencing phase to make the case for not giving him the death penalty. Apparently they’re counting on leniency for the following reasons: Ledford fell from a tree when he was a boy and allegedly sustained brain damage; Ledford was sexually abused as a boy; and Leford is an alcoholic.

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