Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Billion Dollar Bank Account...Low Class Behavior

All the billions of dollars that Ivana Trump has in the bank did not prevent her from going straight ghetto on a Delta flight the other day! Apparently she had to be escorted from the plane after reportedly screaming “Little f*ckers!” and “Shut the f*ck up!” at kids who were running up and down the aisles. Ivana didn’t spare the F-Bomb from the crew either, because she repeatedly screamed “F*ck You!” at them as they removed her from the plane. Tisk…tisk…tisk…..such poor behavior for someone who should know better. She does, after all, have three children of her own.

But just between you and me…don’t YOU sometimes want to go off on unruly kids at a department store? Maybe even at a restaurant, or at a playground. I’m the kind that sits back first to see if their parent will intervene. However, I don’t hesitate to say something if they don’t. For example, recently I was Christmas shopping at a mall. As I walked around a store, I could repeatedly hear the bell chime that alerts store staff that someone had entered the store. I looked
over and saw a young boy (about 6-years-old) standing in the doorway and kicking his legs in front of the sensor to activate the bell sound. He must have made that thing go off two hundred times! The store owner muttered under her breath as she rang up my purchases “I wish that kid would stop because it’s driving me crazy!” So…as I passed this little door bell bandit on my way out I smiled warmly and said “You are too cute! But you know…that is not a toy and it is really noisy. You probably shouldn’t play with it cutie pie.” He grinned at me and immediately stopped what he was doing. Embarrassed, my younger brother whispered to me that I was not supposed to talk to other people’s children. Maybe it’s because of what I do for a living, but I have no problem with it. I would not necessarily reprimand a child if there parent was present. But I see nothing wrong with correcting children (within reason of course). I think it’s more about how one goes about doing it that is most important. So I don’t blame Ivana for being irritated by the kids who may have been behaving badly on her flight. She was probably already on edge since the tabloids reported that she is separating from husband number 17. However, cursing at kids is just wrong, and ultimately not helpful.

So next time you are at your favorite all-you-can-eat restaurant and a doe-eyed youngster proceeds to stick their finger into the salad dressing, don't go Ivana on him. Just tell him not to do it...and skip the salad:)

Happy Parenting,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Legal Victimization

I'm scratching my head trying to figure out why anyone would think that something like this would be okay. If this was your daughter (or son), would you support her/his sexual relationship with her/his TEACHER????? Below is a Blog that I wrote for Time's Up Blog. Some of the comments in response to the post truly sadden me. Whether or not a student is a "hottie" does not make it okay. AND whether or not the law says that a 16-year-old is old enough to decide whether or not a teacher can have sex with them DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT! ... Please read and share with me what I might be missing.

Happy Parenting,

This post was written for the Time's Up Blog (http://www.timesupblog.blogspot.com/) which is a collection of bloggers who are champions for victims of crime. The purpose of the blog is to bring awareness to the injustices to victims and to search out solutions with an SOS to those in the capacity to make changes happen.

Today in the metro Atlanta area, former Marietta High School teacher, Christopher King, was acquitted of sexual assault. The charges stem from the discovery that he had been having inappropriate interactions with a female student. Since he openly admitted that those interactions were “sexual” you would think that this would be an easy conviction, right? However, the problem is that his 17-year-old victim took the stand in defense of her former teacher who she described as her “boyfriend.” His lawyer told jurors that the two “were in love,” and although "This may be a bad idea…it's not illegal." This attorney’s argument was bolstered in June when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, when a student is a willing participant and is 16 or older, the student's consent can be a defense for teachers facing a sexual assault charge. The presiding judge by-passed the jury and rendered his verdict this afternoon, saying "It's gross, it's awful, but it ain't illegal…This was a consensual relationship." So with that…Christopher King was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Really? Is a 17-year-old able to consent to a sexual “relationship” with a nearly forty-year-old man? In the dictionary, an adolescent is defined as: A young person who has undergone puberty but who has not reached full maturity. Therefore, how can it be that there is such a law that blatantly ignores the fact that, by definition, an adolescent is not equipped with the emotional maturity to understand the ramifications and consequences of adult behaviors? Adolescents and children are inherently trusting of authority figures, and are naïve and easily mislead. This is one of the reasons why pedophiles are able to commit their crimes. In this case, King’s former student told a courtroom full of people that he began calling her about non-school related issues. Later, the two went shopping, out to dinner, and the movies. She said she believed that they were doing the “things dating couple do.” "It evolved the way I assume any sexual encounter does," she said. Clearly, Christopher King took advantage of his position of power as well as the childlike immaturity of his 17-year-old victim. Yes I said it…VICTIM! In essence, she was groomed to believe that they had a relationship. Romanticizing this as love and anything positive is sickening. Point blank.

In this case, the victim’s father became alarmed by King’s phone calls to his daughter. However, she told him that he was overreacting. As an educator, I can assure you that EVERY school employee is aware of the appropriate code of conduct regarding students. Sometimes parents might feel uncomfortable with the attention that a teacher is giving to their son or daughter, but may not know how to handle the situation. Here are some clear cut No-No’s.

· Contact students for personal issues (ie. “Just to say Hi.”).
· Text students.
· Discuss personal information with students (ie. Issues related to marital problems, family issues etc.)
· Make plans with a student to have dinner or go to a movie.
· Videotape or record a student without expressed consent from the parent.
· Make any comments of a sexual or suggestive nature.
· Have sex with a student.
· Serve alcohol to a student.

So, what should you do if you notice any of these things? First, talk to your son or daughter to try and find out what has happened. Next, IMMEDIATLEY report your concerns to the building administrator and to the proper authorities for a thorough investigation. Have copies of text messages, emails, and pictures to share as evidence if you have them. Also remember that your son or daughter may try to conceal the “relationship” by denying that anything inappropriate is occurring. They may be defensive, and even angry with you for asking questions.

Regardless of the state Laws, any sound minded adult knows that it is immoral, unethical, deplorable…and YES criminal to take advantage of a child. I hope that we will all take a closer look at the laws that directly affect our children and adolescents because some offenders are taking advantage of a legal loophole, and are able to walk away totally free…Legally.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shaniya Davis...Our Lost Angel

Below is an article that I recently wrote for Essence Magazine online. It has been a few weeks since the nation was paralyzed by the news of Shaniya's horrific story. However, it is critically...I mean critically important to me that we don't forget her. Why? Because, now that we know and understand that this horror exists...we, as a nation, can do what needs to be done to end these crimes against children. NO child should endure what this baby girl did!

How Many Shaniya's Are There?
Posted in Essence.com November 24, 2009

A rose colored casket adorned with hundreds of flowers sat at the front of the church. A casket so small that it served as a vivid reminder that inside laid the body of a small defenseless child. Her name was Shaniya Davis. More than two thousand people packed the church, and hundreds peered through the windows to catch a glimpse of the homegoing ceremony. Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart who was not scheduled to speak, got up and encouraged the community to not get angry about the situation because he believed that God had a reason for taking Shaniya so prematurely. He then turned to his daughter's rose-colored casket and said lovingly "I know you're going to be waiting for me [in heaven]. I'll see you when I get there."

Mr. Lockhart's strength in the midst of such a horrific tragedy is commendable because most of us would have succumbed to anger and rage had something like this happened to our child. In fact, most of us didn't know Shaniya, but the emotion that her tragic story evoked was paralyzing. She was able to give a face to something so sadistic and perverted that most choose not to acknowledge...that everyday, hundreds and thousands of children are sold into the sex trade. It's a phenomenon known as sex trafficking.

There is no consistent face of a trafficking victim. They are both male and female. They are of all ages, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. However, although anyone can fall prey to trafficking, victims tend to come from vulnerable populations such as runaways, at-risk youth, drug addicts, the poor, and oppressed and marginalized groups. Traffickers often target individuals in these populations because they are reportedly easiest to recruit and control. These criminals are driven by two primary factors: high profits and low risk. The FBI was recently able to recover 52 children that had been sold into prostitution. Consequently, over 500 traffickers were successfully convicted. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg because reports suggest that well over 100,000 children and young women are sex trafficked every day. What makes Shaniya's story all the more disturbing is that it is her very own mother that stands accused of selling her precious baby girl into sexual slavery. Despicable, nauseating, infuriating...but a reality of the world in which we live.

What I'd like for people to understand is that no one is safe when it comes to this issue. Just as you get up routinely each day to go to work, pedophiles wake up to plan and strategize just how they can lure and molest children. They are extremely adept at doing just that. That is why the statistics show that a child is abducted every 40 seconds in our nation. Moreover, nearly 50 percent are African American. There is a false sense of security that many of us tend to have because we feel that our circle of elite friends and family, and large brick homes buffer us from the inherent cruelty of the world. However, the statistics do not lie.

Sadly, there are millions of Shaniya's across the world. They have no voice. They have no power. They have no face, and until recently, the wider public refused to even acknowledge that their stories were legitimate. Shaniya's story helped to change this. So, I agree with her father. God had a plan, and was ready to bring an angel home because her job had been accomplished. May you rest in peace baby girl.

Gaétane F. Borders, MA., A.B.D.
Certified School Psychologist
President, Peas In Their Pods

Read more: http://www.essence.com/news/commentary_2/how_many_more_shaniyas_are_there.php#ixzz0YgaJZdQB

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cute Little Movie Trailer....Babies Are Sooooo CUTE:)

This movie trailer is just so cute and intriguing to me! The movie titled "Babies"
follows the very different lives of four infants living in Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco and Tokyo. The opening clip cracks me up:) Siblings can be so mean to each other (lol).