Skip

It was gladiator-style entertainment for the staff
March 20, 2009 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Thunderdome Filter: In two separate incidents Texas schools have gotten a jump on any sort of dystopic future scenarios by staging illegal forced fights between those in their care. Corpus Christi State School night-staff made disabled residents get out of bed and then taped them fighting each other in over 20 incidents during 2008. South Oak Cliff High School had a policy between 2003 and 2005 of settling disputes between troubled students by having them fight it out in a steel cage in the boy's locker room while students and faculty looked on. Several arrests have been made in the Corpus Christi case and the South Oak Cliff one is just coming to public attention.
posted by CheshireCat (66 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
How on Earth do these cruel people wind up working with the disabled?
posted by magstheaxe at 9:14 AM on March 20, 2009


Oh, authority -- is there any way you can't be abused?
posted by LordSludge at 9:15 AM on March 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Man. Think of all the lives and money that might have been saved if we could have just put Dubya and Saddam in a steel cage back in '03.
posted by mannequito at 9:17 AM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Stay classy, Texas!
posted by ScotchRox at 9:19 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't be right, but letting these residents watch the night staff have their own cage match would be mighty satisfactory, but only if Thunderdome rules apply.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:20 AM on March 20, 2009


Everything's bigger in Texas, including the minor atrocities and petty torments.

Maybe Chuck Norris has a Paypal account set up for his little plan. Here's ten bucks, Chuck; please, just leave Austin behind.
posted by adipocere at 9:22 AM on March 20, 2009


I grew up in Houston. This kind of redneck "let boys be boys and slug it out" bullshit is a common attitude. I grew up with it so entrenched it even seems a little OK to me. And I got the shit kicked out of me somewhat regularly in middle and high school.
posted by Nelson at 9:24 AM on March 20, 2009


Two night staff enter.

No night staff leave.

Someone needs to set these people on fire.
posted by mephron at 9:25 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it mildly wrong that when I saw this, the song that immediately popped in my head was this?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:28 AM on March 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know, I watched Dear Zachary last night, and I've had all I can stomach of kids getting hurt.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:29 AM on March 20, 2009


Sounds like someone was messing with Texas, huh?
posted by inigo2 at 9:30 AM on March 20, 2009


Can't we just be beyond Thunderdome?

I never thought I'd get to use that.
posted by cimbrog at 9:32 AM on March 20, 2009 [18 favorites]


Kind of sad that I got to, actually. Thanks, Texas, you savage twits.
posted by cimbrog at 9:33 AM on March 20, 2009


Thank you, Texas, for making Alabama seem reasonable there for a second.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:37 AM on March 20, 2009


I think that the mortality rate would have been significantly higher at my high school if we had had a thunderdome.
posted by tehloki at 9:40 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes. These incidents reflect a fatal flaw in the character of everyone in Texas. Everyone. The whole state is damaged goods.

That is what I'm supposed to understand from the comments, right?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:46 AM on March 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


I think it's purely Eastbound and Down's fault.

LET'S GET IT OFF THE AIR! IT'S INSPIRING THUNDERDOME RELATED INJURIES!

oh wait that show is hilarious. Never mind.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 9:47 AM on March 20, 2009


I just wonder how often this kind of thing has gone on undetected over the years. Pretty damn despicable, in any case.
posted by metagnathous at 9:47 AM on March 20, 2009


Actually, mannequito, there was a serious Iraqi proposal that Saddam and Bush do just that back in 2002. I was very much in favor of the duel - if war was inevitable, I'd far rather have one man die than tens of thousands. Of course, there would be the possibility that Saddam would use one of his body doubles, or poison a blade like Feyd...
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:52 AM on March 20, 2009


Yes. These incidents reflect a fatal flaw in the character of everyone in Texas. Everyone. The whole state is damaged goods.

No, no, you're missing the bigger picture. See, because it's impossible to get everyone to behave like a civilized human being, we should refrain from punishing anyone that doesn't act like one.

That is what I'm supposed to understand from your comment, right?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:55 AM on March 20, 2009


I grew up in Houston. This kind of redneck "let boys be boys and slug it out" bullshit is a common attitude.

Same here--and in a fairly diverse neighborhood with very few rednecks. Our junior high gym teacher regularly pushed and even briefly choked unruly kids, and fights would be allowed long enough for a few punches to be landed to the coaches' satisfaction before stepping in and taking the participants to the principal's office. Thankfully, from what I gather from current grade school aged relatives, it has changed dramatically since then.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 AM on March 20, 2009


Thankfully, from what I gather from current grade school aged relatives, it has changed dramatically since then.

Empirical evidence suggests otherwise.
posted by dersins at 10:04 AM on March 20, 2009


These incidents reflect a fatal flaw in the character of everyone in Texas. Everyone. The whole state is damaged goods.

You are correct. In addition, everyone in Florida and California is crazy as hell, people from New England are uppity snobs and people from West Virginia can't read because they're too busy fucking their sisters.

Its all part of the lovely regionalism that is ingrained into the very fabric of the U.S.
posted by cimbrog at 10:05 AM on March 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


What the fuck is the matter with people. Fuck you, people.
posted by rtha at 10:09 AM on March 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Battle Royal
posted by hortense at 10:09 AM on March 20, 2009


This kind of redneck "let boys be boys and slug it out" bullshit is a common attitude.

Uh, South Oak Cliff is about as redneck as Compton. Just FYI.

Still pretty despicable shit. DISD is such a miserable mess.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:11 AM on March 20, 2009


So is it considered a positive or negative talent to be able to read while fucking one's sister?
posted by mannequito at 10:12 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

Heh. Indeed. At least not in my city, anyways.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 AM on March 20, 2009


"Man. Think of all the lives and money that might have been saved if we could have just put Dubya and Saddam in a steel cage back in '03."

Shitfire, put me in there with Dubya right now.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shitfire, put me in there with Dubya right now.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:23 PM on March 20 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by Jorus at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


That second one sets off all my bullshit detectors. It's all based on something that some school board investigator put in a report, which was then filed away for "months" before miraculously appearing in some reporter's inbox.

The resulting articles site few witnesses against Moten:

1. Frank Hammond. Against.
Moten and Hammond have a complicated relationship. In 2006, Moten accused Hammond of changing a student's grade, and the district placed the teacher on administrative leave. An appeals judge reinstated him, but the DISD fired him after Moten was accused of changing athletes' grades to keep them eligible to play basketball.
2. Some kid's mom. Against-ish.
"My son said this is what they do – let them fight in 'the cage.' "
First of all, hearsay. Second, note that she said, "let them," and not "made them." And I'm sure a kid wouldn't ever lie to his mother about what is and isn't allowed, or deflect responsibility for his own youthful stupidity, would he?

3. The Superintendant. Position inconclusive.
DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, however, confirmed that there were "some things that happened inside of a cage" and said that the fights were "unacceptable." He said that criminal charges were not filed but that "there was discipline taken."

DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said employees who were involved in the cage fights were disciplined. But none have faced criminal charges, and they probably never will.
None of that mentions a forced fight. Those employees could just as plausibly (or moreso) have been disciplined for allowing fights to occur--not by permitting them, but by failing to prevent them.

4. Unnamed "security staff" and "security monitors." Against. If there are any eyewitnesses, these are probably them. But what's their job description again? Something about safety? Could these be the aforementioned disciplined employees, grinding their axes?
Despite investigators' assertions that the staff's conduct "may constitute a criminal violation," charges were never filed against Moten or the hall monitors accused of organizing the fights.
Yep.

5. The investigator. Against?
Frank McCammon, an OPR inspector who wrote the report, said his office completed its investigation and submitted the report to district officials in March 2008. His office also immediately sent it to the Dallas County district attorney's office, he said. DISD's police department also sent its findings to the DA's office, he said.

McCammon said the district attorney's office declined to prosecute because the statute of limitations had run out by the time the cage fights were discovered in 2008.
Everyone else interviewed (Moten himself; D.W. Rutledge, executive director of the Texas High School Coaches Association; DeEtta Culbertson, spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency; DISD trustee Lew Blackburn; Jamille Bradfield, a spokeswoman for the district attorney) either knew nothing about the allegations, denied them outright, or "couldn't confirm or deny."

So, yeah.

It all seems to me like Hammond is trying to get back at Moten and the District for firing him--on legitimate grounds--by filing a baloney whistleblower lawsuit and calling all the local papers.

Also, the reporter, Tawnell D. Hobbs, seems to have connections to the DISD. It's all he ever writes about, and every article gets a thorough sexing up. Hopefully he's just the paper's designated school board guy, and not anything iffier.

P.S. Confused yet?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Texas, Our Texas! all hail the mighty State!
Texas, Our Texas! so wond..."

Wait... what?
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:41 AM on March 20, 2009


note that she said, "let them," and not "made them."

Although "letting" them fight in cage matches is less bad than "making" them fight in cage matches, it is still bad and should not be happening in schools.
posted by dersins at 10:41 AM on March 20, 2009


I can't speak to things at the Corpus Cristi State School as I've never even been to the city, much less the school, but I worked for a year at the Denton State School when I was 23, and I can speak to the environment in these places.

So there's no confusion, these "schools" are institutions. They are in-patient living facilities for mentally retarded adults who have become wards of the state. These are not day or overnight facilities. Occasionally, residents would spend weekends with family, but this was exceedingly rare. It is also not part of the local school system, nor is Corpus Cristi. It's part of the Department of Aging and Disabilities Services.

All that is required to get a job at one of these state schools is a clean criminal record and a pulse. The take home pay was about $1,000 a month. People who worked there did so because they had no skills that made them valuable anywhere else. That I was a college graduate was singular at DSS, to the point where my colleagues and superiors called me "College Boy." The behavior in these facilities does not reflect on the character of everyone in Texas. It reflects on the character of disenfranchisement, intimidation and misery.

The quality of life in the dorms for the residents was incredibly poor. In the particular dorm that I worked, all of the games and activities we had were broken or missing pieces, but our superiors chose instead to spend money budgeted for the residents on an animatronic 3' santa that danced to "Jingle Bell Rock." It was dimly lit, infested with cockroaches, and reeked of shit and piss.

There is a tribal mentality at DSS. The way abuse charges work at these schools is if a resident or a staff member is accused of abuse or neglect, they are automatically suspended while the charges are investigated. If you accuse a member of a "tribe," the members of said tribe will automaticall file counter charges against you in order to intimidate any other members of the staff from making the same charges. I found the best way to stay afloat was to simply not make any friends and do whatever I was told. 90% of the residents were too severely mentally handicapped to make abuse claims on their own. Many couldn't talk, and of those who could several had degenerative mental diseases that made their abilities to comprehend or remember their surroundings very limited.

Getting confirmed on charged of abuse are insanely easy. Staff is not allowed to touch or obstruct the path of residents in any way. Sometimes involuntary movement, like, say, bumping into a resident while opening a door that opens inward can be construed as physical abuse if someone "wants" it to. Also, raising your voice or saying "Shut up" is considered emotional abuse, and grounds for immediate dismissal and confirmation. If you are confirmed of having committed these infractions, you are basically ineligible of working with people ever again, as you will have a record of having abused people.

Since the culture of intimidation was so firmly entrenched, abuse was rife. I was on the "behavior unit" which meant that the residents were particularly violent. This allowed for staff members to slap, punch or kick residents and later claim that the bruises the clients had were "self-defense." It could as small as taking treaured objects from residents to watch them react to out and out abuse. Several residents self abused (a common trait of the mentally retarded in institutions) and the staff would simply not do anything to keep them from severely injuring themselves. I heard stories of residents who had bitten through major arteries this way. One of the residents appeared one day with a broken collarbone, and it was a "mystery" to everyone on the unit. Putting residents in straightjackets was an evertyday occurrence. Every so often, a story of extreme behavior that was cracked down upon would cause a slight realignment, but the behavior would eventually slide back into place.

Since I left, there have been numerous suspect deaths and cases of extreme abuse. In the beginning of March a death at DSS was labeled a homicide

I'm not sure what I intended in writing this, other than to say in this government facilities there is a systemic failure. It's the result of having too few funds to hire people who will care about their jobs, and to provide a safe, engaging environment for the residents.

The saddest part for me is that I genuinely loved all the residents I took care of. They were great and strong personalities, and they could be incredibly engaged and engaging when given the time and equipment to do so. There were other staff members there that cared equally for the residents, but labored under the same fears that I did. While I feel I did my job to the best of my abilities give the circumstances, it is one of the greatest regrets in my life that I didn't have the courage nor the resources to report everything that was going on at my workplace during the time that I worked there.
posted by orville sash at 10:45 AM on March 20, 2009 [67 favorites]


Although "letting" them fight in cage matches is less bad than "making" them fight in cage matches, it is still bad and should not be happening in schools.

Again, that was a mother's account of something her teenage son told her, and therefore hearsay, and therefore useless. And again, "let" does not necessarily mean "permit."
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on March 20, 2009


"let" does not necessarily mean "permit."

This is a joke you are making here, yes?
posted by dersins at 10:52 AM on March 20, 2009


hortense, I prefer Battle Royale the film (based on the book).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:52 AM on March 20, 2009


dersins: If we're having a dictionary fight, try this.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:57 AM on March 20, 2009


Jesus fuck. Of course "let" has other meanings, but none that make sense in this context, unless you believe that the mother was suggesting that the school rented the cage to the students for fighting purposes.
posted by dersins at 11:00 AM on March 20, 2009


I say we dust off and nuke the state from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:09 AM on March 20, 2009


GAH! Jesus fucking christ, dersins.

"You're letting the bunnies out!" Does this mean the same as, "You are giving the bunnies permission to leave"? Let = fail to prevent != permit.

And again (again!), the context in which the word is used is hearsay. Ignore it.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:10 AM on March 20, 2009


Great, let's turn a discussion of child abuse into a pissing-contest about word definitions. That'll productive.
posted by jonmc at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cripple fight!
Calm down, someone had to get it out of the way.

Very interesting comment orville sash. I know one mentally retarded guy who was basically disowned by his family. God forbid he had ended up in such an institution as Corpus Christi. He clearly suffered from neglect (at the very least) but has been out in the community with a part-time carer and an advocate for many years now. He has learned to read and write a little with this support and freedom. He is the light and soul of the party and very gregarious.
Had he been given the correct level of support when he was a child, rather than institutionalised, he would have had a very different life and wouldn't have had to wait until the age of 40 to learn to read and write.

I believe that the way someone is labeled will effect them in many ways, as there is an urge to conform with the label foist upon them. Given the right kind of support, mental, emotional, and physical therapy in a caring society many people who are seen as a 'burden' on society could blossom and contribute greatly.
posted by asok at 11:17 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Had he been given the correct level of support when he was a child, rather than institutionalised, he would have had a very different life and wouldn't have had to wait until the age of 40 to learn to read and write.

I have since moved to NYC. I do volunteer work with the mentally handicapped in the city. largely due to the work I did in Texas. All of the people I work with are in assisted living commmunities or living with relatives, but some of them are products of (now-closed) institutions. Their behavior is markedly different than those who've spent their entire lives outside of institutions, and they still manifest certain behaviors (hoarding, stealing, self injuring) endemic to institutionalization.
posted by orville sash at 11:30 AM on March 20, 2009


Sys Rq, I'll agree that Hammond isn't a particularly good witness since he has an obvious motive to lie, but the whole story is so bizarre that I honestly don't know what to make of it yet, plus all the AP sources are obviously copying from the ones I posted so there isn't much more information out about it. I decided there was enough substance to at least include it and let Metafilter hash it out, partly because Moten was removed from his position in fall of 2006 and replaced with a new principle who "cleaned up that whole school", and in part due to the assertion provided on the timeline:

March 2008: District investigators issue a report documenting at least two instances of cage fights. They send their report to the Dallas County district attorney's office for evaluation.

Maybe it will end up being a hoax, but for the moment there seems to be enough suggestions of malfeasance and at least some additional documentation of the events that I'm willing to wait to see how it develops, but thanks for digging around in the links for us.

orville sash, thank you very very much for your post. I realized they were primarily institutional facilities for the disabled, but I'd seen them characterized a few different ways on the web and they're referred to as schools pretty consistently with no emphasis on the fact that it's an adult population. In any case I skimmed over that distinction in the interest of brevity in introducing the articles so it's good to hear a firsthand account of those kinds of places and what they really entail.
posted by CheshireCat at 11:35 AM on March 20, 2009


I was briefly an HR management consultant to these organizations - in fact, Orville Sash, I was in a meeting with a bunch of the Denton staff when 9/11 occurred. Some of the staff are off-the-charts committed to being there and making a difference, but most are totally beat down by complete lack of opportunity/decent pay, their own family issues, and some bully or two in the system who intimidates them into looking the other way at crap like this. Turnover is over 80% at most of these places, and the half of the 20% who stay are ineffective.

The bullying and abuse are out of control, but the system of checks and balances actually allows the problems to continue, as your comments illustrated. The fact is Texas is 43rd in the nation in funding for these organizations, and there's not a chance to get it straight until people are willing to put in the time, money, leadership and resources to make it happen. Even then, the problems are so deeply entrenched that I doubt it would make much of a long-term difference.
posted by pomegranate at 11:36 AM on March 20, 2009


...note that she said, "let them," and not "made them."

Have you not spent enough time around people such as these to know that "let" is quite often used in the same manner as "Put them in a situation where they have no option other than to do as we want?"

As in, "We dropped him out in the middle of the desert and let him try to get out alive."
posted by Thorzdad at 11:43 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pomegranate,

thank you for your post. I agree with it unequivocally. I was there in 2004, and I am sad to report that not much changed between your experience there and mine.
posted by orville sash at 12:01 PM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


@orvillesash Thank you. Can you tell us when you were at DSS?
posted by magstheaxe at 12:18 PM on March 20, 2009


@magstheaxe

I was there from feb. of '04 to April of '05
posted by orville sash at 12:25 PM on March 20, 2009


Sys Rq If we were talking about anyplace but Texas I'd be inclined to agree with you. But we *are* talking about Texas, so you're most likely dead wrong.

Look, I'm a Texan, and I'm not out to try to paint a picture of my state as some sort of hellhole. But Texas does have a truly horrible record WRT abuse in schools, institutions, jails and other state run facilities. Worse, many of my fellow Texans have a "well hell, a bit of fighting/being slapped around/kicking is good for 'em" attitude.

It wasn't so long back that people here protested IN FAVOR OF a preacher who ran a school for wayward girls who was convicted of killing a few of his inmates in an effort to drive Satan out of them. The protesters were of the opinion that the girls got what was coming to them, and the preacher was a good man of God just doing his best to save their souls.

Our prison system here has been declared unconstitutional countless times and was so bad for a while that the Fed stepped in and had to monitor it.

So, no, I'm not at all sure that the second is a hoax. Yes, it sounds outrageous, but making a fourteen year old girl drink bleach to get the devil out of her is also outrageous and that's happened in the Texas school system.
posted by sotonohito at 12:36 PM on March 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


"....other than to say in this government facilities there is a systemic failure. It's the result of having too few funds to hire people who will care about their jobs, and to provide a safe, engaging environment for the residents."

Well said.

Some of the particulars here seem a bit weird. I don't see how the 'statue of limitations' could run out on abuse of this kind. Dunno. But given it's got some grounding in fact, this is pretty much why I train, practice the use of firearms, etc. etc. There are people like this.
The other day my mom got attacked by an animal in a parking lot. Just going shopping, animal happened to be hiding on a grassy median in the lot, she accidentally startled it.
No one lifted a finger to help. No one called the police. People went about their business.
I just don't get that kind of disconnectedness and callousness. I'm no blushing virgin, but what kind of degenerate does something like this? And I actually have people fight each other (granted it's training).
Hell, reading the above, letting two untrained possibly completely unmatched opponents 'fight it out' is madness, much less mentally ill folks. Kids on top of it.

There's a school of thought that since kids are small, etc, they won't get hurt. It's actually the opposite. Kids involved in athletics need more stretching, warm up, cool down periods and greater attention to physical strain than adults because their bodies aren't formed, their bones haven't achieved full growth, it's easier to tear ligaments, etc. You still have idiot parents pushing their kids to get a $5,000 athletic scholarship while spending $40,000 on shoulder surgery.
Not in the same league as this of course, but a symptom of the same kind of misprioritization.
Just not enough pain in the world from natural causes as it is apparently.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:38 PM on March 20, 2009


To sort of echo what orville_sash said, the problem is not that the staff are Texans. (Thank you very much.) It's that Texas is run by idiot Republicans who don't fund any services adequately. The lack of funding is what causes the neglect and abuse because anyone who is competant goes to work somewhere else. I'm not sure of the numbers for funding for individuals with mental retardation, but for mental health, Texas is 47th in the county. That's recent improvement cause we used to be 49th. Yay Republicans!
posted by threeturtles at 12:42 PM on March 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


How on Earth do these cruel people wind up working with the disabled?

Same reason pedophiles gravitate towards jobs involving children. Sad little people who need someone to victimise.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:58 PM on March 20, 2009


Well, Sys Rq, if all I read was your comment I'd say they did a pat-on-the-back good job of covering things up and keeping everything in their "tribe".

How many corroborating witnesses and evidential arguments do whistleblowers usually have?
posted by setanor at 1:05 PM on March 20, 2009


Please mess with Texas.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:09 PM on March 20, 2009


Thanks for the incredibly insightful post, orville sash. I think we have other places this thread can go besides "Stoopid Texas, hurf durf" and what the meaning of "is" is. I appreciate you pointing us in that direction.

It's that Texas is run by idiot Republicans who don't fund any services adequately.

This.

I see around me this pervasive ethos in government that says when economic times are bad "Slash services! It's the only way to balance the budget!" and when economic times are good and the state should (god forbid) run a surplus, "Cut taxes! Return the people's money to them now!" Never does it enter into the equation to restore funding for services that were cut during bad times. I'm watching all of Texas' public institutions slowly getting strangled by this pervasive and wrong-headed political climate. Parks, roads, social services, etc. across the state have endured grinding budget cuts one after the other since the mid-80's at least. If they reduce library hours any further in Austin, soon they'll be closed nine days a week.

The problem is that this isn't just a political ideology being given a try-out. It's a strangulation, and real people are suffering real pain because of it. My first wife put herself through grad school working on a psych ward of Travis Co. MHMR, basically "wrestling crazies to the floor." (her words). When she graduated, she got a job as a social worker, helping transition these same ex-crazies from the psych ward back into society, which included finding them living space, sometimes with 4 hours notice, on a Sunday. Budget cuts drove a lot of the diagnoses that caused doctors there to declare patients able to live in the community, form what I understand. I know it's anecdotal, but once, they released a guy into the community one afternoon, and he basically strolled across Guadalupe street and raped & murdered the first college girl he could find in the Hyde Park neighborhood that adjoins the facility, the same afternoon. Budgets have been cut further since then. These embarrassing failures to meet our obligations as a society are causing real people real harm.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:15 PM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't Mess With Texas!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on March 20, 2009


When I was a kid, I grew up in a group home for the mentally retarded. My mom ran it, and spent 40 hours a week fighting against the people higher up the hierarchy than herself, trying to get these men treated like human beings, instead of like a bunch of freaks. It was nothing like this stuff, not even close, but the amount she had to fight to get permission to spend the money in her own budget to allow grown men to choose their own haircut, instead of her picking one for all of them, or to buy a station wagon to drive them around in, instead of a conversion van "retard bus." Christ, just letting someone have shoes with laces was a battle she had to fight.

When I was a kid, I really didn't understand any of it, but looking back on it as an adult, it is mind boggling that we, as a society, would *prefer* to have someone disadvantaged treated shabbily.

Thanks for your post, orville sash. It may be the saddest thing I've read this week, but I really appreciate you taking the time to post it.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:03 PM on March 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


"spent 40 hours a week fighting against the people higher up the hierarchy than herself"

On top of the full-time, living in house, care and guidance she provided to the men we lived with, obviously. Hopefully that was clear.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:04 PM on March 20, 2009


Okay, implying that this type of scenario is an accurate reflection of the mentality and behavior of all Texans in general, or that it is an accurate reflection of the state as a whole, is like saying that the state of Kansas is accurately represented by the actions and supporters of Westboro Baptist Church.

But please, don't let me get in the way of people repeating the exact same stereotype comment that appears in every single link that contains the word Texas. Why bother... there's an easy joke to make! Hurf Durf Texas Litter Campaign comment!!!!!

Now that I got that off my chest, I listened to the discussion on the radio about this a few mornings ago, and frankly, DISD has LOTS of problems. People are up in arms about this; locals aren't just saying "oh, well, cool! I taught my boys to fight when they were 3 and got them all guns by age 10 so we could go a-huntin' together!!!"

We're outraged, too, us other Texans. Abuse, violence, mismanagement: these are issues everywhere, especially in the mental health, rehabilitation and juvenile detention sectors.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:22 PM on March 20, 2009


It's that Texas is run by idiot Republicans who don't fund any services adequately.
Don't they have elections down there?

I mean, yeah, this is the core of it, but it really doesn't get "the people of Texas" off the hook.
posted by cj_ at 3:47 PM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't they have elections down there?

I mean, yeah, this is the core of it, but it really doesn't get "the people of Texas" off the hook.


As a whole, no. But it does mean there are many people in Texas who aren't like this, just like it would be unfair to say all Americans supported Bush simply because more Americans voted for him. Secondly, the Democratic party in Texas collapsed in the late 90s, and unless there's been a recent revival (I haven't been back there in a few years), the opposition is so defunded and demoralized that there's no real alternative -- basically the vast majority of people with money support the Republicans, unlike in America as a whole where there are plenty of wealthy Democractic supporters.

As an example, when GWB ran for re-election in 1998, the Democratic opponent didn't even have enough money to run television ads. I don't really remember any significant campaigning by him, and I lived in Austin (the liberal part of Texas).
posted by wildcrdj at 6:49 PM on March 20, 2009


Fer chrissakes, we're working on it! Take a look at the county by county maps of 2000 vs. 2008 presidential elections. The Hispanic population here is growing, and they didn't buy into McCain's bullshit. The LBJ generation may be dead, but the Phil Gramm generation isn't too far behind them, now. Johnson was correct when he said that passing civil rights legislation would lose the Dems the south for a generation, but it's creeping back as the ol' coots die out and their kids realize they've been sold a pig in a poke. We're workin' on it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:43 PM on March 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, the Corpus Chrisit school has ended up back in the papers today -- front page, above the fold of the Austin American-Stateseman. Unfortunately, it's not an exposé on previous fighting allegations -- it's and exposé on a brand-new batch of allegations of fighting that have occurred since the ones noted previously in this post. From the article: One fight was said to have occurred Wednesday night, with about nine state employees "standing around watching," Bevers said. The second allegedly occurred Thursday night while two state employees were said to be watching, he said.

It seems like the "good times" just keep coming.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:19 AM on March 21, 2009


*Cristi*-- *an* exposé -- I can type -- I just choose not to, sometimes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:20 AM on March 21, 2009


« Older The Ewens Brothers sing your requests   |   One is such a lonely number... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post