What distinguishes us from plants?  Muscle.  We move.  That’s what we do.  It’s important and it’s one of our hallmarks.

Conversely, abrogating our freedom is just about the most fundamental withdrawal of our essence.  And we are no different from other animals in this regard.  We like to move; freedom is a basic human civil right, and the starting point for our nation’s political constitution.

Accordingly reports that physical education is lacking from many LAUSD school campuses are disturbing in the extreme.  I have personally heard private testimony from PE teachers who stated they have been required to supervise over one hundred students for PE, alone.  And I am told these are relatively fortunate conditions; some schools forego physical education altogether.  Such shameful conditions belie any claim that our schools are operating with adequate resources for its hundreds of thousands of charges.

On the other end of the spectrum from our students, lie the teachers who have a meta-professional life outside of the time spent “in the classroom” teaching our children directly.  In securing our children’s rights, our school system operates with an imperative to protect their rights conservatively, resulting in the “imprisoning” of teachers pending investigation of rumors regarding a teacher’s physical or emotional wrongdoing.  Teachers are removed from the classroom and held in several locations, sometimes even at home, while LAUSD “processes” charges.

There are problems with this system in every conceivable direction.  Teachers, simply fellow human beings like you or me, are “housed” — professionally “jailed” — often with no indication of what they are accused.  Because this is not a criminal proceeding, there is no constitutional violation of their Right To Confrontation.  And yet that is a basic human right that is violated all the same, regardless of mandate.

Imagine – you, right now reading this – imagine you yourself being accused of a crime and yet you do not know of what you are accused.  Your ability to act within a profession you may or may not love, is denied; certainly your livelihood is challenged.  You cannot defend yourself, you can say or do nothing at all; it is untenable.  Such circumstances are not even any more right for one truly accused than one falsely accused.  Our very political existence is predicated on an adversarial system in which accusations are defended; when that accusation is not submitted, one’s place in society is fully submerged because one’s right to defense is nonexistent.  It is inhuman, regardless of the validity of the underlying motivation of wrongdoing.  Imprisonment is ghastly; witness the frolicking (cf animals, above) upon its release.

The malfeasance of a few must not dictate misbehavior toward the many.  While the duration and outcome of the individuals at Telfair and Miramonte inform a shock and horror at any system that would monetarily or otherwise reward such monstrous acts, this is not necessarily a demerit against a system designed to protect many thousands simultaneously.  The most devious may emerge with their interests cushioned, but this is a function of their pathology and cannot be the sole claim against a larger, complex system of safeguards.

All people, regardless of “innocence-status” deserve the right to know of what they are charged, and to defend themselves against the charge, and they deserve this fundamental right in a timely manner.  This due process protects not only the accused but all of us as part of a society.  It is the Golden Rule:  “there but for …”  When we afford the accused humane conditions in jail, we are affording ourselves insurance against such treatment in the possible future.

My heart goes out to victims of abuse.  But we cannot use their misfortune as the excuse for abusing those in turn subsequently.