9 October 05

A Bighearted Teacher

Santa Rita Unit’s GED teacher, an African American named Mr. Davidson, is the kindest prison employee I have encountered. He is the glue holding the GED class together against overwhelming odds. Despite daily disruptions from the students, guards, and weather, Mr. Davidson somehow soldiers on, maintaining sangfroid and a sense of humour.

I’ve seen guards refuse to release students from their cells who were supposed to be at school.
I've felt the dizzying greenhouse effect when the classroom air conditioner remained unfixed for days. But perhaps the teacher’s greatest occupational hazard is the student body, some of whom seem to prefer misbehaviour or badmouthing him, instead of doing schoolwork. Some fake ailments to get outdoors to smoke. One thought it was comical to disrupt the class by asking Mr. Davidson to elucidate on female douching.

Somehow, Mr. Davidson maintains order, perhaps motivated by the joy of providing young people new chances in life. He seems to be on a humanitarian mission. The happiness in his eyes and smile conveys the good karma he generates.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

It's really amazing to read such a well-written blog, knowing that the person writing it is behind bars. This blog conjures up images of a modern version of Tim Robbin's character, Andy, in "The Shawshank Redemption."
- Blogalicious

Jane said...

I've been reading Shaun/Jon for a year now, he's far more insightful than half the bloggers out there and provides a much needed window into the US prison system and the corruption and mismanagement therein. It's a shame that so many prisoners are "throwaways" to be written off by society. Shaun/Jon writes about egregious examples where timely social intervention could have changed lives and saved the Arizona taxpayers millions. Although I admit that Shaun/Jon probably should be jailed for his drug dealing activities, I always thought that his sentence was far too harsh for someone who didn't commit assault or injury against another. There are drunk drivers who have killed people who receive lighter (and suspended) sentences. It really blows the mind!

Anonymous said...

Wow, very well spoken. I will be following this blog. Well wish you the best. He're a little something to cheer you up.


Anonymous said...

I agree. We need many real
windows in into our own Criminal Justice System.
I am still with Inside/Out in my own community,including a Graduates Group and am now co-facilitating a parents in prison .

I am meeting more individuals who are in for drug convictions( Meth) who are from the poor rural areas
mass incarceration ( the war on drugs) does nothing for individuals needing treatment/ their familes and also their communities.

At the same time. I had the the experience of taking a family for thier second visit to one of our states C.C.A ( Corrections Corp of America Facilities)
Way out in the middles of no-where - where it was absolutely evident, to me, that CCA was the Economy of this small town.

i appreciate the dialouge.(sp? )

and especially the blog.

Please keep writing.