November 10, 2022- The sometimes rambunctious child sat by himself, without anything to occupy him, while a couple of other staff members were called to tend to an emergency, elsewhere on campus. I went over and sat with him for twenty minutes, drilling him on colour and shape flashcards, until his regular paraprofessional returned. No one deserves isolation, save for a limited period of “reflect and correct”. He did well on the cards and was grateful for the attention.
In thinking about prisoners, it was noteworthy that in Tuesday’s election, clauses to the State Constitutions of Alabama, Tennessee and Oregon, which acquiesced to slavery, were removed by a wide majority of the voters. A similar, but poorly-worded, proposition in Louisiana was defeated, but with the understanding that a much-clearer proposition would be put before the voters, as part of the gubernatorial and legislative election, next Fall. Groups don’t deserve extended isolation, any more than individuals do. Incarceration is frequently necessary, yet solitary confinement should be a rarity.
Pariahs have been a feature of the human condition, and some say the animal condition, as far back as observation itself began. Many, myself included, have experienced a limited, short-term shunning, for violating group norms at one time or another. Other times, it’s not even the group which was offended, but an influential person or two. In the latter cases, the isolation has not lasted long at all, as others got under the influencers’ skin and members of the group began to see who was at fault. In time, the shunning usually wears out, in any case, and a new group of friends and associates takes the place of the former group. Even Napoleon had an entourage, when he was sent to St. Helena.
I am grateful, these days, that any seclusion I am put into is of my own volition.