Thursday, September 16, 2010

Catching up on Grenaa

Since we are about to depart Grenaa, an update on just what I have been up to. Our four days here have included two presentations to the Rotary Clubs, a visit to Terma, Technologika Institut, Martin Entertainment, and a day today visiting an 8th grade class in a regular school, a school for handicapped and austistic children, and a juvinille rehabilitation center (the danish version of juvie hall).

The time at Terma (who is integral to the new F-35 fighter jet as well as other air engineering projects), Technilogica Institut (who does rapid prototyping and compliance testing) and Martin Entertainment (they light the biggest entertainment venues and shows in the world like the olympics), was certainly the highlight of the vocational activities here. I totally got to geek out.

The time at the regular school was neat. The 8th graders were very excited to meet real americans and we got to explain how our schooling works. They could hardly beleive my schools had over 800 students at them. For students who attend all their years with the same 30 people, the numbers in american schools and classrooms are difficult to comprehend.

Our visit to the youth "jail" and that term can only be used very very loosley, was a bit disturbing. The facilities were nicer than those used by the students who had never committed a heinous crime. Non violent crimes harldy warrant any action at all for offenders under 18, so to even get to go to the luxury hotel "jail" one must do something pretty bad. We were shown a study that 81% of the youths who are sent to such centers return to a criminal life. The system obviously doesnt work. No effort is made to convince the inmates they have committed any wrongdoing or that they should be sorry for what they did. The system is supposed to support the human rights of the inmates, yet it prevents the victims of the crimes they comit from ever receiving justice. Sooooo, who's rights are really at risk?

On a bright note, the school for the handicapped was well equipped and progressive in their care. If only the money from the jail expendetures was going to the handicapped chidlren and the normal school children to help their schools and programs.

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