Dr. Aberdeen, who was my principal when I attended Burns Park School in the 1970s, directly helped me as late as my senior year in high school in 1985-86. When I was a senior in high school, at Ann Arbor Pioneer, I brought a beer to school and it was discovered by school administrators in a room I studied in. My class administrator, Mr. Holloway, asked me whether it was mine, and I said yes. A few days later, Mr. Holloway told me to report to my elementary school principal, Dr. David Aberdeen at Burns Park School, who would decide my fate. I reported to Aberdeen's office. (I hoped that Aberdeen didn't recall having to meet with me on more than one occasion during my sixth grade!) Aberdeen seemed genuinely pleased to see me, despite the circumstances. He said that my consequence was to see Mrs. Mauerdeff on the first floor, that she could use my help, and that I should help her one day a week for six weeks. I reported to Mrs. Mauerdeff, who greeted me warmly. She introduced me to a cute little guy, a Nigerian boy, who had difficulty with English. My consequence, my assignment, my privilege, was to spend an hour with this boy each week in an adjacent room talking over some lesson that enabled us to converse.
Today I’m a university teacher. Dr. Aberdeen treated me with rehabilitative rather than punitive intent, and I was the better for it (and hopefully that sweet boy got something out of it too). If adolescents "busted" in schools elsewhere, especially those from socioeconomically difficult circumstances, were treated as I was by Dr. Aberdeen, Mr. Holloway, and Mrs. Mauerdeff, perhaps our nation’s jails and homeless shelters would be a little less crowded.
Thank you Dr. Aberdeen!