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View Full Version : What Passes for "Discipline" in Our Schools



Alan D. Hyde
03-01-2004, 02:20 PM
Student "A" gets respectable grades and is following school rules, working hard to do well.

Student "D" is frequently out-of-line, attends irregularly, and is not doing his schoolwork.

Student "D" attacks and badly batters student "A" in the hallway during a passing period. There are dozens of witnesses, students and teachers both.

Student "A" does not even strike back in self-defense, knowing this is not permitted under school rules.

Student "D" and student "A" are each suspended for three days. Both are required to attend after-school counseling sessions.

The suspension drops student A's GPA, and has other negative effects on his extra-curricular activities at the school. Student "D" is unabashed, and views the suspension as a three-day vacation.

None of our own children have directly suffered from this (yet), thank God, but it's happening every day at way too many U.S. schools.

The former right to self-defense is either vitiated or gone entirely, and the cowardly administrative refusal to distinguish between criminal and victim continues apace. Defending oneself against a bully is no longer a virtuous prelude to responsible manhood (see A Christmas Story), but a criminal act!

And we wonder why schools like Columbine blow up!

It should be obvious to any thinking parent.

If it's happening in your schools, it's time to insist upon their recognizing the most elemental of all innate human rights: that of self-defense.

Alan

Bruce Taylor
03-01-2004, 02:44 PM
This certainly doesn't match my experience.

A couple of weeks ago, an older kid snatched my son's book on the schoolbus & refused to return it. My son got mad, and walloped him. The bigger kid walloped my boy back. The bus driver intervened to stop the fighting, and reported the matter to the vice principal.

Result: the school suspended the older kid for a week and moved that boy and his friends (known troublemakers, all) to the front of the bus. And we've had no problems on the bus since then.

Alan D. Hyde
03-01-2004, 02:47 PM
Great, Bruce.

THAT'S the way it should be.

Congratulations to your son for standing up for himself. And to his school's administrators for doing their job properly.

Alan

[ 03-01-2004, 03:26 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Figment
03-01-2004, 03:04 PM
I've a pair of friends who are first-year teachers. One in public school, the other private, but they both must adhere to this policy, which I think is insane:

They cannot make any statement to any parent that can be construed as "judgement". They can report events (Janey consistently asks for a bathroom break at the beginning of spelling quizzes) but cannot complete the sentence (which is not only very disruptive to the class, but horribly disrespectful.). The judgement must be made in the minds of the parents. Unfortunately, many parents either cannot or do not make that mental leap, and the behavior goes unchecked.

I'm told that the genesis of this policy is the ADHD stigma. Teachers can report ADHD-symptomatic behavior to parents, but CANNOT make any specific mention of ADHD, nor can they suggest that the parents seek other professional guidance in the matter.

How can educators educate when we tie their hands like this? When "I'm going to tell your parents" doesn't work, what disciplinary tool is left?

(this is an empty rant based on a recent conversation with these friends. I have no children.)

High C
03-01-2004, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by Figment:
They cannot make any statement to any parent that can be construed as "judgement" .....I think I'm going to be sick. :( Political correctness has to be the most harmful plague known to modern man (or woman). SEE, THERE IT IS AGAIN!

rbgarr
03-01-2004, 03:23 PM
My oldest daughter has spent the last three years ( after graduating from a top-ranked college) teaching at both a private school and in the NYC public schools system.

In October she disciplined a student for disruptive behavior in class by escorting him to the hallway for a 'timeout' where he was to be monitored by another staff member. He shoved my daughter to the floor, injuring her back and neck. This was seen by the other staff member. The school's administration failed to take further disciplinary action against the student.

Sadly that lack of teacher support by the administration lead to her decision to stop teaching altogether. She's discouraged and can't understand how any child can learn effectively in an environment that is as out of control and poorly constructed as that.

Alan D. Hyde
03-01-2004, 03:41 PM
I'm sorry to hear of your daughter's injuries, and I hope she's fully recovered from them by now, at least physically...

Alan

Bruce G
03-01-2004, 03:43 PM
If we are going to play the blame game then we should be pointing our fingers as the court system.... too many law suits filed and the schools are having a knee jerk reaction so not to lose any more of the district $$$$. If you suspend both (not saying that is right) then you can not be taken to court of descrimination. Teacher, principals, and superintendents must cary liability insurance either on their own or through their teacher's association because of all the lawyors chasing the mighty dollar (no offence Scott Rosen- but you know what I mean).

Do I think it is a fair and equitable way of handeling the matter- NO, but until people stop taking schools to court at the drop of a hat, this will be the norm.

High C
03-01-2004, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by Bruce G:
...If you suspend both (not saying that is right) then you can not be taken to court....Oh contraire. A wrongly suspended student can sue the school for denial of the education to which he is entitled. With witnesses, as in the case Alan painted, it should be a cakewalk. Maybe once a few such cases occur, the schools will self-correct.

[ 03-01-2004, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: High C ]

ljb5
03-01-2004, 04:10 PM
It doesn't really makes sense to put school-aged children in the position where they have to evalute their legal standing, determine if it is truly a self-defense issue and then respond to an attack. Lord knows a lot of adults can't figure that out.

They're little kids. They don't necessarily understand the concept of 'justifiable' violence. Some kids are very adept at provoking others so that they feel justified to respond. Often, it's impossible to figure out who really hit whom first. I certainly don't want to raise a kid to be a playground lawyer, always looking for some excuse for why he's in the right and using it to pummel others.

It's best to look for a safe way out, rather than a justifiable way in.

It's better to have a blanket 'No violence' policy and put the burden on the adults to act like adults.

Bruce G
03-01-2004, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by High C:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Bruce G:
...If you suspend both (not saying that is right) then you can not be taken to court....Oh contraire. A wrongly suspended student can sue the school for denial of the education to which he is entitled. With witnesses, as in the case Alan painted, it should be a cakewalk. Maybe once a few such cases occur, the schools will self-correct.</font>[/QUOTE]That would be nice High C. I would like to see this whole knee jerk Zero Tolerance go away.

[ 03-01-2004, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: Bruce G ]

Meerkat
03-01-2004, 04:49 PM
Relax folks - have some juice and a Carnal Cookie (http://www.carnalcookies.com/)! ;)