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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Teachers talk about the discipline problems in Jacksonville

Here are a few comments I got from teachers about discipline, notice they think it is a real problem not a perception problem. –cpg

I was talking with my dad, a Jacksonville native, recently about this issue of students who run the school...he was not the best of students when he attended DCPS but he said there was a line you just did not cross. If you crossed it you knew you were going to the Florida School for Boys and if you went there, who knew if you would come back...there were serious consequences for delinquency then. I'm not saying students need to be put in fear of their lives, but they need to know there are serious consequences for serious matter how much your mom threatens to sue the school or SRO or "call the news".

 I've noticed downtown has literally tried to train principals and then principal train the teachers to not bad mouth the schools in any way shape or form. The discipline problem has been steadily getting worse, but rather than deal with it, they sweep it under the rug. Having heard principals say ''it's better to have kids in the class learning rather than be suspended'' I guess this is the county policy. What they don't realize is none of the other kids are learning while the couple that constantly misbehave are in class and not on suspension. There are no real consequences at all. The polices have been watered down considerably in the last 14 years that I've worked in DCPS while the behavior gets worse and worse. The hard part is having my integrity questioned by admin and parents when I write a kid up for being unruly. Kids have been given so much power that they now are allowed to gang up,meaning they and their friends will go to office and write statements on teachers they don't like to get them fired or at least disciplined. A kid's word is worth more than a teacher's these days and it is very stressful. I've seen so many teachers just relax their standards and allow the kids to run the room for fear if they don't, they'll go make statements. We are told to make the kids like us....well they don't like discipline, so they want the teacher who is lax and let's them use their phone in class, eat and drink in class, etc. Parents and the public don't just come up with a ''perception'' our our county's schools, their kids attend everyday, and they see what is happening. They see way more than even the most astute teacher does. So when they go home and tell parents what is going on, that is who creates the perceptions. and that perception is obviously a reality for them.

In my years of teaching, I have encountered a few students whose behavior so adversely impacted their classes that their absence was seen by their peers as an improvement. These bad apples waste endless amounts of teaching and learning time with their misconduct. This past school year, I managed to write fewer than three disciplinary referrals on my own students through a mighty effort to identify student misconduct and to prevent it from bringing down the entire class... It's a struggle, for sure.

I wrote a record number of referrals this year, (hardly any last year) and made many calls, did time outs, the whole nine yards....once a few kids from one class were at the alternative school, that class improved dramatically and we were able to learn...but it's a shame it couldn't happen til march. I had to call a parent the first day of school, and that has never happened. i'm glad this year is over, and i hope next year improves drastically.

 My third year teaching on the Northside I broke up a fight between two 5th grade girls writing both up on referrals. The next day the grandfather shows up wanting to press charges against me. The Principal at the time was like sir Im sorry he did what he had to do as your grandchild started it and had a previous fight the week before ripping the weave out of a girls head. So the next year I got called to the office as they were trying to sue the school system as she had showed up with a cervical kneck collar say she had injuries caused by my breaking up the fight. They also tried to get the other parents involved , but the declined as they said I was protecting their child. I was told basically that you can get in trouble breaking up a fight or not breaking up a fight !

1 comment:

  1. Discipline is a huge problem throughout the system. The "hearing officer" is worse than the school-based administrators. Even if one gets far enough in the disciplinary process, she advocates for the student and guess who reappears in class? Who hires this person? Over the years, I have resorted to two tactics to subdue some of the more extreme behavior. When a student is the victim of another student, either verbally or physically, I opine that if that were my child I would "file a police report." It works wonders when parents do this or threaten to do it. When I am the target of a student's continued threatening conduct,I record their words and actions "word for word", write them in the referral, and state my intention to file an assault charge with JSO should the conduct occur again. (An assault is a threat to do bodily harm that places the victim in fear. No touching is necessary. Most people do not realize this. It is time that they did.)