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Friday, November 1, 2013

Violence in Duval schools is nothing new

You know what gets me? It’s not the local judge who is complaining about violence in schools it’s now that the city wants to listen.

I have been writing about violence and a lack of discipline in Duval County’s schools for over 7 years now.  

I have even had pieces published in the Folio, Times Union and Victims advocate and they were all met with a collective shrug or worse a rebuff by the last superintendent and school board who waved a silver watch in the face of Jacksonville and said all is well.

Then again the city and the powers-that-be have always felt they can ignore teachers.

Vitti despite his all is well message in the Times Union knows all too well that there were discipline problems in our schools because if not why does every school now have additional security, a dean and an ISSP teacher?

Vitti should be honest with the people of Jacksonville, he should say, yeah we had a problem a big problem but we are taking steps to fix it. All is not well and to propagate that lie is to ensure we have more of the same.


  1. As long as they keep the same Student Progressive Discipline Plan; as long as they require teachers to do many discipline interventions; as long as they insist on teachers using the ineffective CHAMPS; as long as they refuse to support teachers and blame teachers for student misbehavior things will not improve. Behavior would much improve if students were assessed "0s" for unexcused absences including suspensions. Another novel idea....quit making school miserable for students, teachers and principals with the high stakes testing and all the test prep.

  2. Although I have never personally felt threatened, many of my students recognize that the behavior of students is out of control. When we have an ever-revolving door of new teachers, student behavior will always be even more ridiculous as it takes several years to develop good classroom management. On top of that, no teacher should ever have to 1) talk to a student several times 2) remind the student of the consequences 3) relocate a student one or more times 4) call a parent in the middle of class and 5) document all of these interventions in order to finally send an unruly student out of class. The tardy policies are practically nonexistent; I could write a whole paper on that issue. More importantly, I agree that the Student Progression Plan is outdated. Just because you add more security to some schools, it does not necessarily make those schools more safe. Students who follow the rules are the best regulators of school behavior; when we have some schools filled with these students and others with few, there is little balance anywhere.