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Monday, July 20, 2015

Discipline is hard and spoiler alert the district sucks at it. (rough draft)

The people who decided a child could be allowed four fights before they got a real consequence should now be out of a job and for the record that includes every school board member and the superintendent. The safety of our kids should be the systems upmost priority and this past year even if your child made it to and from school every day without a punch to the nose the district failed them.
The opening sentence in last week’s Times Union article on discipline read: It may soon be easier for educators to send kids who fight to alternative schools and to send other misbehaving students to detention.
That sentence may inspire hope in some but as a long time educator it doesn’t in me because nearly impossible is better than completely impossible and if past is prologue that is what we can expect.
Before I continue I don’t want to give you the impression that all of the district’s discipline problems fall at the feet of superintendent Vitti and the school board because discipline has been bad in the district for years. No, what falls at their feet is exacerbating the problem and endangering our children. As bad as things were before, fighting was still taken relatively seriously.
In the article talking about proposed changes to the code of conduct, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said some teachers feel students are getting too many chances.
“There was a perception that students were gaming the system,” he said. “The concern was that last year … it took an awfully long time for a repeat fighter to be sent to an alternative school unless they were in a melee.”
Listen to his words, there was a perception, like teachers don’t know what they are talking about like they are in some perception induced hysteria. Also when I worked at a comprehensive school sending kids to an alternative school was way down on my list. I figured if they would get consequences for their behavior there it would nip the problem in the bud but the problem was they very rarely received anything close to real consequences and often the behavior got worse.
Furthermore at least to some school board members even the new proposed changes offer plenty of wiggle room.  
In some ways, there is still too much wiggle room, said board member Ashley Smith Juarez, who pointed out that a student could strike another student or school staffer and cause bodily harm four times under the proposed changes before he would be automatically sent to Grand Park.
FOUR TIMES!!!!!! Friends if they hit a staff member once, heck I think even threaten to hit a staff member then that should be enough to get them sent to Grand Park and how about after the second fight especially if they are the aggressor. Do we need somebody to be seriously hurt before we address discipline and violence?
Then Board member Wright had a good idea too, said she wants more parental responsibility reflected in the code of conduct, perhaps a “parent court” where parents must meet with district staff after their student racks up a number of infractions. Vitti said he is considering the idea.
Vitti probably is just considering it because he didn’t come up with it, furthermore the idea mirrors my idea to liberally suspend kids for multiple days but to suspend the suspensions if a parent mirrors their son or daughter for a day. I know if Ruth Guerrieri would have had to follow me for a day it would only have had to happen once. I suggested that by the way, way back in 2007.
Then finally the article said, So far, most of the code of conduct’s recommendations came from a task force of about 30 people, Vitti said, including district and school staff, students, parents, police, school resource officers, nonprofit groups, the State Attorney’s Office and the local NAACP chapter.
Thirty people undoubtedly handpicked by Vitti. This guy needs a guy to tell him no more than the average five year old after cookies have just been freshly baked.
Discipline is hard but it is doable if the district has the will, something I have yet to see them seriously attempt to muster.
To read the article click the link:

1 comment:

  1. The Code of Conduct doesn't matter because no matter what it says, it isn't enforced. Principals pressure teachers not to write referrals and deans throw referrals in the trash with no action taken. Too bad we don't have a union.