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Sunday, December 20, 2015

My thoughts on the First Coast High/Sub fiasco

All over social media and the news there has been a video of an out of control classroom and the pleas of a mother that said this was the rule not the exception.  

I was asked not to long ago about discipline in our schools before the arrival of superintendent Vitti and to be honest it wasn’t good then either. Often referrals went unprocessed and kids then too played the system, the big difference then was the system was undefined, kids new they could get away with anything short of order but it wasn’t codified like it is now.

I have been pretty critical of the districts feel good restorative justice policies and changes to the code of conduct, I believe they both lend to children’s ability to push the envelope and they have taken an already bad situation and made it worse.

The fact that this happened at First Coast high school and the parent says they asked the principal for help only to be ignored is also particularly frustrating. Principal Al Brennan must know where the bodies are buried as never have I seen a principal do such damage to a school and keep their job. He is an embarrassment and represents all that is wrong in the district.

I also find it reprehensible that the district chose to play off the incident and blame the substitute teacher firing them. So many of these subs are put in no win positions and told to handle, i.e. endure any problems that occur.  Many teachers are already hung out to dry so it is no wonder that students ignore and disrespect these strangers especially since they aren’t required to listen to or respect the teachers of record.

Finally people shouldn’t think this is an isolated incident or just occurs when subs come in, nor should people think it is every school or every classroom. I maintain that for the most part we are doing a great job. The problem however is things like what happened in the video happen often enough that we should be concerned.

Discipline is hard but when the district ignores it, it becomes worse. I fear we are courting a real tragedy here.

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  1. It has become clear to me that everything this Superintendent said he was when he came -- he is not. He said he would clear out the good ol' boy/gal network that enabled incompetent people to stay in high positions. Then he doubled down, nay, quadrupled down on the practice. That is the only reason why certain principals are left in place while they demolish their buildings and everyone in them. Those people have connections and are protected by higher-ups. You want to know how bad it is at First Coast High School? NO CHARTER CHAIN wants to open a school within 20 miles of the campus!! They don't want the out-of-control students either.

    1. If you notice the Principals that Vitti give praise to, they are a bunch of NICE GUYS who are really a bunch of YES MEN. Wouldn't you like if Crocodile Dundee, with his deep Australian accent, tells Vitti " Those are a bunch of nice guys you have there!

  2. Chaos is at Raines as well...IT IS A DISTRICT ISSUE...not a substitute issue! At Raines, a substitute had her purse stolen. Students then stole her car, drove to her house, and broke into the house. REALLY?

  3. Atlantic Coast HS too. IT IS A DISTRICT ISSUE! Lost two teachers already because of discipline. Two more ready to walk any day.

  4. By way of contrast, at Episcopal High school there are almost zero discipline issues. When I substitute there the students are so polite that they all teill me "thank-you when leaving the classroom. All 12 of them. Without a hint of sarcasm. Any incident like the one portrayed in the video and the student would never see the Episcopal campus again. What you have in DCPS is a absolute complete lack of leadership from the School Board to the Superintendent to the Principal to the House Admins. Enough blame to go from one end to the other. Shameful. But that's DCPS where I taught for 37 years before retiring.