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
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.
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:

One Reply to “Discipline is hard and spoiler alert the district sucks at it. (rough draft)”

  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.

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