June 08, 2010

Coming soon to a school near you

After our illustrious News Journal's report on Delaware school suspensions and subsequent advocacy of teacher/administrator "cultural competence" (detailed yesterday here), it just may want to take a gander at this story from the Philly Daily News:

KINDERGARTNER ERNEST KEY is afraid of taking his pants off because two of his schoolmates sexually assaulted him in a bathroom at Lea Elementary in April, his mother said.

At the Vare School, Krisire Tuggles, also in kindergarten, refuses to go into a coat closet because that was the spot where his former teacher used to pinch him and smack him around, his mother said.

Since classmates at Heston Elementary School bloodied her nose and ripped her uniform, first-grader Aalliyah Brake has been too afraid to go back, said her father.

These little ones have two things in common: They've allegedly been violated during school hours at the hands of staffers or other students, and, their parents say, the adults responsible for their safety have done little if anything about it.

The exasperated parents of these young students were among several who echoed the same disturbing message in calls to the Daily News in recent weeks. The newspaper normally would not print the names of such young children, but the parents were so frustrated that they allowed use of their names.

They've confronted teachers and principals, and called school district management, but parents say they have been brushed aside or have been forced to turn to politicians, lawyers and police.

Now, aside from the disturbing allegations against some school staff members, why would I say that this scenario might come to First State schools? This is why:

Another parent, Tanisha Hollomon, is beginning to wonder whether the school cares about her daughter, third-grader Nafeesah Hollomon-Gary, who was kicked so hard by a classmate at Thurgood Marshall Elementary that he fractured her foot.

Hollomon said that Nafeesah was hobbling around all day after the assault but that no one contacted her until after the school day ended.

She said that the principal, Edward Penn, acknowledged that she should have been called earlier but that when she pressed for the boy who kicked Nafeesah to be disciplined and tried several times to meet with his parents at the school, it took weeks for the school to suspend him.

Parent advocates say that cases like these happen so often because there is little incentive for school staff to report violence, and that some school officials really don't care.

And that "little incentive" could come to Delaware due to reporting by the News Journal on the supposed high number of student suspensions in the state, not to mention the advocacy for "cultural competency" among school staff which, in part, is supposed to alleviate the need for punitive measures like suspensions. After all, just consider the scenarios (allegations) noted above, and then this from Sunday's News Journal article:

But parents such as Toyia Lopez are frustrated.

Her son Khaalid Lopez, a kindergartner, was suspended from Colonial School District's Eisenberg Elementary four times this year.

The 6-year-old sometimes throws toys and has hit his teacher, but his mother contends he's never hurt anyone or done anything serious enough to warrant suspension.

Indeed -- hitting his teacher is not something which warrants suspension! ARRRRGH!! (Pulls hair out...)

Nevertheless (and I am in no way exonerating the powers that be in the Philly schools), imagine if you were a school administrator and faced situations like those noted above from Philly, and then the incident involving Ms. Lopez's kid (and others similar to it). Then, consider what the News Journal ran yesterday about school staff needing "cultural competence" (a euphemism essentially designed to excuse aberrant behavior), the "advocates" out there for suspended kids like Jea Street, and then the Obama administration's intent to use the Civil Rights division of the Justice Dept. to investigate schools/districts who have racially disparate rates of discipline/suspensions/expulsions.

What would you do?

Really, what would you do? Maintain a "no-nonsense" approach to discipline and face criticism (and sanctions) from anyone from your superiors, to folks like Street, to parents like Lopez, to Justice Dept. lawyers. Or, maintain a "cultural competence" atmosphere and face angry parents like those in the Daily News article, not to mention outright flight from your school and/or district from parents and children tired of excuse-making politically correct jibberish?

What would you do?

Posted by Hube at June 8, 2010 03:51 PM | TrackBack

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