If you can actually stomach to sit through and read the following remarks by Philadelphia School District Assistant Superintendent of Alternative Education Benjamin Wright regarding discipline problems in those schools, God bless you. I'll merely highlight the "best of the worst" here for some guaranteed jaw-dropping.
The past week, Philly.com has been running a huge exposť on the awful discipline problems in the city school district. Part 3 features incidents between students but also those against staff members. Here are some of Wright's classic remarks -- and excuses -- which personify why this district is such a mess:
He (Wright) opposes sending children that young to alternative schools or classrooms. They are in school to learn good behavior, and it's not right to banish them to a disciplinary setting, he said.
"It's not right" for whom? What about the many other children -- and staff -- who may be the victims of such out of control students? Is it "right" for them?
Wright says the problem is due in part to poor responses by staff, who inflame rather than defuse bad behavior.
Take the case of a young student who refuses his teacher's directive to take his seat. "Does that mean that child's being disobedient? No, that means the child is bored.
"So you might want to say 'OK, I'll give you five minutes to move around and then I'm going to ask you to take your seat.'"
Ultimately, who cares if the child is bored? Why is that an excuse to defy a teacher's authority? Consider how Wright would "handle" that situation: In the meantime, other kids see this, and they refuse to sit down too. They want five minutes to walk around the class too. And what do all these kids do during these five minutes? Tantalize kids who aren't walking around? What happens if the kids want five more minutes? If the teacher refuses, is he/she "inflaming" the situation further?
And then there's this classic gem:
Wright also blamed the staff's unequal treatment of boys and Hispanic and black students.
"A boy can't do what a girl does in some schools. A black or Latino kid can't do what a nonblack or Latino kid does," he said.
He also said that adequate counseling and resources were available and that the staff received ample training to deal with problem students.
In other words, since there's an "imbalance" of discipline referrals of a particular racial/ethnic group, it's something the staff is doing ... like "inherent racism."
There's barely anything more risible in education than advocates for differential treatment for different groups of people just because the bean counters may be offended. Just never ask an educationist like Wright why, if racial/ethnic groups are "different" -- so much so that teachers need to "understand" these differences and hence treat students differently -- why the "achievement gap" is such a big deal? I mean, racial/ethnic groups are different! Shouldn't we therefore expect differences in achievement (in this case)?
And it gets better. Here's what this idiot said about a pregnant teacher who was punched in the stomach by a student who didn't get what he wanted:
Hearing of the case, Wright said pregnant teachers should know how to protect themselves.
In this case, he said, the teacher should have given the boy what he wanted at the time and then called for help.
"If I'm in a school, and I'm a teacher, and I'm pregnant, make sure I don't put myself in harm's way, because the kids are going to be kids," Wright said.
"Kids will be kids" = punching a pregnant woman in the stomach. How does this mental pygmy have the position he has again??
Wright also "was skeptical" about a teacher aide who was attacked four times, "most recently by a 5-year-old kindergartner at Dobson Elementary who kicked and punched her." She suffered torn ligaments and tendons. Says Wright? "He probably only weighs 65 pounds. I can hold that kid off until some help comes."
Be sure to read the entire series. And then thank The Maker that your kids (hopefully!) aren't in the Philly School District.