Is the District "Cooking the Books" when it comes to showing wins from the new discipline policy?
Honestly I'm glad my kid is finishing up their 8th grade year, because otherwise, my coparent and I might very well have been in the "we're yanking our kid out of the district" crowd. My kid goes to Chute, and I've heard ever increasing stories about how things seem to be getting out of control. The school administration's hands seem to have been tied vis-a-vis dealing with the kids causing the most trouble (often times kids with behaviorial issues), and central administration doesn't want to hear anything other than everything is hunky dory.
Hi Tom -
Nice work. This is a really important piece for people to pay attention to.
The District's performance in this regard give proof to the adage, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." I don't doubt that the District has poured more resources and is justifiably having more success in controlling the chaos the enveloped multiple District buildings last year .... but a 98.5% reduction??? For a District that is not shy about applying for awards, this kind of outcome would justifiably deserve to be a national model .... if it could withstand serious scrutiny, which I doubt is the case.
This is an area where I really find the Board's lack of willingness to ask tough questions of the Admin troubling. When Elijah Palmer gave his presentation on school suspensions at the end of last year, no one asked if there were unwarranted suspensions - if there, that is a problem with the adults managing the system. If not, then there are other issues which needed to be addressed. Instead, there was a pledge by Board President and current candidate for re-election to "turn things around next year," which brings us to where we are now, where we have a victory over bad stats, but a less-than-convincing over bad behavior.
Our kids deserve to be in an orderly classroom and a school environment where they are safe from violence and bullying. Our teachers deserve to work in an environment where their authority to control their classrooms is respected. If that cuts into the shiny numbers that the District wants to present, then so be it.
Restorative justice is a concept I can get behind. In theory. How it is practiced is key. It doesn't seem as if the District is utilizing components of it effectively. The District also likes to have numbers that show it is doing a wonderful job. Then why are parents all over the city angry? I recall one incident where my one son was in a fight where he was not the aggressor. A “peace circle” was convened where he had to sit in a small room with the aggressor and his mom and a social worker and tell this giant kid how he felt. The other student’s mom did not give a RA about the whole process and wasn’t even angry or apologetic. We left soon after. I should have pressed charges. Maybe that wouldn’t have helped my son but I would have felt better since there was clearly no remorse from the perpetrator or his parent. I bet that is a lot of the same which occurs at D65 today. There is an election going on and voting has started. I encourage anyone who thinks the current situation needs change to give someone else a chance to right the wrongs. Vote for Omar, John, and Ndona.
It is interesting to look at this given the recent reporting of what is going on at Washington.
Last week the Assistant Principal and a few employees from Washington went before the Board during public comment to reveal that he was reported to DCFS by a parent for some unnamed transgression. A statement was read that was written by the Principal that the accusations against the assistant principal were "prompted by a parent who is on a quest to have a black student who's having some social and emotional needs to be expelled from District 65." The accusations were never detailed.
The head of the Washington PTA also spoke in support of the AP, but she also said of the accuser, "we have a parent who is lying because the help is not being provided" by the District to deal with these cases.
I actually have kids at Washington and have always had positive encounters with the AP.
I hadn't heard of any problems, but after this was publicized I was talking with some people who had a kid in the grade with--to use the Principal's language--the "black student who's having some social and emotional needs." Apparently the kid has physically assaulted other students on numerous occasions, has been disruptive in the classroom, and bullied kids constantly. And that the issue has been going on for a long time.
The people I spoke with all have the same positive impressions of the AP as I do; but they all acknowledged that very little has been done to address the problem. We don't know the whole story about the accusations, but it is not hard to believe that the parents of the kids being assaulted were at a breaking point and looking for some sort of way to protect innocent kids.
I have a hard time understanding why the Assistant Principal and his boss went public with the issue. Even more problematic is the Principal framing the entire issue around race and identifying the race of one of the kids involved in a public forum.
The cynic in me thinks that maybe there are some legs to whatever accusation was levied against the AP and this is a convenient way to try and combat them.
But, again, the whole thing seems weird and not very professional on the part of the Washington administration. I am at the school all the time and talk with friends and neighbors with kids there and I hadn't heard anything about it. Why go public with the issue if you think the accusations are unfounded?
And leveraging the language of racism seems really irresponsible and an easy way to escape scrutiny about other things. Because the accuser (rightfully) is keeping quiet in public forms and apparently letting the process work out, we only get one side of a story with very few details.
Now if I feel that the school is not serving my kids and I try and get it resolved should I expect the Washington Admins to go to the public and say "people are criticizing us for X, but they are racists."
There are already mechanisms in place if you have a problem with this as you say in all the comments sections just go vote. Why make a site doing all this when I see you saying in all the comment section there’s already mechanisms just go vote.