I’ve written elsewhere about the school’s excessive emphasis on unquestioning compliance with school rules, and also about the atmosphere in the lunchroom, where the lunch attendants are constantly yelling at the children to be quiet during the few minutes they get to socialize over a meal. What’s new this year is the added layer of over-the-top discipline.
It’s hard to get a fix on what’s happening, since of course the school can’t talk about specific disciplinary incidents, but I’m certainly hearing things I haven’t heard in past years. I hear, for example, about the school accusing a third-grader (eight, nine years old?) of sexual harassment, requiring him to attend behavior classes, and threatening to expel him – all by letter to his parents. I hear about kids getting written up not for bullying, but for failing to report other kids for bullying. One parent told me that, after one particularly bad interaction her son had with the school, she has told her sons that if they are sent to the principal’s office, they can refuse to answer any questions until their parent arrives. I hear about whole groups of kids being punished because a few are too loud, and the kids being encouraged to police each other’s behavior if they want to avoid punishment themselves. One of the only two parents on the school’s PBIS Committee recently quit the committee because she felt that the school’s approach to behavior management was making the kids anxious and stressed out, and that the committee wasn’t taking those concerns seriously. I hear about more and more incident reports being sent home to parents, and suspensions, both in-school and out-of-school.
So last month I sent this email to the principal:
Hi – I’m just writing to ask about discipline at Hoover. It seems to me that there’s been a marked increase in the emphasis on discipline this year, and I’ve never heard so many stories of kids getting suspended or having incident reports sent home, etc. Is this just my imagination? If not, what is the rationale for the increase?The response, which was cc-ed to the superintendent and two assistant superintendents, was this:
Is it possible for you to tell me how many incident reports and suspensions Hoover has had this year compared to last year? Of the suspensions, how many have been out-of-school as opposed to in-school? Again, it just sounds like it’s happening a lot more, but I don’t really know how to compare to previous years.
Thanks for any information,
Mr. Liebig -A public records request? Really? So much for transparency.
I do post and share information in a public forum during PTA meetings. You are always welcome to attend these on the second Thursday evening of each month. Unfortunately, we are not meeting in December. The next meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2012. I am referring you to the superintendent’s office, as this is a public records request. If you feel this is the route you would like to take, I can get the administrative procedure document from his office to send to you
To be continued.