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Students push for changes in District's discipline policy

By Katie McCabe on Jul 20, 2012 06:04 PM

Students from the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools hold a press conference outside the School District building Thursday, July 20.

by Katie McCabe

Student leaders and community allies working with the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools voiced their opposition Thursday to the most recent draft of the School District’s discipline policy at a press conference on the steps of District headquarters.

Members of the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools, along with other organizations like the Education Law Center, have been working since early February to provide recommended changes to the district’s code of conduct as part of School Reform Commissioner Lorene Cary’s safety and engagement committee.

Cary said the students were “absolutely correct” to be concerned about the draft, which still doesn’t address their main concerns. They want it to be clear that students can’t be suspended for infractions like being out of uniform or cutting class and that expulsions will be used as a last resort.

“The changes they are planning to make still do not support our efforts to create a safer space in schools,” said Rachel Purdom, who graduated this year from the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and is a member of the Mazzoni Center Student Leadership Board.

District officials are now working to write another draft of the code that is more responsive to student feedback.

“We are making, I believe, significant changes to it that do address the things that matter most to them – and to us,” Cary said.

Briana Bailey, a rising junior at Science Leadership Academy, outlined what the student leaders want to see in the new draft.

“We need Lorene Cary, the SRC, and School District to agree to our discipline matrix,” she said. The preferred matrix is a more nuanced framework of disciplinary consequences than what now exists in the code of conduct.

Besides clarifying disciplinary consequences, students want the new code of conduct to spell out the relationship between police and the District. Right now, the code does not make it clear when a student’s offense will result in an arrest by the Philadelphia police.

And beyond changes in the code of conduct, the students also want the District to address the root causes of school violence by increasing their focus on school-wide positive behavior supports and restorative practices, in which students are held accountable for their actions by methods other than punishment.

Youth leaders with the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools have outlined these and other demands in a document released Wednesday, called the “Commitment to Smart School Discipline.” They have asked the School Reform Commission and District officials to sign it, and plan to reiterate their concerns in front of the SRC at Monday’s public meeting at 5:30 p.m.

New official hired to build safety strategy

The SRC recently brought on new Stoneleigh Fellow Jody Greenblatt, who will be working with the commission for the next two years to improve school climate by developing a comprehensive safety strategy for the School District.

Greenblatt and Cary are now organizing a principal engagement and safety summit to take place in August. This past spring, the SRC and the District worked with the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission to provide district-wide trainings to school leaders on anti-bullying and anti-harassment school policies.

The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), based out of Bethlehem, Pa., also periodically holds trainings for teachers and school leaders in the Philadelphia area. The most recent four-day session was held a few weeks ago. IIRP also has a master’s-level program.

The institute is hopeful that it will be able to restart its restorative justice work at West Philadelphia High School, thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Community Revitalization Program of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

John Bailie, IIRP's director of continuing education programs, wants to build on this work at West Philadelphia High School to create a “West Philadelphia Restorative Zone.”

In such a zone, anyone who works with young people – in families, social service agencies, police, churches, or school – would get training in restorative practices.

IIRP has had success with a similar initiative in Hull, England, the “world’s first restorative city.”

In West Philadelphia, the zone is still in its early planning stages. Initial meetings were held in the spring with stakeholders, including Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and the IIRP is now preparing a grant application to support the project’s further development.

Teachers and school leaders who have gone through IIRP training or courses have high hopes for the impact that restorative practices could have if implemented District-wide.

“If the District adopted this, it would be so fantastic,” said Lauren Fischer, a guidance counselor who works at Powel Elementary school and attended IIRP’s most recent workshop in Philadelphia.

She especially thinks the District’s current process for disciplinary expulsions, referred to as the EH-21 process, could be improved by a focus on restorative practices.

“If kids do one thing wrong … you either go back to school and nothing happens, or you go to a disciplinary school, and it’s on your record forever,” Fischer said. “With restorative practices, the problem can be looked at more closely.”

Stacy Phillips, a special education teacher at Juniata Park Academy who graduated from IIRP’s master’s program this year, also thinks that the district needs to focus more on restorative practices.

“I think that the District as a whole would really benefit from this mind-shift,” Phillips said. “But it’s definitely not something that happens overnight.”

Cary agrees that a culture change is needed around discipline practices, but says it will take time.

“Changing culture is a much more complex problem than imposing compliance,” said Cary, “but it’s a more effective way to get different outcomes.”  

 

Comments (41)

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on July 20, 2012 11:56 pm

It sounds like these students have made some great suggestions. Positive behavior supports and restorative justice practices are much better options than punishment (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/family-affair/200809/rewards-are-bet...). In our society, there is often a rush to be punitive. However, punitive policies create their own set of problems. First, punishment rarely targets the root causes of a behavior. Second, some people will feel compelled to rebel against punitive policies just to make a point or to defy authority. In order to improve behavior, one must replace a non-desirable behavior with a more desirable behavior. In other words, there needs to be a focus on increasing acceptable replacement behaviors as well as decreasing less-desirable behaviors. I agree with Lorene Cary's statement that “Changing culture is a much more complex problem than imposing compliance,” said Cary, “but it’s a more effective way to get different outcomes.” The District needs to move toward a values based culture instead of a compliance-based/rules-based culture, although this is easier said than done.

Submitted by linda (not verified) on July 21, 2012 1:01 am

nice thoughts, however, what do they suggest that an adult do for disciplinary issues that are serious?.....sent to disciplinary school for one infraction it takes a court order for that to happen and then it gets kicked out by the SDP....too many students at my former school, even with documentation, CSAPS, in house, out of school, classroom change, section change, work packets, conferences with the parents, with teachers, counselors and other organizations that have since been cut due to funding. are back in class and there is no change in the behavior because there is no change at home......what to do with those children? I want to know what the students' union has to say about that.

Submitted by Mick (not verified) on July 21, 2012 8:28 am

Linda--We all agree with you. These kids are NOT discipline problems you can be sure. They are well intentioned ACLU types unless they are actors--only kidding. The well behaved kids in my classes are as frustrated by the hooligans as I am. If anything, the well behaved students want their insidious peers gone even more than I do.

Submitted by Philly Teacher (not verified) on July 22, 2012 3:44 am

Amen. Part of the problem is that there isn't enough learning/emotional support for the kids who need it so punishment is the only way to get on with teaching the rest of the class. Some kids could shift from being disruptive to being assets if there was proper support for them. Unfortunately as a poor school district with more emotional support problems than others it's hard for us to pay for this so everyone suffers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 9:34 am

It ALL goes back to racism 101 with all its ugly appendages coming from that genesis. Charters have NO shot in most suburbs because the parents are more stable and resourceful and will fight these scoundrels and kick them away like the trash that they are. Slumlords are really what they are masquerading as reformers who are here to help our kids. What Stuff !!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 10:37 am

I think it is deeper than race, it is about class. Rural schools are being attacked too with charters. http://tinyurl.com/c8hsqt9

It is low income districts, which Corbett set up to have a fiscal crisis by cutting them twice as much as high income districts in the 2011-2012 budget http://tinyurl.com/85byp88, which are being attacked with privitization.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 3:16 pm

Yes, you are likely right.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 10:40 am

I have seen first hand the disruptive students get all the supports that you speak of and it not help. I am so tired of hearing about what these disruptive students need. Give them a hug, they're misunderstood, they come from a poor home, etc., it's all a crock. These students are the monority. The majority of students want to learn but their rights are being trampled by these students. I'm sick of it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 12:24 pm

I'm sorry you have given up on these students. They were not born that way. Family and the schools are failing them. They should be punished for this?

There should be a mechanism for removing chronically disruptive students from the classroom. They have learned disruptive behavior is a way of getting attention. Putting them in a separate setting outside your classroom and getting them intensive counseling and social service intervention is pedagogically best for everyone. That these do not exist is the source of your frustration. Please do not blame the child

Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 2:20 pm

They could exist in AD-4, but instead they leave the alternative schools without a single counselor and with huge class sizes.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 3:42 pm

Silly babble--Schools are not failing the kids. I have seen 4 bad teachers in 33 years of teaching. Almost all of the teachers kill themselves to help the kids but it's almost impossible with the disruption and the lack of parental involvement. Your larger point is well intentioned and I agree but until kids are better behaved in schools, teachers will continue to find enormous trouble teaching, NONE of it their fault.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 23, 2012 1:56 pm

you need to sit an observe the teachers I have seen in just one year of observation....I didn't know a teacher could be so incompetent until I started seeing them over and over, and this was in a good school that makes AYP and does not have discipline problems.

Not grading because as the teacher told me the parents, she doesn't have time to grade because she has 500 students, but in actuality, the whole time she's been a music teacher, she's always given pratically EVERY student, year after year, the same grade..."B". put she can't tell how she arrived at that grade.

Another teacher only does worksheets and screams at the kids about their lack of manners (I watched her in the hallway scream and my child was her student for half a yr till I pulled my child out)

The reading and literacy teacher who was great at writing grants but felt it was her right (she told me this to my face) to smoke on school property and I had to walk my little kid thru her cigarette smoke in front of the school.

Teacher who after years of teaching, had no idea what transition time was and lesson planning, and I would watch her scream at the kids to be quiet as she during instructional time would prep for her next subject or make it up as she went, or spent a lot of time discussing her personal life to these little kids because she hadn't prepared a lesson plan.

A Teacher who didn't know or chose not to provide the grade appropriate rubrics cube for explaining why my child got a C in writing his first semester. I was told that everyone received a C and grades didn't really matter in first grade.

Shall I go on?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 3:50 pm

I agree with you but there's a reason behind why they're so disruptive and that needs to be addressed. I agree, though, it's basically impossible to teach in many urban settings because of the "bad" kids.

Submitted by linda (not verified) on July 23, 2012 6:58 pm

Hello Mick, and thank you...my question remains..what suggestions were made by the students?....this article and oones like it become "photo ops" for the press, kids and the SDP....kids do have good ideas, but do we listen, and if they will not work, then what?....how do we know?...when will we try?

I know none of us has all the answers and as a teacher, former building rep of 8 years, active chapter member for 18 years....I can only say, that we have faulty parents, students, teachers, faculty, staff and administrators...but the biggest of all are those who decide within the SDP how the money is spent and where....throwing good money after bad does not solve problems much less discipline.....but then what does?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 7:03 pm

We need to get the SRC OUT !! That's a start but it won't happen unless we the people force it to stop--not ask, FORCE.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 22, 2012 2:40 pm

Why isn't the teacher's union saying anything? No one should work in an unsafe environment. I met a teacher back in the spring in my neighborhood that had her finger slammed in the door by a student who was mad at her and broken. The school did not discipline the student. What kind of message does that send to the other students in the class..that it's ok to harm a teacher? I told the teacher as a parent, I would have my son arrested if he willfully broke a teacher's finger. She thought that was harsh, but why would I want my son to be breaking people's fingers because he's mad??

There is something really wrong with a system that allows students and teachers to be abused and mistreated. Something really really wrong! Why isn't the union protecting teachers. I couldn't believe that this teacher has to go back and teach this student. But I am also annoyed at any teachers and staff who contributed to this student thinking that abuse was an appropriate response. Having witnessed little kids being screamed at, pulled or pushed etc at the elementary level (yes I reported it all) these kids may already be coming from violent or abusive homes...school should be the one place that is safe for them and their teachers...we all need to take responsibility as the adults, parents, teachers and staff, and demonstrate for our kids who we need to treat each other.

Kids represent what they are shown...

Submitted by Oma (not verified) on July 22, 2012 3:09 pm

The union just wants your dues, so they can spend it for you. Who needs them? It's time to get out of this union and demand an audit. They are spending our money. Let's face it. It's not about us, it's about them. Stop sending them money. Write a letter, you have the power to do that. And let's demand an audit, we have the power to do that also. Where are our union dues going?

Submitted by Anonymous on July 23, 2012 1:15 pm

Unions have been emasculated by the state. We can't even go on strike in Philly. PSERS will soon be a thing of the past. Welcome 401k. If you go into teaching be ready to be abused by the kids, their parents, your principal and the central administration. Efforts are being made to reduce benefits, get rid of any pay increase for more graduate degrees+.Why would anyone want to become a teacher in Philly? I guess that's why the average teacher lasts less than 5 years.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 23, 2012 1:29 pm

No one deserves to be abused, no one! Not kids or teachers, that should be the one relationship that is respected and supported. To me that feels just as bad as abusing parents, like a me a divorced mom or the divorced dad, or the parents who both have to work, or care for elderly, whatever...it's tough being a parent and families need support. Teachers are supposed to be part of those families and villages and as caretakers of our children, need support and respect.

Because in the end, who really gets hurt? Our kids. If you beat me up as the mom, beaten and bruised, what do I have left for my kid? But if I am healthy and viable, I have plenty to share with my child..

Submitted by linda (not verified) on July 22, 2012 7:55 pm

Hello MBA to MEd Mom,

Questions...did the teacher report the issue, fill out a report and get a photo taken of the injury? a copy of ther doctor's note? did the teacher call and speak with the school discipliarian, vp or principal? was the school police notified? if none or only some of these things happened then either the teacher chose not to follow through or the teacher did not know what many experienced teachers do know...f to follow through.....expecting anyone out of the classroom to care to what is happening in the classroom is not wise.....I got stabbed in the hand by a kid and the school officer was a wimp...did not want to follow through, putting the issue off on the school disciplinarian, needing a copy of the pink slip, needing the item, stating he had no computer access as I spoke to him in his office which had THREE computers in it!

I photographed the item, my hand, the pink slip, emailed and hard copied him, called the mom several times [knowing she would not answer] sent a copy of the letter documenting the event to the vp, princip., school dean and security.....
because it was the end of the year, the child was out my class for two weeks, then she went back to cutting, [not I was not minnding at that point] ...got reinestated....when she came back, she was talking smack and my statement to her in front of the class " I know you have a problem, but guess what?....I'll do whatever YOUR behavior dictates, including calling the police" she managed to stay the period...and I did not see her the last 3 days of school.....

Will she get the help she needs? who knows...but this much is true, if it isn't documented and made known, then the child is definitly going to be in your classroom.

The students in the group highlighted in this article need to see about being peer to peer counselors...that is the most they can do in addition to reporting either publically or quietly the events that go on with their peers....

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 22, 2012 11:53 pm

The teacher said she was told that as it happen at the end of the day, there wasn't anything that can be done...I wanted to know why she didn't call the police right then and there??

Having my child arrested because he brought a butter knife to school, ridiculous, having him arrested because he stabbed a teacher in anger, not self defense appropriate, let the courts, parents, and pyschologists help him learn appropriate ways to manage his anger...

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 6:58 am

I have had too many high school students taken through the "zero tolerance" process for ridiculous infractions (e.g. smoking a joint, knife in purse, etc.) while students who obviously lash out in anger and with violence (e.g. jumping other students, hitting a teacher, etc.) are often not addressed. The later students often need counseling/emotional supports that the schools are not equipped to provide. So, it is easier to say "we are doing something" for infractions that are non-violent. While I don't condone smoking a joint at school, the student needs drug counseling, not expulsion. Students who might carry a knife, but don't use it, often fear the trip home.

I agree with the students that we need to find ways to engage students, families and school staffs in supporting the "whole child" - which includes emotional/psychological supports - in school rather than through the courts. That said, the students who are repeatedly violent, aggressive and disruptive may need a "time out." This doesn't have to be out of school but may be in school as long as the family/student realizes they need to accept the counseling/supports and the behavior/attitudes won't be tolerated. Coddling doesn't help in the long run.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 9:25 am

I think that all of the infractions you speak of should have consequences. Zero tolerance should be just that. And if you think smoking a joint on school property or bringing a knife to school are rediculous infractions, you should not be teaching children.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 23, 2012 10:41 am

you missed the point....no punishment for violent acts, but severe punishment for non violent acts...is not just.

This is the kind of teacher (who has critical thinking skills) I want to teach my child. This teacher gets it right.

Read the post again, please, you totally missed the actual meaning. And as a parent, we chose what type of punishment is appropriate, not you. My child is my responsibility and if parents don't like the zero tolerance, you need to respect that and start listening to why we don't like it.

Otherwise, if you don't listen to parents, find another profession.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 12:43 pm

Thank you - as your wrote, s/he did not read the post and "get it." There should be a difference between nonviolent offenses and violent offenses.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 3:32 pm

If you don't like the zero tolerance rules, homeschool your children. Children should be sent to school to get an education without the disruption from the students who don't follow the rules. As a parent teach your child to respect the school rules. If they break a school rule there should be school consequences. By the way, I am a parent that is sick of the disruptive students in my children's class. Keep your disruptive kids home with you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 4:22 pm

You sound like the anti-union people who say if you don't like what the District wants to pay you get another job!

Teaching takes patience and you have none. I'd never let my child in your class because you have an authoritarian attitude which does not encourage a love of learning. Of course disruptive students should be dealt with and their should be consequences for breaking rules, but just casting them aside without dealing with their problems is not good for anyone.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 4:04 pm

You just responded to a parent, not a teacher. Having said that, I suspect that if you saw some of the things that disruptive students did in YOUR child's classroom, while your child's teacher was trying to teach, you'd be frustrated, too. Teachers are often ill-equipped, usually through no fault of their own, to handle the outrageous behaviors that occur in their classrooms.

Budget cuts mean even fewer supports for the children who need the supports the most, and everyone suffers, not just the disruptive students. We had a wonderful, experienced teacher, who suffered a nervous breakdown halfway through the school year, because of the overwhelming number of problem behaviors exhibited in her room. No one should have that happen to him/her. Imagine how the rest of the children in that class felt, the ones who were trying to learn. How fair was it to them? Yes, we need to get students the help that they need, but we also need to protect the rights of their classmates.

Submitted by mba to med (not verified) on July 23, 2012 6:57 pm

Telling how you assume I have more than one child who I'd a joy to be around. Teachers love having him in class. Also interesting that you think you can dictate how my property taxes should be spent. I guess you think I have no right to voice my opinion on effective use of my money.

Submitted by linda (not verified) on July 23, 2012 7:59 pm

Hello again MBA to MEd Mom,

Well with what you stated, I can only say that I hope you continue your vigillence at your school, for both your child [which sounds as though you are] and to aid your coworkers who sound in some cases to be bewildered, unaware or perhaps burnt out......

My best to you as you teach and regardless of some of the rancor cited in this or any other forum, I trust that you will continue exercising your common sense and not let the irrate complainers wear you down to a nub....
keep your head and I'll do the same
Linda, art teacher still teaching and reaching

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 25, 2012 10:52 pm

Thanks! The rancor towards me is disappointing but I am an adult and can deal with it. I am always disgusted though when I hear it directed towards the children in our city.

I hope I am a benefit to the teachers and students that I will be working with, because I truly believe in education. I also have to set an example for my child because it's hard to watch how badly at times my child can be treated compared to what my experience in public school was. I don't know if I can ever forgive myself for exposing him to what I watched go on in his school.

Please keep your head up, Art in school is sooo important and can be utilized in teaching so many subjects. And kids love Art, (mom's do to!!) it can be such a great way to engage students. I love watching kids learn using their creative juices.

Best of luck to you!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 21, 2012 2:14 pm

You would think that students would lobby for more discipline in their schools. With no NTAs, students roam the halls at will and there are times when there are more students in the halls than in the classrooms. And students that are disruptive ruin any kind of learning going on in the classroom. They need to be removed from class and suspended from school. Restorative justice is meaningless to students who have no intention of behaving in class and no desire to learn.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 22, 2012 1:42 pm

Why is it on the students? The PFT is doing nothing. Many teachers just complain about not having disruptive students removed and demand nothing of their administration because they know they will not be backed up by the PFT.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 22, 2012 2:37 pm

good point! what are teachers paying dues for?? why aren't the being protected?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 12:07 pm

No student is arguing for "less discipline" but rather smarter discipline. People usually turn to extreme cases first (serious, violent incidents involving harm); students are not arguing that those incidents should not be handled seriously and quickly. What they ARE saying is that suspensions for not having a hall pass or not wearing your uniform do not make sense. That discipline that seeks first to punish not to address root causes, or discipline that doesn't allow for discretion only leads to further criminalization of young people. And if you look at restorative practices, they are about providing high levels of support, yes, but also about high levels of accountability. There are consequences and rules that everyone understands and a school culture that they build together. High expectations, high accountability, and high support are all needed to successfully reduce incidents in schools and we should trust our young people to lead the way in getting us there.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 23, 2012 1:58 pm

The ONLY issue I have with your comment is that I believe Parents, Teachers and Staff should be leading the way. WE are the adults and we should be listening, respecting and creating a safe learning environment for our children.

Why are we as grown people, stepping up and getting behind our kids? How much abuse do they have to take until adults start doing what is right?

With all the attention on Penn State today, you would think we would allow or even tolerate any situation in our city that allowed our children to continue to be abused. We need to stop victimizing and exploiting our most vunerable members of society, our kids, who are the future of this city!

Sorry...I just get angry when I think of how bad it must be for kids to be able to organize and say enough is enough..if you have ever sat down and talk to the kids in your neighborhood and ask them about school, the stories they can tell you and the injustices they see, you almost lose your faith.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 23, 2012 2:48 pm

Suspensions for not having a hall pass or wearing your uniform MAKE ABSOLUTE SENSE. Who is running the school district the children or the adults? Right now it seems the children are as too many adult administrators are passing the buck when it comes following through on serious offences, especially those against teachers. When NYC wanted to lower serious crime they started with minor offenses like jaywalking, littering, etc. It sent a message that even the small crimes were being monitored so don't even dream of anything worse than that. It worked. Restorative practices is just more of the same touchy-feely nonsense that is runining this school district. It's time to toughen up and stick to the rules every single time. You don't like them then have your parents home school you. We're tired of babysitting when we need to be teaching.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 25, 2012 10:09 pm

Suspension for not having a hall pass? Are you kidding?? I watched a teacher 'suspend' a student until her mom could come in the school for a meeting. The suspension was one of those fake suspensions, where the student was kicked out of class and told not to come back to school until she brought her mom, for not paying attention to the KWL chart she was supposed to prepare in her 10th grade history class.

It was a fake detention meant to humilate the student whose mom could not take off her hourly job without being fired or disciplined and so the student had to wait until the next week, when her mom could take a day off without pay to visit her teacher, who didn't even hold a meeting, but let the student back into school. On her school record the days were actually marked absent cause she had never really been suspended....which from what I hear in the school district is something quite common, giving out fake dentions...

My point is until the ADULTS in the school start behaving in a responsible AND ETHICAL manner, how DARE you impose draconian standards on the children and not the ADULTS.

I consider that abusive and disgusting. Clean up your own house before you start bullying the children. You are adults and need to set the standard of behavior. How dare you suspend a child for not wearing a uniform, but allow teachers to grade on behavior or 'fake suspend' students.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 25, 2012 10:57 pm

by the way, what restorative practices are you forced to use? I only see screaming at 5 year olds, calling children names, refusing them their free lunches'fake suspension and grading on behavior.... 5 year olds are NOT criminals and it is not appropriate to discipline them the same way you would adults...for example criminalizing jay walking reduced crime in NY compared to why you shouldn't use restorative practices on 5 year olds but criminalize the small things like not wearing a school uniform so that these 5 year olds don't become violent in the classroom??

You need to become educated on early childhood development because your comparison to criminal behavior may be a contributing factor on why this school district has been characterized as a pipeline to prison.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on July 22, 2012 1:42 pm

Good discussion! I like the fact that the students are saying things need to change because what's happening now is not working. We need to listen to them! They are the ones who have to endure...we have completed our education, we need to respect their desire to learn in a safe environment!

Submitted by Tony Garci (not verified) on September 14, 2012 7:26 pm

It's about time that someone raises his voice and significant changes are badly needed at the moment!

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