Sunday, December 11, 2016

Discipline in schools: are the adults worse than the children at Horton and Castle Park Elementary Schools?

Here are two stories of misbehavior at schools. In the first, students became noisy in the cafeteria and grabbed a bathroom pass from an employee's pocket. In the second, teachers celebrated the last day of school by saturating curtains, walls, upholstered furniture and carpet in the teachers lounge with soda and desserts that were left over from parties in their classrooms.

Too many adults in schools confuse authority with power. They think whoever has power gets to do whatever they want. Quite a few teachers and administrators are as desperately in need of lessons in respect as the worst-behaved students.

Story One

ACLU criticizes S.D. elementary school for forcing students to plank

San Diego Union-Tribune
Dec. 5, 2016
Horton Elementary School in southeastern San Diego has come under fire for disciplining students for misbehavior by forcing them to hold a plank position on a hot blacktop surface, which the ACLU said amounts to corporal punishment.

An incident occurred in October when a ruckus erupted in the cafeteria after a student reportedly took a bathroom pass from an employee’s pocket. The school replaced open recess for fourth- and fifth-graders with structured exercising, including the plank or push-up position.

Some of the students’ parents were banned from campus for 14 days under threat of prosecution after they complained to the principal...

San Diego Unified disagrees that corporal punishment was used, rather Horton “modified open recess” for the students for three days “as a result of unruly behavior displayed by students during the lunch period on Oct. 14,” district spokeswoman Shari Winet said in a written statement...

The rowdy lunchtime incident prompted staff to summon the principal, Staci Dent, who arrived at the cafeteria to find some students pounding on their desks or tables...

According to the ACLU and parent complaints filed with the district, students were “forced to get into a push-up or ‘plank’ position, and hold the pose for a significant period of time, potentially as long as several minutes.” Some developed blisters on their hands after they “were forced to hold their hands against the scalding hot blacktop” or face time in juvenile hall, according to the principal’s threats, the ACLU said in its letter to Marten.

...The principal sent “stay away” letters to at least four parents informing them they were banned from campus for 14 days under a provision in the Penal Code. The letters threatened the parents with arrest and prosecution should they “enter onto district property in the future and should they cause disturbance or disruption....Read more here.

Story Two--Food Fight at Castle Park Elementary
by Maura Larkins
Dec. 11, 2016

There was a huge food fight at Castle Park Elementary School when I was a teacher there.

The walls, furniture and carpet of the teachers lounge were saturated with sodas and cake on the last day of classes. It took the custodians over a week to clean it, and another week for it to dry. There were absolutely no consequences for any of the immature, negligent teachers who made the mess. (No students were involved.)

The next year one of the teachers returned to the lounge on the last day of school wearing a raincoat. She was planning to do a repeat performance, but no one else was interested.

The teacher in the raincoat (I'll call her "R" for raincoat) had a habit of becoming enraged when students weren't suspended when she demanded it. She and her "family" (I kid you not; that's what her clique of teachers called themselves) controlled the principal and the district administration.

"R" also caused huge legal bills for the district and was finally transferred out as part of the "Castle Park Five" when the district tried to retake control of the school from the rogue teachers.

Ironically, David Loy, chief counsel for the San Diego ACLU, went out of his way to cover-up everything that happened at Castle Park Elementary. He went out of his way to undermine my First Amendment rights in this law suit. I suspect that some wealthy ACLU donor (someone like Irwin Jacobs) gives large donations to the ACLU and in return asks the San Diego ACLU to foster his pet projects, one of which is to increase the arbitrary power of school administrators. Irwin Jacobs is my top suspect because he has spent huge amounts of money trying to mold schools to fit his vision, which even included packing the SDUSD board with unelected board members.

I think the adults at Horton Elementary would have been more successful at encouraging kids to value self-control if they involved the kids in some highly organized but fun physical activities.

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