Tough meeting

The N&R published an article back on April 28th entitled “Rebuilding Kiser“.  I wrote a long post on that Sunday pointing out the fact that the article could have just as well have written about Aycock Middle School… same problems…  frequent and repeated disruptions by some students, high rates of repeat suspensions, more frequent fighting, higher arrest rates, decreasing test scores.

The N&R’s Jennifer Fernandez reports this morning that Superintendent Grier and several School Board members attended a meeting last night at Kiser so that parents and staff could voice their concerns directly to the decision makers.  It was a contentious meeting.

Much of the gathering’s efforts centered around discipline problems with habitually disruptive children being allowed to remain in the regular classroom.  This practice mirrors Aycock’s experience this year and was such a concern that parents submitted this emergency action plan to the administration back in October, ’03 (it was not implemented BTW). 

Kiser teacher Angela Nall echoed frustrations I have heard over-and-over by Aycock’s staff (and some staff from Mendenhall Middle as well) this year…

“Nall said that, in the problems she had with one student, she had ‘this much documentation,’ holding her thumb and forefinger more than an inch apart. ‘But I was told one more big thing had to happen’ before the student would be suspended.”

The article also reports that, “Parents complained that district officials had ordered fewer students be suspended.” which is an “order” that I have also heard whispered about at Aycock   Dr. Grier denied that anyone “dowtown”, meaning the central office, gave such directive.

I have not said that, …. Our school board has not said that.”  Then Dr. Grier attempted to discover the source of the “order” by suggesting that, ‘It is easy to say ‘downtown,’ instead of pointing to a person, he said, then asked for the name of who gave such an order.”

“They use your name,” said parent Rob Bradley. “That is the pervasive understanding in the community.”

I cannot attribute an ”order” for principals to retain disruptive children in the classroom until they are documented enough to be deemed totally incorrigable to Dr. Grier nor any other individual “downtown”.  The practice has become too widespread for there not to have been some concerted policy change, however.

My gut feeling is that someone, in some position at Guilford County Schools, did indeed float such an “order” in the background.  This was likely done to help rectify the wide disparity in suspension rates between black and white students that is occuring district wide.  As I have said many times, this disparity is indeed very troubling, unacceptable and perhaps indicative of some level of cultural/racial bias.  However, the current policies of continuously attempting to mainstream habitually disruptive children is failing ALL affected students miserably.

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