63. PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE weeks #8 and #9, EDITORIAL: A “GOOD” STATE LAW?, R.C. pt. VIII, PROF. N. VISITS THE U.S.A. & YOUR FAQ’S

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE weeks #8 and #9

Week #8

Back in week #8, I was looking at the afterschool detention hall roster. I suspected that something was amiss when checking the daily lists. It seems that the same few girls are getting to their 3rd period classes late. Different classes but same 4 girls at the start of 3rd period. Actually, the three different classes WERE towards the far end of the building but all 4 girls had NO problem making it to their other classes which were spread out around the building. I was puzzled. So I decided to personally patrol the hallway at the end of 2nd period where the 3 classes the 4 girls would go to next were located.

As I chatted with Volleyball Coach Kaye during the hubbub of students changing classes between 2nd and 3rd periods, I spotted 2 of the girls dashing into the girl’s rest room. I then recalled not seeing a lady teacher enter to monitor between periods -So I immediately made a beeline for girl’s rest room B. I figured that the tardy problem might be just a time management problem that could be solved with a little coaching from yours truly.

Boy, was I wrong!

It seems that our 4 constantly tardy girls were “smoking it over” with one serving as “lookout”!

“Quick everybody…Flush!” Kim yelled.

But it was too late and I could smell the smoke the moment I entered.

“Don’t bother with fanning the smoke away because I’m in here and all 4 of you are in trouble…Marlene, Terri…You can quit ‘hiding’ and ‘stalling’…Come on out and join Kate and Stacie…NOW! I ordered.

As all 4 lined up in front of the sinks, I shook my head in disapproval -Especially at Stacie and Kate who were once students of mine.

“What do you have to say for yourselves about your new ‘habit?…You in particular, Stacie!…Your mom and I were talking a few Sundays ago in church about how proud she is of you…And now this?” I questioned.

I then marched them to the office to prepare the I.S.S. referrals for the “Tobacco Usage” offense. They all pleaded for a “break” -Stacie even asked me not to tell her mom.

“Stacie dear, If your mom asks me why you are needing to get to school earlier and leave later, I WILL tell her the truth -But only if she asks,” I replied.

“Boy,I am in BIG trouble now…,” Stacie whinned. (I have a feeling Stacie’s mom is a lot like mine!)

Well, all four 8th graders have been cited for violating a Level II offense and will spend a few days in I.S.S. The high school student who was the “pipeline” for the cigarettes is in even bigger trouble. Suffice to say; the restrooms will be watched more closelt from now on.

Week #9

ln the latest week, I have started a new program for those students in I.S.S. -The “Afterschool Academy”. The reason for this new program is the established fact that students fall behind academically when they are in I.S.S. as Miranda has indicated to me. The solution: As the regular dismissal bell clears the classroom wings of our students who head home, I will supervise the transfer of I.S.S. students to the school library for the last hour of I.S.S. until they are dismissed for the day. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and teachers do not leave less than one hour after regular dismissal so EUREKA -A new way to ensure that I.S.S. students get tutoring if needed. This may help prevent a student from dropping out of school later -A major goal of mine since I began teaching8 years ago. But nothing will be forced and the students has to request the extra help.

Getting the teachers on board will be a challenge but most feel like I do about education: It is a must to succeed in the 21st Century.

 

EDITORIAL: A “GOOD” STATE LAW?

When it comes to various state governments and “law-making” as to education, we at TWP have always preferred the local school board as the primary policy-making body. Our reasons can be summarized as follows: State governments in state capitals are dominated by professional career politicians and those same folks spend most of their time on budget spending, tax policy and appropriations for highway projects. TWP believes those political types are UNQUALIFIED to set school discipline policy. (Come to think about it -What exactly are state politicians qualified for?) But when skimming corpun.com, I (Renee) came across an interesting story from my birth state of North Carolina.

In corpun file#021316, there is a newspaper article about the North Carolina state house legislature passing an “opt out” law for all public schools in the state. We at TWP have advocated this policy since the creation of TEACHERSWHOPADDLE Weblog. So, are we celebrating as though our college alma maters just won a national championship?

No, not really.

The new law is better than the outright state ban that was defeated a couple of years ago. But the house bill which we are unsure of as to present status, also seems to require the school to at least attempt to contact the parents prior to use of c.p. We only hope that this requires only an attempt and that school administrators will not have to “play games” with parents. Simply put: Any reluctance on the part of parents should mean automatic suspension for student with a permanent “opt out” status imposed. And NO opting out of suspensions or any other non c.p. alternatives. On that, school boards and administrators must be firm and ABSOLUTELY no compromising. After all, they have a school system to run.

As to the state being involved; it goes against TWP’s principles of local control and management of public schools as stated in paragraph 1 above. But the onus has been on local school districts for years and many have not heeded the warning signs. These signs can be summed up in one word: Change. We in the U.S. are not living in the 1950’s anymore but some school districts act like it. While In loco parentis is still a legal standard, it is not as strong as it once was. Implied Consent which is defined as “Enroll your child in our school, then we educators have carte blanche to do as we see fit as to school discipline”. That has been gone for years and some in education had better wise up!

Another development in Louisiana which was mentioned in a network54.com forum was a court case (Setliff v. Rapides Parish school district) which involved an elementary school paddling. The trial court found for the parents but that judgement was set aside by the state appeals court. This case revolved around a verbal “opt out” and the parent’s COMPLETE disregard for the school’s authority to discipline a child in school. The pdf link on this case is at the end of this editorial.

This case, like the North Carolina proposed law, centered on the question of parental “opt outs” -Although the opting out was only verbal. The appeals court reversal tilted strongly in favor of school authority and in loco parentis. That is good but TWP does not take too much comfort in court rulings. Why? Because only a few states had banned c.p. before the historic Ingraham decision in 1977 -But look what happened afterwards. With a little more than half the states banning c.p., TWP does not consider the courts as having the last word on this issue. While the principal and the school district acted in good faith, they -like so many other districts- leave themselves at risk by using poor policy such as not having a WRITTEN opt out form.

In conclusion, the proposed North Carolina “Parental Opt Out Law” and the Louisiana State Appeals Court decision should be considered a “shot across the bow” by “old school educators” and that parents WILL exercise their rights as to the question of c.p. in the school discipline of their children. We at TWP are not afraid of parents asserting their right to opt out. We only ask that they talk to us and get the facts from REAL teachers and not the loons on the ‘net. Hey, In loco parentis means “in place of the parent”, not “replace the parents”! We have our OWN kids to raise so…

 

http://www.la3circuit.org/opinions/2004/12/120804/

04-0404opi.pdf

 

RENEE CHRONICLES pt. VIII

What’s For Dinner?

Everyone has memories about how their families ate together and what they ate. My family experience was typical of most families I knew. But I am not going to bore you, our loyal readers, with a family menu of my growing up years. Rather, I’ll just state that my mother was the family chef “par excellente” who managed to feed four VERY large appetites (Daddy and 3 large older brothers) and two much smaller ones (Mom and me) all while working full time as a school librarian.

One thing was quite different than the way too many kids grow up (and “out”) today. Afterschool snacks were LIGHT on “junk food” and emphasized various fruits instead such as apples, oranges, grapes, etc. My brothers and I did get a couple of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses (the editable type of kiss) each with our fruit but no more. It was rationed! And there was NO lounging around the t.v. until dinnertime unless the weather outside was bad. In other words, we kids were expected to do some kind of safe activity outside with neighborhood friends until dinner.

When dinner was ready, my folks never had to look far because we kids were always looking forward to our family mealtime as a family. There was ALWAYS Grace said before we even sat at the large table. To this day, I do not know how momma pulled it off but there was always enough food for seconds and even thirds (the “big” appetites) and the various bowls were passed around until stomachs were full and plates were empty. As a family, we ate well but not to excess. My daddy and brothers were all large sized but were never fat while momma and I maintained our smaller petite sizes to this day.

I decided to make this segment because of what I am seeing in too many kids today -Obesity! Before anyone calls me out as being judgemential -Please hear me out. There was a growing epidemic of children with obesity when I was growing up but it is much worse today. Consuming “fast food” combined with the t.v./internet culture is slowing KILLING our children. There are NO easy answers for this national problem but unless we parents change the lifestyle of our kids, they may become the first American generation to have a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation.

As a mother of one, I (Renee) refuse to allow this trend with my Tyler and he will NOT grow up on McDonalds or Pizzas or Dunkin Donuts…And the t.v./computer will not become my “babysitter”…SO HELP ME!

We second that! (Jenny-mother of one and Wendy-mother of one)

Me too -Although Richard and I (Michelle) are still…I’ll let y’all figure out the rest! (Giggle Giggle Giggle)

 

PROF. N. VISITS THE U.S.A.

I was going to write about my views last week , but then I demurred. You see, I needed to check with the travel agent that I actually had been to the same South as Paula and her friends, because whilst I met some very genuine educators there, I didn’t see, or hear anyone advocate , that students be paddled other than reasonably and carefully. No one advocated ‘beating’ them . No 300 lb Principals with ‘cricket’ bats! So I reckon that I must have been on a different planet to many of your blood and gore obsessed ‘commentators’

Well, we at TWP are glad you enjoyed your stay in the U.S.A. and as to the “loons” and “nut cases”, they are not in short supply here although a small minority where we are from.

The main thing they (the antis) get wrong is that everyone I met was interested in teaching. You know for those in the tanks who have forgotten , that is getting the kids to enjoy learning, in a safe and friendly environment. That is a huge task , and that’s where most attention is directed. Punishment is the exception not the rule, and so although it is a discussion point , it doesn’t bulk as the main issue. People wanted to talk ( as amongst other things I’m a ex exam board Chief Executive) particularly about teaching and learning strategies , forms/methods of assessment , and how we moderate , verify and sample work. Of course none of this ignores the fact we need disciplined classrooms. But 90% of discipline is about talking and persuading, only a small fraction is enforcement.

Prof. N., are you sure you weren’t sitting on one of our inservice staff meetings? What you just said is what many an inservice meeting focuses on. If you were, I would be the petite red haired young administrator, Jenny is a tall brunette, Michelle is tall with long golden blond hair and Wendy is shorter (like me) with short auburn hair. THINK BACK! HA HA!

You still seem to have a society where family is important , where parents and schools work in the greatest part co-operatively together. You put more emphasis on the teaching staff and the ‘chalk?’/ interactive whiteboard face than we do. Parents still support ‘Saturday School’/ or paddle when necessary.
I contrast that with a centralized State system at home where the only detention facility is often at lunch times, and where , in schools I know of , a lunch time detention class is ‘gate crashed’ by kids who want to ‘sit in’ in these strictly run classes ,rather than be in the environment of the school yard. That is a crying shame!

Your points are well understood by us. In the last month, I have talked about my own upbringing and the values that I was brought up with in THE RENEE CHRONICLES. The backgrounds of the other contributors are very comparable to mine. As to what is going on in the schools on your side of the pond, I touched on the problem of centralization of education in the editorial on this post. Your example should be considered as a possible outcome if the U.S. ever follows the British system in school governance.

And a non educational point which may reflect on societal values, your Churches are overflowing , whilst ours are empty………..

How I wish that were true throughout our land but sadly, it isn’t. From what I gather in my own experiences, the South IS more religious but as to the future, who knows?

 

YOUR FAQ’s

How is the year going for Michelle/Jenny or the new teacher who took your place? Did you leave your paddle for her or is Michelle or Jenny is using it?

Michelle and Jenny are doing just fine and their students are behaving normally (or what passes for “normal” around here). I left my paddles in the desk drawers of my 3rd grade classroom. I do not know very well the transfer teachers who replaced Wendy and me. In 2010, when Wendy comes back from maternity leave, she will probably replace a retiring teacher at an elementary school closer to where she,James and baby Patrick live -So I’ve heard.

I have a friend, who is a psychologist and he did cite modeling theory as a reason to discontinue corporal punishment. I just wanted to know: What is your position on social learning theory?

Social Learning Theory: If people observe positive, desired outcomes in the observed behavior, then they are more likely to model, imitate, and adopt the behavior themselves. The problem in applying SLT to the use of c.p. is that there can NOT be a positive outcome to a negative action such as bullying, profanity, stealing, etc. unless you wish to reinforce the negative behavior. For us, c.p. is a consequence of, and not the cause of, negative behavior. Remember, the negative behavior occurs FIRST and then the consequences (such as c.p.). SLT totally disregards this reality.

I just wanted to know your stance on public spankings? I was also wondering where you got the information for your techniques post?

As to paddling students in front of other students -TWP does not favor it. (TWP will do a feature on a Memphis, Tennessee school next week.) As to our post IMPLEMENTS AND TECHNIQUES, we just used common sense -Nothing scientific.

 

COMING NEXT:

TWP SPECIAL: A MEMPHIS “MELTDOWN”,

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE week #10,

TEACHER FEATURE: MICHELLE’S FIRST DAY

&

R.C. pt. IX

 

 

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