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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Couple of Things

(Wednesday morning: KUOW informs me that they won't be doing the math adoption piece today. It is likely to be Friday but I'll let you know.)

(Update:
also tomorrow - Wednesday the 3rd - is the KUOW show on the math adoption from 12:20-12:40 p.m. You can call in before the show to leave a recorded message - 221-3663 - or call in live during the show, 543-5869 or send e-mail to conversation@kuow.org.)

One, another assault by a student on a teacher this time at Hale. Here's the story from the PI. It seems one student was assaulting another, the teacher (female) stepped in, got hit and then called security. Unbelievably, the student continued to assault the other student until the teacher called security. Meaning, the student disregarded her orders to stop and/or leave. The school did not call the police saying the suspect had left and that

"Our own security people felt some facts weren't clear, so our security gathered some additional information and called police the following morning."

It is unclear whether the parents of the student assaulted called the police on their own. I know I would have. (Again, very situational but for me, this wasn't a schoolyard fight. The suspect was in a classroom with a teacher and started and continued an assault even as the teacher told him to stop and was hit herself. That's assault for me and as a parent, I would have called police. It is unclear if the suspect has been expelled but I would assume he was at least suspended.

Two, a hilarious editorial from the Times. Now this is not on education but on...the naming of the iPad. Now we can all be sure that the Times is either pandering for attention or going off the deep end. This editorial is a little old (given that the name has been talked about for at least a week) and also, what the heck is it to the Times what Apple names its products? You have to wonder about the editorial direction at the Times.

Three, a gentle reminder to our readers. Charlie and I try very hard to put threads on when people ask for them (or have Open Threads) but we are two people who aren't paid and have our lives to run. I'll try to post an Open Thread a couple of times a week for new topics. Also, please try to stay on topic and also allow others to voice in before you post multiple times. I know some of you have your own blogs so feel free to use those for your own issues but we are trying to stay on-point with topics.

Thanks to all for the updates.

14 comments:

seattle said...

What's up with crime and violence in our schools? Rapes, drug dealing, serious assaults, robberies? And, why does it always seem to be at the same schools - RBHS, Garfield, Cleveland, Ingraham, and Hale?

I would really like to hear from parents of students at other schools - Nova, Center, Roosevelt, West Seattle, Sealth, and Ballard. What is the environment like at your schools? Are you dealing with these issues too? I'm not talking about petty theft, the occasional boy brawl, or girls teasing. I'm talking about assaults, rapes, robberies, drug dealing.

And, so much for zero tolerance. While kids are being suspended and expelled left and right for minor offenses, serious crime seems to be on the rise.

MapleLeafer said...

To say that the teacher at Hale was "assaulted" is something of a misnomer - a student from another Seattle high school came into her classroom with the intention of fighting a student she was helping. The student who was attacking the Hale student inadvertently hit the teacher on the arm while seeking to hit the other student. Is this an assault - yes, it is-- but it is not quite the same as the deliberate attack on a teacher that took place at Cleveland. Both my children attended Hale and it is a very safe environment - seattlepi.com may well be guilty of overplaying the situation for their own benefit.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I agree MapleLeafer. I had this almost happen to me at Roosevelt during step-up day a year ago. I stepped in-between two girls, one attacking the other. I didn't get hit because the girl thought better of it but she was clearly pumped up. But I am quite surprised at kids who will attack other kids in full view of adults and with adults saying stop. Point in fact, the Hale kid should have stopped.

To Sully's point. I asked my son and his friends (one who transferred from Hale). They both said it's the petty theft at Roosevelt, not fighting. (The kids from Hale got jumped at a bus stop there so he definitely feels that is more at Hale. However, there were bus stop issues at Roosevelt last year.) There is definitely a mean girl issue (or there was last year). It seems to happen because you get a large clique from Eckstein who try to rule the school so to speak. But we have enough things to do that most kids find their tribe.

I think Roosevelt, like ALL high schools, has an alcohol problem. But the school has really made it clear, in word and deed, that if you come to school drinking (especially at a game or dance), your parents will be called and you will be exited. (Note that some students complain about people who smoke pot outside of school grounds, come in reeking and teachers ignore it. I cannot confirm this but this is what I am told.) There's probably low-level drug activity at Roosevelt but you don't hear much about it.

Charlie could probably speak to Nova. I know that Sealth has had some issues in the past. I was at a table during discussions of the SAP and a Latina mom came and had the translator tell us she feared the gangs at Sealth and how could she make sure her son wasn't assigned there? But, Steve Sundquist has his daughters there; he has faith.

Honestly, I think is a tone set by the school and by the PTA. If the kids hear parents and administrators talking it up (followed by action if things happen), then kids do get the message; not here.

I think the district is setting themselves up for a lawsuit by not following thru as they say they will in their security documents. The Times printed a whole list of times when the district didn't contact police (and should have). If the district follows its own policy, then if they get sued they can say they did follow their policies. The way things are now, they have nothing to stand behind because it's clear that administrators are making their own decisions. That it happens over and over must mean that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is okay with school autonomy on these issues.

Josh Hayes said...

A friend forwarded me, the other day, this linked article in the context of an absurdly draconian punishment meted out to my son for a shoving match at school. We all know that schools need to have guidelines for dealing with issues of violence and other disciplinary matters, but the idea that blaring "zero tolerance" will do away with such behavior surely evaporated with Prohibition - or maybe not? Maybe we, or at least SPS, think that forbidding something makes it stop happening?

Here's the article, mind the wrap:

http://www.aclu-wa.org/detail.cfm?id=1196

Josh Hayes said...

And while IANAL, I should point out that any information obtained by questioning a minor without the presence of a parent or guardian is regarded as improperly obtained, absent exigent circumstances. So it's now apparently district policy to at least call parents first, before calling police. I may well be wrong about this, but that's the policy as given to me by an administrator.

Charlie Mas said...

I got the sense from the PI story that the suspect in the assault at Hale was NOT a Hale student.

There have been other cases in which the suspects in on campus violence were not students at the school which was the scene of the crime.

imblogger said...

To add to the conversation, here are some data about youth violence and substance abuse among SPS students.

According to 2008 Healthy Youth Survey results, the percent of SPS students who reported:

-- being in a physical fight in the past year was below the state average (among 6, 8, and 10th graders). The rate for SPS 12th graders was about the same as the state average.

-- being members of a gang was about the same as the state average.

-- carrying a weapon to school was similar to the state average.

As far as substance abuse, the percent of 12th grade students who reported:

regular alcohol use
state average - 41%
district average - 48%
Roosevelt - 53%
Hale - 57%

binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row)
state - 26%
district - 30%
Roosevelt - 30%
Hale - 36%

regular marijuana use
state - 23%
district - 35%
Roosevelt - 34%
Hale - 38%

The Healthy Youth Survey is given to all Washington State 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grade students every two years. Reports are available online at www.askhys.net. I do not have access to each individual school's data but it is available through the school district.

zb said...

I'm the naive mother of elementary school students, and I've been shocked by the alcohol statistics at all the schools. Just shocked, really. The level of use suggests a problem with our policies, if half the students are breaking the law at schools where the kids expect to see bright futures.

Mommasnark said...

Honestly, the alcohol stats SHOULD be shocking, but they aren't. And it's NOT a public school problem - private school alcohol and drug use is a big issue too. You can't "protect" your kids from this problem by sending them to a smaller community, even one that focuses on high academic achievement and has wonderful, supportive teachers. Violence, yes (usually) - substance abuse, no.

Melissa Westbrook said...

That why I wrote "ALL" high schools and I meant public and private. This is truly a huge issue.

hschinske said...

To be fair, my kids say "everyone lies" on those surveys. I think they're counting on a reliable percentage lying, so that the ranking still works even if the individual stats are off, but it all seems quite dubious to me. I will say that I think kids from richer homes (the kind where the parents don't necessarily have much of a handle on how much is in their liquor cabinet) are highly likely to drink -- sometimes more so than those from families who can't afford to keep lavish supplies around.

Helen Schinske

seattle said...

Dr. Hudson, the Principal at Hale, at a recent parent meeting reminded parents to "lock their liquor cabinets". She said in surveys teens report that the number one place for them to score alcohol is in their own homes.

Josh Hayes said...

Geez, and we don't even have a liquor cabinet -- we keep a bottle of rum down with the dog food, and run through a bottle every six months or so.

When I was in high school, and I seem to be slightly older than many parents posting here: I graduated in 1977 -- beer bashes were fairly common, but only a couple kids got blotto at any given party and they were always driven home to vomit in the privacy of their own house. Alcohol is something kids need to learn to use responsibly, and one often learns by screwing up once or twice.

That said, binge drinking with regularity is certainly a big red flag. I hope there are some programs in place to educate kids about appropriate alcohol consumption, and if not, that such programs are in the works.

Charlie Mas said...

My job, as a parent, is to shape my children into responsible, self-actualized adults who contribute to society. On the way to adulthood I fully expect my children to try adult things - including (but not limited to) personal finance, romantic relationships, work responsibilities, personal care, domestic care, and, yes, intoxicants. I fully expect them to make mistakes with all of these, just as they made a terrible mess when they were learning to eat with utensils or fell down when they were learning to walk. These mistakes are inevitable and unavoidable.

There is no better lesson against most of these mistakes than a first-hand lesson.

I cannot - and would not - shield them from making mistakes and suffering acceptable consequences. I set limits on the range of their exploration and experimentation and I take reasonable steps to enforce those limits. By limiting the range of the adventure I limit the severity of the consequences. Never bet more than you can afford to lose and never put more milk in a four-year-old's glass then you are willing to see spilled.

I lay back most of the time, but I will immediately interject myself if I sense my kids are exceeding those limits.

As my children mature, those limits extend out further and further.

My older daughter will be sixteen in a couple months. She is just a couple years short of being eighteen and, legally, outside my authority. I would rather she made small mistakes at home now than large mistakes later. I won't pretend that some mistake - and the attending lesson - isn't inevitable.

So when my daughter wants to go out without a jacket on a cold day, and refuses to wear one, I stop arguing and let her feel the cold. If the jacket was a good idea, then she will wear one the next time - or at least bring one with her. Likewise, I expect that one day she will get an object lesson in alcohol. I am not so naive as to believe that lesson won't come until she is over 21.