Violence in Schools – Two Views

by Jack

California classrooms are becoming more diverse, but the people leading them remain predominantly white and that’s a problem, so says a study by American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).

It’s widely believed that students of color relate better to teachers of their own race, but there are too few teachers to fill this need.  The AACTE data shows we have too many white kids enrolled in college and not enough minorities, especially when it comes to blacks.   Without some sort of outreach or affirmative action to recruit black teachers the problems systemic in the black and Hispanic population, such as, poor attendance, high failure rates and in school violence will continue to grow.

Black students are being unfairly targeted for disciplinary actions because of our school system is out of touch.

A study in Los Angeles showed that more black students are being sent to the principals office for disciplining than all other races.  For school administrators this could mean only one thing,  a failure of the school system.  And this is just another example of blacks being treated unfairly by white teachers who can’t relate to them or gain their respect.  It has absolutely nothing to do with a cultural or home problem.

The AACTE study said. “An analysis of the National Center for Education Statistics (2012) data showed that students of color made up more than 45% of the K-12 population, whereas teachers of color made up only 17.5% of the educator workforce.”  That’s the problem!

Now lets go to a second view:

“The teenage girl cranks up the radio, and hip-hop blasts from 92Q FM.

Her art teacher, trying to show students how to paint Japanese characters on umbrellas, asks the girl to turn down the music.  Instead, the girl stands up and gets inches from Jolita Berry’s face.  “You’re in my personal space,” Berry tells the 16-year-old. “You need to back up.  If you hit me, I’m gonna defend myself.”  The girl’s friend’s egg her on, shouting “Hit her, yo!”

Her heart pounding faster, Berry glances at the students as they call out for blood at Reginald F. Lewis High School in Northeast Baltimore.

The girl sucker punches Ms. Berry on the left side of her face, bursting a blood vessel below her eye. Then the girl knocks her to the floor, straddles her and punches her again and again. Students jump from their seats, cheering, and several open their cell phones to record the beating.

Footage of the beating surfaces online, prompting Berry to speak out against the violence that besets so many classrooms, against the physical and emotional abuse hundreds of teachers in Baltimore and thousands elsewhere suffer at the hands of their students.”

In this case and many other similar cases the problem was never about the educational system or the race of teachers, it was about out of control delinquents.

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16 Responses to Violence in Schools – Two Views

  1. Chris says:

    As a white male teacher serving a majority POC campus…it’s complicated.

    It absolutely is a problem that the demographics of the faculty are so different from the demographics of the students.

    In a society with equality of opportunity you’d expect the two to be more aligned. Perhaps not perfectly aligned, but certainly closer on average than what we see in real life. Kids from poor Hispanic communities, for instance, need to see strong Hispanic role models so that they know they can make it too. Part of that is because of racism in our society, and part of that is the insularity of the communities themselves (which is arguably affected by racism in and of itself, but that’s neither here nor there).

    I oppose affirmative action at the college level because by then, it’s too late. We need some kind of society-wide remedies for racial inequalities, though. Not all of them can or should come from the government, though that’s the easiest way of coming together and doing something as a society (though not always the most efficient).

    Yes, like all teachers I do get frustrated with parents when I feel they aren’t doing their part to make their kid a functioning member of society. I do get sick of the excuses. But I try to think about what I can control. I can’t wave a magic wand and make uneducated poor people have more time or energy or knowledge or emotional maturity to do the things that turn kids into successful adults. I can only change what happens in my classroom and on my campus. And as a citizen I can advocate for policies that I think will move people toward more socioeconomic and racial equality. That kid who assaulted their teacher needs punishment, obviously, but they also need a whole lot more than that that they should have received at home, but didn’t. So what do we do to make sure they get it? Nothing? As a teacher, I try to move from “What should happen to you after you did that” to “WHY did you do that,” because if I don’t, then the underlying issues don’t get solved.

    I don’t know how to feel about the recent push to eliminate suspensions in California, for instance. On one hand, kids need consequences. On the other, does suspension really teach them anything? Most kids look at it as a vacation. We send work home; they don’t do it.

    I do know the interventions on my campus aren’t working as they’re supposed to. I have a student who is wonderful for me, despite his complete lack of acumen at reading comprehension and spelling. Really, he writes words that are not words, sentences that are not sentences. He’s RSP. But he’s kind and respectful to me. Always. I have never seen him express the emotion of anger. Most of his other teachers say the same. Outside the classroom, he is a wreck. He has been suspended three times this year for fights and three times for drug possession/selling. On Monday, there was a fire in the bathroom by my classroom; I later found out it was started by him, intentionally. Some are adamant about expelling him for this. And I understand; we have to keep ourselves and others safe. But if the classroom is the only place where he is behaving well, what good is that doing for him? And can we put his needs above those of the rest of us? Or can we really find a way to make his needs mesh with ours, to quote the terrible but good-hearted Principal Flutie from the pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, may he rest in pieces?

    Like I said: complicated. I don’t really have any solutions at the moment, and I’ve been doing this for over five years.

    P.S. This would be an appropriate time for others here to bring up the fact that I am a teacher, but I hope people can stay on topic and limit their critiques of my teaching ability to things I have actually said about my work as a teacher, and not base those critiques on the fact that I am also a Democrat. Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Post Scripts says:

      Chris, this commentary was excellent! Thank you for saying it here. Yes, it is a complicated issue for today’s teachers and I don’t envy you one bit! What a tough job you have.

      Teaching is difficult enough without the threat of violence in your classroom! You’re a teacher and that ought to mean you receive the respect and attention you deserve…period. But, this isn’t happening, reports indicate teaching our kids is more dangerous than it’s ever been and that’s just unacceptable.

      Students that are emotional wrecks can’t learn and more often than not they come from dysfunctional homes, as you so aptly noted and that’s incredibly sad. But, we know it’s not your job to fix them or their parents, there are other services available for that. Those dysfunctional cases are becoming more common and this demands we fix it while we still can. The first step is simple. Dangerous kids need to be diverted to an alternative classroom suited to dealing with their issues effectively. We can’t expect learning to start until chaos is kicked out and civility is returned.

      Its been my experience that America has had no shortage of bad students/parents, and they were here long before the millions of poverty stricken illegals arrived. But, lets be honest, those new arrivals haven’t made teaching any easier, have they? Even if they arrived as perfect parents and responsible adults, their lack of being able to read, speak and write in English is a huge burden for them, their child and the school.

      So, what’s the extent of our obligation to these undocumented people, what exactly do we owe them and what should we expect of them in return? Beyond giving them sanctuary Sacramento has no clue. And of course there are the cultural differences undocumented introduce. This has caused complications well beyond the classroom. Yeah, it really is a complicated situation alright. I could write pages on the problems undocumented people bring with them, problems that can only exacerbate our existing problems. I can’t imagine why anyone would think it would be otherwise? But, that’s a whole other issue. My original point was about student violence in the classroom and the need to support our teachers and I don’t want to lose sight of that, too much is at stake.

      There was a time when our schools didn’t tolerate bad behavior regardless of culture or race. Back then, they had plenty of compassion, but they didn’t think it was their problem. It was expected that all students would arrive at school prepared to learn or else suffer the consequences. Those students that could not behave and that posed a threat were rapidly expelled…permanently. Then it was on the parents and social services to deal with it. This was just the kick in the butt that some needed, but for others they just became a lost cause. Back then the message was clear….this is life and you won’t have much of it if you don’t straighten up!

      Its just my guess, but I would say that on our current trajectory for educating K-12 students and the lack of respect directed at teachers, we may be faced with dealing with seriously maladjusted and educationally challenged people for many generation to come. It follows that this will lead to more people in our world that make really bad choices (drugs, alcohol, etc.), more street bums, more criminal behavior, higher incarceration rates, more reliance on welfare and just an overall higher costs to society that only has so much to give. Meanwhile, productivity and prosperity goes into a major decline thanks to this costly social burden force on all of us, as we see in San Francisco right now from the homeless problems.

      I hope I’m wrong, but having watched one of the greatest states in the nation (CA) fall into steep decline, well, it’s hard for me to see it any other way now. We’re in big trouble and I blame the liberals running the show in Sacramento. It was never this bad until they controlled everything and now we are all suffering the ill effects of their failed policies.

      • Chris says:

        Thanks, Jack.

        I do not see my undocumented students the way you do. Once they are in my classroom, they are my students, as much as any citizen. Many of them have been here since they were very small, and consider themselves Americans, just as I do. Their parents often frustrate me, but not for bringing their children here to have a better life. They need more resources, not less, and I believe we have those resources as a society; we just aren’t using them. I think we would save money as a country if we let more people come here legally and stop prohibiting thousands of good people who help make our country great.

        I have thankfully never experienced violence in the classroom, though one year my tires were slashed. I was certain who did it, and got them transferred out of my class, but their crime was never proven.

        I’m also not sure you’re right that the problems of crime, poverty, and homelessness are getting worse. Crime, drug use, underage sex, and poverty have all fallen greatly since my parents’ generation. We’ll see how the next generation does. What has grown is cost of living and inequality.

        • Post Scripts says:

          Chris then this is all good news, glad to hear. I was just relating information on violence in the classroom taken from teachers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago and New York. Maybe it’s a different story in those big cities? But, I thought you said you were not getting the support you needed to deal effectively with problem students? I fully support you and all teachers getting the support they need to keep order in the classroom. If a student is violent they need immediate intervention.

          • Chris says:

            I haven’t gotten as much support from admin this year as I should, no. They haven’t been sending kids to the continuation school as much as they used to for reasons I’m not clear on, so repeat offenders are still in our classrooms. My understanding was the continuation school was showing good results, so I’m not sure why this has stopped.

          • Post Scripts says:

            Other than financial reasons, there is no reason to keep a disruptive, combative, failing student in the general classroom. I totally agree with you, they should be referred to a classroom equipped to deal with problem kids.

  2. Harold says:

    The more you ask of government the more you’ll eventually increase the cost of living.

    Government is a love/ hate cost cancer. You can not add increase cost to everyday expense, I.E. government mandates like higher entry level salaries, without adding cost to your own daily budget of staples.

    Also you can not expect Government to solve all of societies problems without the effect of higher taxes. We all pay for it some how through pass through cost.

    I do agree the problem of disobedient children should (if possible) be resolved at home though better parenting. Because the next deterrent could be incarceration, more cost!

    What I also read is a sociologist* approach to curing the inequality of today’s illegal’s problem, yes problem! and removing barriers for infiltrating from one country to another illegally is not the answer.

    *”A Sociologist performs the following functions:
    Sets up and carries out statistical sampling
    Creates theoretical models for academia, public policy and corporate groups
    Helps to inform and influence public opinion in political races
    Creates most public opinion polls for political groups, media organizations and private companies
    Many non-profits are established by Sociologists after their studies
    Sociologists often help to inform public education efforts
    Sociologists work in a wide variety of Human Services positions”

    Sociology is a modern PC term for a ‘Socialist Government’, or a starter program for Communism.

    Violence in the schools is a problem, and is exploited by the media, which has spawned the current “we have rights” mentality that challenges the authority of law enforcement. I believe has contributed to the destruction of social harmony.

    The kids see this and start to practice and act out more aggressively. Than what, move them around to create a problem for someone else? I don’t see that simple act as a answer.

    The art of appropriate discipline, has been diluted to that of a mere time out. Maybe it is time to go back to tough love.

    Just my thoughts, and a note, I would hate to be a teacher today with all the limits placed on them. Luckily I had some great ones growing up, during and beyond my school years, Thanks Mom and Dad.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Well said Harold! And I agree, Mom and Dad make the best teachers. By the time a kids gets to school the hardest part should be done already… at home.

    • Chris says:

      Sociology is a modern PC term for a ‘Socialist Government’, or a starter program for Communism.

      Lol what? This is an absolutely crazy thing to say. I guess McCarthyism isn’t dead.

      Violence in the schools is a problem, and is exploited by the media, which has spawned the current “we have rights” mentality that challenges the authority of law enforcement. I believe has contributed to the destruction of social harmony.

      The “we have rights” mentality is what built this country.

      But since you bring up the conflict between citizens and law enforcement, watch what happens when these undercover journalists try to file complaints against police in various departments:

      https://twitter.com/inthenow_tweet/status/1123723776280092673?s=21

      • Harold says:

        I don’t share the cynical attitude that my comment was a rebirth of McCarthyism.

        I will clarify my opinion though. As of today (this moment in time) not all Socialist thinking people are communist, I do believe that all communist identify with or will describe themselves as socialist.

        I am not alone on this opinion.

        Socialism is a growing arm of the Democratic Party as evidenced by the Democratic Socialist of American, (DSA) which was so branded around 1982, in an attempt to pull a vastly divided socialist thinking movement back to a cohesive party.
        Today’s DSA can be linked to a division of ideology that can be traced back to the USSR and their 1917 political strife
        Today’s millennials are a growing base in the DSA, their search for wanted relief (one point) from massive student debt leads them to the conclusion that a new party needs to be formed to alter the direction of the two major parties.
        Democratic strategist understand their growing unrest and dangle tax fueled entitlements in an attempt to seek the support of the DSA, not so much for their beliefs, but their support at the ballot box.
        Enter Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Julia Salazar, as well others such as Bernie Sanders who describes himself as a democratic socialist.
        As such, Democrats will support the far left thinking, however, only if it can replace a Conservative member of Congress in an attempt to rebuild their power base. AOC is a prime example, a person of idealist intent, but lacking a reasoned policy to implement it, or another example of “unrealistic campaign promises” Not to mention the fiery issues she creates for Pelosi.
        So with regards to the above comment about socialist and communist, what better means of rebranding ones party image could there be than to covertly infiltrate and support a growing popular movement, and redirect it toward their communist ideology.
        Attempting to discredit the correlation between the two factions by calling another’s opinion as ‘crazy’ gives me pause and concern.
        Concern as well for the highly negative link about Police. Their job is one I couldn’t handle, so I am grateful for the service they provide. A few bad apples, sure, doesn’t all occupations have them, mostly caused by frustration! So why make the general inference, and put down the majority of good work they are tasked to do.

        • Post Scripts says:

          Excellent Harold, well said! * * * * * (5 stars)

        • Chris says:

          It wasn’t you conflating socialism with communism I called “crazy,” Harold. That’s wrong, but it’s far too common on the right for me to even bother objecting to at this point. I thought it was clear that what I called “crazy” was you saying that “sociologist” was another word for socialist or communist. That’s nuts, and the fact that you didn’t defend such a wild statement and instead felt the need to act like I was referring to a much less crazy statement tells me you know that.

          The link doesn’t put down cops in general or their good work. But the fact that so many officers on duty flat-out lied to and harassed citizens about the procedure to file complaints against the police indicates to me that there are systemic problems at play here, not just individual bad apples. These were people tasked to hold each other within their ranks accountable, and not only did they fail at that task, they were angry and resentful about being asked to perform it.

        • Tina says:

          Sociologist: an expert in or student of the development, structure, and functioning of human society.
          institutions

          Since many, if not most, sociologists today have been educated in the institutions formed and run by far left and radical left elements your observation and position are correct Harold. The thinking that shapes modern methods is absolutely leftist driven. Chris wouldn’t get the differences you experience having been born into the current atmosphere. His resistance to conservatism will likely prevent his seeing that many ideas from the past worked and worked well or that open borders policies that burden our education system do not work for American students of all backgrounds and races.

          Sad that he feels the need to pull the McCarthy card simply because he refuses to see the simple point that America cannot save the world, particularly by bringing all of the problems into the country. A weaker America will serve no good purpose.

          We were fortunate to have excellent teachers. We were also fortunate to have excellent administrators. Both were raised and trained in an environment shaped by principles found in the Bible and adopted within our rules and laws. Culture had nothing to do with it. People from all cultures in America were aligned with these basic principles and ideals. Radicals in the sixties, many raised by card carrying communists, managed to disrupt and destroy this cohesive structure that served our nation and the people well. Conservatives today would like to see that structure restored, and for that we are called racists and bigots…how stupidly wrong. You can’t hear the message when you’re so dedicated to killing the messenger.

          • Chris says:

            Since many, if not most, sociologists today have been educated in the institutions formed and run by far left and radical left elements your observation and position are correct Harold.

            Good lord…

            Sad that he feels the need to pull the McCarthy card

            No, Harold pulled the McCarthy card. I just pointed it out. Calling an entire profession stealth socialists and communists is McCarthyism, Tina. That’s literally the definition. To deny that is denial.

            A weaker America will serve no good purpose.

            Huh. Does constantly sucking up to dictators in North Korea and Russia make us a “weaker America,” Tina?

            We were fortunate to have excellent teachers. We were also fortunate to have excellent administrators. Both were raised and trained in an environment shaped by principles found in the Bible and adopted within our rules and laws. Culture had nothing to do with it. People from all cultures in America were aligned with these basic principles and ideals. Radicals in the sixties, many raised by card carrying communists, managed to disrupt and destroy this cohesive structure that served our nation and the people well.

            Yeah, sure. The school system served everyone well until the sixties…how can you type such a thing?

  3. Harold says:

    Chris’s has a definite pattern, if he can misdirection a post he is likely to do so when it offends his ideology.

    Chris’s reply to Tina is a clear example of his dishonest misdirection:

    Chris wrote: “Sad that he (Harold) feels the need to pull the McCarthy card”

    Chris then goes on to write “No, Harold pulled the McCarthy card. I (Chris) just pointed it out. Calling an entire profession stealth socialists and communists is McCarthyism, Tina. That’s literally the definition. To deny that is denial.”

    SO Chris, which ENTIRE profession did I mention, I’ll save you the trouble of trying to spin it, NONE. If there is any denial as to who injected McCarthyism to my post about Sociologist in general, it’s coming from your court.

    ‘I (Harold) commented that ‘Sociology is a modern PC term for a ‘Socialist Government’, or a starter program for Communism.’

    Chris went on to post (link) a very negative overview of corrupt law enforcement, after I mentioned the lack of compliance by today’s youth toward people of authority.

    This lack of respect/compliance I do believe is a major contributor creating school violence toward teachers and other students today, as well as daily dealing between police action and public disobedience.

    While we have rights mentality would be part of what built America, was Chris’s response, It should be noted that mindset was coupled along with, “we have laws” as well!

    Last, regarding the link you posted that demeaned police, I believe it was posted for extremely negative and inflammatory reasons.

    Right now all occupations that depend on trust from the public have issues with application of their authority. In any discipline there are some that need to be replaced. That includes Police, Politicians, Clergy and even teachers.

    I could have easily found links about the current problems exposing Clergy or teacher’s sexual misconduct with students. But what would be the point other than dig at one profession, the problem is systemic with any occupation of trust.

    I will likely regret my answering Chris above, as it is in his nature to go ad nauseam if he can engage you, answering his replies can lead to an extended post.

    • Chris says:

      SO Chris, which ENTIRE profession did I mention, I’ll save you the trouble of trying to spin it, NONE.

      Sociologists are a profession.

      Did you really not know that?

      Last, regarding the link you posted that demeaned police

      The link literally just captured police in their own words.

      If that’s demeaning, then it’s the officers in question who demeaned themselves, not anyone else.

      I could have easily found links about the current problems exposing Clergy or teacher’s sexual misconduct with students. But what would be the point other than dig at one profession, the problem is systemic with any occupation of trust.

      If you had posted a video of clergy or teachers abusing their authority in the same way as the police in the video that triggered you, I’d be condemning the clergy members or teachers in the video, not you for posting it. That’s the difference between the two of us.

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