Increase in suspensions a concern for Champaign schools; neighboring districts can relate

Increase in suspensions a concern for Champaign schools; neighboring districts can relate

It's something a school administrator would rather keep out of the spotlight.

— 1,549 school suspensions given in the last academic year, the highest number in the last five years.

— 853 suspensions given to K-5 students — a jump of 368 from the previous year.

— And 4,133 discipline referrals for that same age group — more than twice the number of the year before.

"For me personally — and I got a suspension report every week but didn't collectively keep track of them — it was shocking to see the numbers," Jamar Brown said of the Champaign schools' discipline data for the 2013-14 year, presented to him and other school board members recently.

"Currently, where the suspensions are at is not acceptable to me," added board member Kerris Lee, who was disturbed that "the numbers were so high, especially in our elementaries."

Though disciplinary measures are necessary in some situations, Lee said he favors finding "more creative ways to better support those children in a structured and nurturing atmosphere.

"I think we as a district and community are coming together to put some of those ideas in motion," he continued. "And we as a board always need to be looking at whether we're allocating our resources properly to support all of our children and their families, our teachers and administrators and our schools."

What did Champaign students do to get suspended?

The top offenses were physical confrontations with other students (753, or 60 percent of all suspensions), disruptive behavior (156), physical confrontations with staff members (101), verbal abuse to staff members (87), disobedience (85) and threats to staff members (48).

Or to put it another way, school staff were victims or potential victims of 236 incidents that resulted in suspensions.

Other offenses were drug-related (51); involved sexual harassment or hazing (45); weapons (36) and theft (31).

If you talk to administrators, as The News-Gazette did last week, they'll tell you that most of the 813 students on the receiving end responded well to interventions including the ACTIONS program, which will be expanding in its second year.

But 167 students — who racked up three or more, which accounted for 46 percent of the total suspensions and led to the spike — did not. That's up from 89 who received three or more the previous year.

"We have a small group of students and families that need more support," said Susan Zola, assistant superintendent for achievement, curriculum and instruction.

Those children come from low-income, single-family households and depressed neighborhoods hit by violence such as the recent fatal shootings of 26-year-old Allen Redding and 22-year-old Rakim J. Vineyard, both former Champaign schools students who were killed within four weeks of each other.

Many experience hunger and health issues. Some have faced abuse or are homeless.

They bring that emotional and psychological trauma with them to school, Zola said.

"All of our students ... want to find success both academically and emotionally, and their families send them to school with those same hopes and dreams," she said. "But the reality is for a small percentage ... the experiences they have outside of school, whether it's related to violence or issues of poverty, can really impact their success in both the academic and social arenas. It's going to take more than just the school. It will take community partners to help."

Champaign isn't alone. Though Danville, Urbana and Rantoul City schools had fewer suspensions last year, officials in those districts saw some increases and/or continued to see high numbers.

Urbana handed down 449 suspensions in 2013-14 — down 67 from the previous year.

Although elementary suspensions saw a slight decrease, Prairie went from 9 to 19, and Wiley went from 15 to 27.

"Prairie had a significant increase in their enrollment (last year), which accounts for the increase," said Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Ivory-Tatum. "Wiley had a grade level that was quite large in class size, which even with additional staffing, there were still some behavioral challenges there."

Rantoul City Schools — which is a K-8 district with 1,600 students but has high poverty and mobility rates like the larger ones — had 368 suspensions in 2013-14, compared to 402 the previous year.

While elementary suspensions went down slightly last year, Superintendent Michelle Ramage said one intermediate school's went up from 66 to 88.

"I definitely don't like the numbers I saw at Broadmeadow," Ramage said, referring to the school for grades 3-5.

She attributed the bump to an administrative change mid-year and not having a parent liaison in the building the entire year. Now called intervention aides, they teach students how to respond appropriately to situations and support them and their families in a variety of other ways both in and outside of the classroom.

"We feel this position ... is so vitally important that the board created two additional positions ... so they only have one school to cover instead of two," Ramage said.

Danville continued to have the highest overall number, despite having around 3,700 fewer students than Champaign. It handed out 2,217 suspensions, to roughly 15.6 percent of the student body.

Superintendent Mark Denman said Edison Elementary's suspensions went from 38 to 75 and South View Middle School's also increased.

"We've been working on it, and we continue to work on it," said Denman. "As far as we're concerned, one suspension is too many."

Champaign's significant jump at the elementary level sets it apart from the other three districts.

— The highest jump in suspensions took place at Garden Hills, which went from 35 two years ago to 237 last year.

— Suspensions more than doubled at Barkstall (27 to 67), Stratton (45 to 104) and Westview (10 to 27).

— And they nearly doubled at Washington School (42 to 82).

Orlando Thomas, director of achievement and student services, cited several reasons behind the districtwide increase including administrative changes at buildings — among them Garden Hills, Stratton and Bottenfield — and changes in the legal definitions for weapons.

"Now, it could be a pencil, scissors, a water bottle," Thomas said. "The legal definition is any object or item that's being used contrary to its intended purpose."

He also pointed to increased mental health issues among students, more poverty-level students coming to the district and the absence of males in single-family homes.

On top of that, the district lost two full-time staff members provided through the Illinois-Midwest Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports Network due to funding cuts and changes within the network, Thomas said. Those employees provided on-site support to staff as they administered the program, designed to improve school climate and help students make good decisions.

Thomas noted an uptick in discipline referrals and suspensions among some of the district's youngest — kindergartners and first-graders — about two months into the last school year. Behind more of them: extremely disruptive and/or violent behavior, he said.

Early childhood teachers saw the same behavior from some 3- to 5-year-olds, teacher Stephanie Hayek reported. She said when students had violent outbursts but couldn't be removed from the classroom quickly or safely, sometimes staff was forced to evacuate other students.

(Pre-kindergarten students aren't suspended.)

The more frequent incidents of that type of behavior among 5- and 6-year-olds has been a trend in Rantoul City Schools, too.

"Some of our highest referral counts are from kindergartners," Ramage said. "Those numbers are alarming to us. That's where you're trying to give them a good start for the rest of their school career. It can't be, 'Hello. Go to the office.' "

"We're starting to see these students with concerns at a younger age than we've seen before," Zola said.

In many cases, she said, it's the youngsters' first time in a structured setting around other children and adults. So when faced with something new and confusing to them or conflict of some sort, they will react the only way they know how — which might be to have a meltdown or become aggressive.

"Some students simply don't have the skill set to make different choices other than to respond in a physical nature," Thomas added. "It takes time to reteach how you should respond in a school setting. But in the midst of that, you have a classroom teacher trying to teach 24 other students."

Other trends, which aren't new, in Champaign:

Boys were more than twice as likely to be suspended as girls — last year by a 1,091 to 458 margin.

And more black students were suspended than members of all other racial groups combined.

The district reported 1,163 were given to African Americans, 204 to white, 94 to multi-racial students, 73 to Hispanics, 12 to Asian Americans and two to Native Americans.

Brown said the racial disparity "is definitely a problem."

Brown said it's important to train all staff to be more responsive to cultural differences.

"It just gives them a better understanding of people who are not like them," he said. "What might be seen as disrespectful or out-of-line in one culture, may not be in another one. It's one of those who-creates-the-norm?"

Zola and Thomas said they believe the school district has been and continues to be proactive through a broad spectrum of interventions including the Novak Academy and READY alternative education programs, the mentoring of students, the school resource officer program and the ACTIONS (Alternative Center for Targeted Instruction and Ongoing Support) Program, launched last year.

The three-year pilot program gives suspended students academic support, works with them to identify what may have caused the behavior that led to their suspension and teaches them skills to make better choices. It also connects them with community resources they might need.

"When they go back, they have a game plan ... that highlights the strategies they have learned how to implement," Thomas said, adding the primary goal is to reduce recidivism.

Thomas said the program got off to a strong start. Last year, 55 percent of the nearly 762 K-12 students who went through the program didn't receive an additional suspension.

This year, the program, which has an administrator and two teachers, is adding another teacher and an aide.

Zola said the district also has formed a number of partnerships with social-service agencies, law enforcement, local government, food pantries, churches and organizations to provide "wrap-around" services to students and their families, based on their needs.

For example, Zola said, 230 3- to 5-year-old students are on a waiting list to receive early childhood services, which are full. The district is working with the Altrusa Club and the Champaign Public Library to provide them with reading and math materials and activities, which they can do at home "to build their early-readiness success."

Also, Community Elements currently offers some mental health services to youth, but they're not available to children under 10.

"We're going to try to replicate that with our staff delivering those services to students, regardless of their age, because we know it's a successful program," she said.

The district also continues to be involved in the Champaign Youth Assessment Center, which evaluates troubled kids, ages 10 to 17, and links them and their families to services they might need, in an effort to keep them out of the court system.

Suspensions, area schools

Suspensions  2012-13  2013-14
     
Champaign    
Elementary 485 853
Middle 289 424
High 312 272
     
Danville    
Elementary 512 443
Middle 1035 1051
High 1049 723
     
Urbana    
Elementary 102 95
Middle 266 233
High 148 121
     
Rantoul City    
Elementary 170 157
Junior High 232 211

 

Sections (2):News, Local
Topics (1):Education

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rsp wrote on July 27, 2014 at 8:07 am

Many of these children are acting out because they are afraid and they don't know what to do to feel safe. They aren't given chances to talk about their fears or how to protect themselves.

Skepticity wrote on July 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Many have grown up in homes where rewards and punishments are unrelated to good or bad behavior, and life is chaotic, dramatic, and unpredictable. 

So they learn to get what they can when they can, and respond with aggression when they don't get their way. 

Some would benefit from caring supportive interaction in a safe place, but the schools are unable to provide 1:1 services to that many children.  And at the end of the day, they go home again to the same environment.

787 wrote on July 27, 2014 at 8:07 am

Looks like it is *way* past time to be getting some irresponsible parents into the schools, meeting with them, and demanding more from them.

This is what happens when things are allowed to slide, hoping that they'll "work themselves out".   I've never been so disappointed in Unit 4 as I am right now.

More money, more money, more money, bad decisions, and more money.   And now we're learning that they're having discipline problems with the students.   That's no surprise, as the school board has discipline problems of its own.... mainly with making good decisions.

champaignteacher wrote on July 27, 2014 at 9:07 am

This problem is complicated and deserves attention. Our children are all suffering when behaviors such as those described in this article occur. It is easy to say certain parents need to be more involved, but the truth remains the community at large needs to wrap around our schools. Be a mentor, volunteer, spend time with the amazing teachers we have in Unit 4. Strong schools can build strong communities; however, no one teacher or school can meet every need alone. As long as our community remains divided by racial and socioeconomic factors, we are destined to have youngsters who suffer. Get involved, make a difference.

45solte wrote on July 27, 2014 at 10:07 am

While this is true'They bring that emotional and psychological trauma with them to school, Zola said', they also often inflict that on other students through their behavior, and to that end I don't necessarily think increased suspension rates are bad. It shows the schools are addressing issues that affect the rights of other students to a safe learning environment.  Sometimes it's the suspension that gets a student the support they need to be successful in the school environment. The earlier the better? Maybe with the increase in elementary suspensions, there will be back end decreases in later years at the middle and high school levels as kids get better support on the front end (during the early years). This does not mean to ignore developmental appropriateness of behavior and my guess is students are not generally suspended for developmentally appropriate behavior. As for cultural differences, it's a two-way street, as I see it. Yes, teachers need to learn to respond in culturally sensitive ways to students, but, students also have to learn that the there is school culture, with it's own set of rules, expectations, social norms, etc. that allows for those of all cultures to effectively function, in-common, on a daily basis. Don't look at the sheer numbers. See what's behind them.

pattsi wrote on July 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

Based on this Washington Post article, there may be reason for additional concerns about suspensions as this action appears to be reaching into pre-K/nursery school environments.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/24/my-son-has-been-suspended-five-times-hes-3/

teresai wrote on July 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

It all goes back to parents who do not discipline at home and enforce any kind of consequences for bad behavior. As a high school teacher I see this and deal with it daily.  Good luck trying to work with most parents. If you call home to parents, most do not return phone calls or try to work w/ school/ teachers.  It is more of "what are you doing to provoke my child" rather than "what can we do to work together to correct the problem". At a public school level, teachers & administrators hands are tied about discipline, and kids know their limits & push them all the time. It is a lot of paperwork to write referrals, follow up with administration, etc. Most high schools have a full time person who's job it is to literally "babysit" the kids who have been assigned to ISS (in school suspension). Many of these students are chronic offenders, and these students don't care either. Many students who are suspended from campus then cause problems in their neighborhoods for retail businesses, as schools have received phone calls from business owners about students loitering in and around businesses. A lot of these kids don't want to be in school in the first place, are just taking up space, waiting until they turn 16 so they can quit school, have no chance of graduating as they are failing classes and have failed classes in the past and are credits behind. I have dealt with this for over 20 years. Until schools make parents accept responsibility for their child(ren) it is not going to get better. I have seen some schools require parents to "share" detention time with students. (such as: after several tardies, parent has to sit in detension with child for xxx amount of time)  this idea does work. If parent are really concerned my advise is:send your kids to private and/or parochial school where the rules are different and the "riff raff" is kept out.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on July 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm
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It sounds like you do not have the passion or patience to do your job at an effective level.  Maybe you should look into a new career.

Part of the problem is that schools have a lot of apathetic teachers like you, who are full of resentment about their jobs and take it out on the students....

Skepticity wrote on July 27, 2014 at 10:07 pm

You were sure quick to judge him/her. No kindness and understanding?

He/She sounds like a frustrated educator who has tried for years to teach and is being expected to solve social problems under impossible circumstances.  The purpose of teachers in schools is to educate students, not to be repurposed to become referees bound by impossible restrictions while being held responsible for the safety of students in a setting rife with aggression and disruption. 

Perhaps you should volunteer in the schools 4 or 5 hours a day, so you can bring your wisdom to those educators on the front lines. 

 

 

serf wrote on July 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

He or she is always quick to judge.  That's kind of their schtick.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on July 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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She (I'm gonna say she, because I've never met a man named Teresa) seems to be saying screw it, these kids are hopeless and I can't and won't try to do anything about it because it's just too tough.  That's a great message to send to your students:  if a situation is too difficult and complicated, just throw up your hands and walk away instead of doing the best you can to make a difference.

Call me crazy, but I think that any educator who has that kind of jaded and self-defeating attitude about their students probably shouldn't be teaching anymore.  Maybe I interpreted her sentiments wrong, but it seems like she is saying that these troublemaking kids are all lost causes already, and that it's not even worth the effort for her or anyone else to try to reach out to them.

Yes, I would agree that parents are significantly more responsible than teachers for a youth's behavior.  And, yes, I am more than aware that teaching is a difficult, stressful, low-paying, and often thankless profession.  However, did any teacher not already know that when they chose their career path?'

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Wow, way to read between the lines. I mean, that's not even close to what she said, and you read that anyway!

Skepticity wrote on July 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

The behavior problems are the result of growing up in the culture of poverty.  The roots are based in single parent families without the financial resources to support the children they bear, often several children with uninvolved father(s).  Substance abuse and dependency on government assistance without efforts by the parent(s) to move into self-sufficiency are linked to this "live in the moment" mentality. 

Often the parent(s) grew up in this same environment, and have no expectation of achieving any sort of successful independence.  Because it is generational, this way of life is normalized.  This way of life is destructive to the parents, who do not take responsibility for their actions, and for the children born into these dysfunctional circumstances who continue the generational cycle of this way of life.  Crimes, arrests, and incarcerations are a normal part of this life. 

This way of life and consequences on children is not race based, as similar versions of the culture of poverty exists across racial lines, though there is a disproportionate representation by minorities in poverty.

To think that schools alone can undo the effects on child development of growing up in this environment during the early formative years is self delusion.  Only a total reform of expectations upon the parent(s), including a requirement to participate in programs and demonstrate change  in order to receive assistance can begin to reverse the destructive momentum of this ongoing, generational, destructive way of life.  This culture of poverty with endemic hopelessness and lack of efforts to improve one's lot is not a viable culture, and should not be valued, supported, or accepted. 

It is not an issue of being poor.  It is an issue of being poor, accepting it, and not working to improve.  It is an issue of being under the influence and neglecting children, and not caring.  It is an issue of a failure to impart community values that encourage the development of respect for others and of building self reliance. 

 

 

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on July 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Brown said the racial disparity "is definitely a problem."

Brown said it's important to train all staff to be more responsive to cultural differences.

"It just gives them a better understanding of people who are not like them," he said. "What might be seen as disrespectful or out-of-line in one culture, may not be in another one. It's one of those who-creates-the-norm?"

 

Society creates the norms.  It is NOT normal in any society, to curse, fight or disrupt a class.  This is what these students do.  People vote and move with their pocketbook.  Remember Jacobs Landing?  Champaign Address.. Mahomet schools.  Fisher, Tolono, St. Joe, Mahomet are expanding.  Why?  People folks want their children to go to a school where they do not fear their classmates attacking them... with no concequences.  These board members should spend more time in these classrooms and see what goes on, rather than blatering about racial inequity.  We fought that battle with the consent decree.  Let the teachers teach, let the administrators administer.   You are one action away from a law suit from a parent who will sue if their child is injured by another student who should have been removed from the class room.

 

But it is all about race with you.

45solte wrote on July 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

'You are one action away from a law suit from a parent who will sue if their child is injured by another student who should have been removed from the class room.'


The deliberate indifference standard. Hopefully school districts would want to take that seriously for the right reasons (genuine concern for the safety of students). Failing that, school districts should take it seriously for budget reasons and best use of tax payer money reasons.

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on July 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Brown said the racial disparity "is definitely a problem."

Brown said it's important to train all staff to be more responsive to cultural differences.

"It just gives them a better understanding of people who are not like them," he said. "What might be seen as disrespectful or out-of-line in one culture, may not be in another one. It's one of those who-creates-the-norm?"

 

Society creates the norms.  It is NOT normal in any society, to curse, fight or disrupt a class.  This is what these students do.  People vote and move with their pocketbook.  Remember Jacobs Landing?  Champaign Address.. Mahomet schools.  Fisher, Tolono, St. Joe, Mahomet are expanding.  Why?  People folks want their children to go to a school where they do not fear their classmates attacking them... with no concequences.  These board members should spend more time in these classrooms and see what goes on, rather than blatering about racial inequity.  We fought that battle with the consent decree.  Let the teachers teach, let the administrators administer.   You are one action away from a law suit from a parent who will sue if their child is injured by another student who should have been removed from the class room.

 

But it is all about race with you.

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on July 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Brown said the racial disparity "is definitely a problem."

Brown said it's important to train all staff to be more responsive to cultural differences.

"It just gives them a better understanding of people who are not like them," he said. "What might be seen as disrespectful or out-of-line in one culture, may not be in another one. It's one of those who-creates-the-norm?"

 

Society creates the norms.  It is NOT normal in any society, to curse, fight or disrupt a class.  This is what these students do.  People vote and move with their pocketbook.  Remember Jacobs Landing?  Champaign Address.. Mahomet schools.  Fisher, Tolono, St. Joe, Mahomet are expanding.  Why?  People folks want their children to go to a school where they do not fear their classmates attacking them... with no concequences.  These board members should spend more time in these classrooms and see what goes on, rather than blatering about racial inequity.  We fought that battle with the consent decree.  Let the teachers teach, let the administrators administer.   You are one action away from a law suit from a parent who will sue if their child is injured by another student who should have been removed from the class room.

 

But it is all about race with you.

rsp wrote on July 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm

These comments are some of the things these children hear about themselves and their families everyday, from their teachers, other children, sometimes even people within their own family. That they are lazy, troublemakers, they don't have fathers, on and on. What do you think that does to a child's hopes? Never mind that maybe mom works two jobs and there still isn't enough food in the house.

wayward wrote on July 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

One interesting speculation I remember reading is that low-quality daycare that lacks consistent expectations and appropriate discipline could contribute to behavior problems in young children. Could this be a factor? The WP article about possible racial bias in school suspensions is also worth thinking about.

serf wrote on July 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I'm curious that no one has brought up the 'bullying' aspect that might play a role in this.  It seems as though there has been a real public outcry to tackle the bullying 'problem' in our schools in the past few years.

Things that used to be handled a lower level (for example, shoving another kid in the hallway) are now considered criminal acts, and suspensions follow shortly thereafter.

I'm not saying this is the only reason, but it seems as though it could be one of the reasons.  

Skepticity wrote on July 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

It is true that crime statistics are subject to manipulation by definition, so it is quite possible that some of the increases in suspension numbers are attributable to changes in the behaviors that will be tolerated or receive consequences. Good point!

In grade schools if opportunities to exercise such as recess and PE have been reduced, then more disruptive behavior might be expected. 

Finally, if the parent(s) and the neighborhood of the child casually accept behavior and "acting out" by the child that the school won't accept, then the child is being set up for problems at school.  The tolerance for disrespectful language and swearing in the child's home might not prepare the child for school rules. 

If the parents have no respect for school or authority it is likely that the children will reflect that in their behavior at school. 

rsp wrote on July 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Or it could be the other way around. In the first week of school last year I was told by my 5 year old grandson that it was okay to be late to school. He learned this at school from the other kids and the people in the office. There are no consequences to being late. Zero. Some kids come every day 20-30 minutes late. They just ask what you want for lunch and give you a pass. I've spent the whole year fighting that message. The schools have given up. The children know the schools have given up on them. This is a societal problem.

Skepticity wrote on July 28, 2014 at 3:07 pm

I would like to think that you are wrong, but you may be correct that schools are becoming reluctant to discipline over issues such as tardiness.  All disciplinary referrals are subject to scrutiny and analysis.  Rather than add more detentions and suspensions to the large number of referrals being tabulated,  the school may have lowered standards to keep disciplinary numbers lower.

Additionally, schools are funded based on attendance numbers, and 20 to 30 minutes late may not affect attendance numbers in relation to funding.  

If schools are lowering behavior standards to try to limit the count of disciplinary actions, then you are probably right: the schools have given up.   

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

But if a 5 year old is late, what are you supposed to do? Obviously, it's not the 5 year old's fault.

Skepticity wrote on July 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm

If a five year old is late once or twice you ask about what happened.  You contact the parent through the school social worker to address the issue and try to help with a solution.  You send a note home with the student. 

If it is becoming chronic as suggested above, you set a school meeting with the parent, you start taking recess time away from the child to make up the time difference.  You need to do this in a matter of fact way with the child, not with some dramatic angry scene.  If tardiness persists and the parent is uncooperative, perhaps make a child welfare referral. 

You absolutely need to establish that the expectation is to arrive at school on time unless some unforeseen circumstance prevents it.  You are teaching the child (and parent) that there are expectations that need to be met. 

What you don't do is just shrug and say, "nothing we can do about it" and lower expectations so that all the kids and parents see being late on a regular basis as acceptable. 

The behavior that you accept is the behavior you expect, and if you make tardiness the norm you are doing a disservice to the students. 

You cannot hold a job as an adult if you are always late.  Education is to prepare a child for their future.   Teaching that there are expectations and consequences is an important lesson.

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 31, 2014 at 9:07 am

I understand your point, but do you REALLY think that child welfare is going to do anything? The answer is no. Also, when this kid starts missing recess, he starts acting up even more, disrupting school for everyone else.

As a former teacher, just because you try to set up a meeting with the parents doesn't mean it happens. I've seen more than enough uncooperative parents in my day.

Skepticity wrote on July 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Child Welfare would not take action based on tardiness, but might check out the home situation in a child welfare check.  If there is chronic tardiness at school it may very well be a red flag about other problems that may warrant intervention. 

I think you are correct that trying to set up a parent meeting is often a futile exercise.  However, the earlier you can get intervention the more likely you can achieve some improvement.  If you ignore it, it will only become more difficult. 

As a former teacher, do you have any suggestions, by the school or by other non-school agencies, other than ignoring the problem?  The problem of school attendance and behavior is not going away, and it plays out later in crimes committed in the community. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on July 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Behavior that does not conform to appropriate behavior is disruptive to the others' learning experience.  Those who do not meet appropriate behavioral expections should attend another school where others' learning experience is not interrupted.  This should be inclusive of all groups.     

Skepticity wrote on July 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I agree.  However, that leaves the district that does this open to criticism for discrimination against low income (and thus more minority) students.  Labeling students as "behavior problems" and segregating them from mainstream students is quite controversial.  Some educational theory supports keeping behavior problem students in with the regular classes and just make additional staff support available to the behavior disorder students.  If the problems are minor, this is probably a good idea.  It is the question of where to draw the line that may place the other students at risk. 

Statisticians are always look for disproportionate representation of minorities in those settings, and then blaming racism, rather than considering poverty and family structure as the identifying factors.

BruckJr wrote on July 28, 2014 at 3:07 pm

It is hard for me to understand why any parent would subject their children to Champaign schools.  There are many good alternatives.  Get the heck out of town and let the Jamar Browns run their little fifedoms as they see fit.

Debb wrote on July 29, 2014 at 6:07 am

I don't which was more frustrating to read...that there were 230 children waiting for early childhood services or that attempts to rectify the situation consisted of providing math and reading materials. We are talking about social-emotional skills and behavioral expectations here: telling a child to sit down and complete a worksheet isn't going to help! The parents aren't doing what they need to do; it isn't going to change so let's help the young ones. Get aides in the early grades; expand the early childhood program; put funding back to the mental health agencies so teachers can have resources from those trained in positive behavioral supports. Suspending kindergarten-aged children is unacceptable. 

 

Skepticity wrote on July 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Change has to start at the beginning with parenting, or it will become more and more difficult to achieve any significant improvement in outcomes. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 31, 2014 at 9:07 am

Agreed, but how do we as a society (or a school) make that happen?

Skepticity wrote on July 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm

As I stated way above, benefits need to be linked to participation in programs addressing parenting, including monitoring substance abuse. 

It is the parents' responsibility to provided adequate care for their children, and just handing over money without being held responsible for using it in the children's best interest is wrong.

Many aid programs are justified as being in the interest of the children, but no one assures that the aid is used that way. 

If you want financial help, you should have to meet expectations to receive it. 

By monitoring the child's circumstances there could be earlier intervention and services offered to the family. If the parents do not cooperate, they do not get aid. 

If they do not provide adequate care for the child, the child should not be in their care. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm

How do you pay for:

1) the monitoring, and

2) the children removed from care?

Neither of these is cheap, and neither the state nor local government has the resources to handle this (either in money OR manpower).

Sid Saltfork wrote on July 31, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Money is found for Lincoln Academy (boot camp) in Rantoul via state, and federal funding.  Federal / State orphanges with care, and education would be a viable answer. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 01, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Yeah, that's just not the case. There is just no funding for that. It just isn't there. Social services is a few dedicated people holding everything together with duct tape and baling wire.

Skepticity wrote on July 31, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Here is an idea!

Since everything either costs too much or is unfair to the children or to their parents, or it hurts their feelings to be told that they are doing wrong, and teachers can't change the course of multitudes of students growing up in dysfunctional households being aculturated in the culture of poverty, maybe we should just keep on this path of failure that leads to children and youths acting up, dropping out, stealing, shooting, and going to prison or being killed. 

Unless we are willing to make the commitment that change through early intervention with children and families MUST occur, and that participation in programs by parents and children is a REQUIREMENT of government support, then we will continue on this road, right over the cliff. 

trysomethingnew wrote on August 01, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I really hope your not a teacher in Unit 4. I've met teachers like you. You look down on children who cannot control their circumstances. Even if their parents do all those things, how could you possibly as a logical and reasonable person blame the children for that? They still deserve an education regardless of what their home life is like and that is why so many kids fall through the cracks because people like you dismiss them.