Sep 10, 2004

Some applaud, others cringe as schools get tough on unruly pupils : "The charges were ultimately dismissed, but 'to push a child of that age into the criminal justice system seemed ludicrous,' Levick said. 'Nobody wants their kids to go to a school with dangerous students ... But we don't seem to have figured out yet how to do the sorting of which kids are dangerous, and which aren't.'"

Then work on that, not just on booting them out the door.

It's far too easy for the schools to turn their backs on kids who don't fit the "stay in your seat, fold your hands, stare straight ahead" form of education. Most parents are unaware of their child's right to an individualized educational placement - which means if the school doesn't have a class that fits your child's needs, they have to find it or create it. Few parents realize the options they have. It isn't just Door Number 1 or Door Number 2. It's that if your child needs it, they better be giving you Door Numer 3.

I'm so tired of school programs that focus on building the physical so they can create a sports hero while neglecting the mental that could find a cure for cancer, or AIDS, or world hunger, or corrupt government - something that extends beyond the rah-rah glory of the field and then we could care less what happens to you, you're not our golden boy any more.

Kids are "unruly" for a reason. There may be no supervision at home, too little to eat, no affection or attention. Ridicule in the hallways, or from teachers themselves. Don't just push these kids out to a virtual wasteland. Work on fixing the problem, not building a better band-aid.

Expel them and they won't be disrupting your class any more.

They'll be in the parking lot stealing your car.

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