School Violence School Discipline

Some big news around here the last few days is the story of a Syracuse City School District (SCSD) substitute teacher stabbed breaking up a fight between students in local high school. People are predictably outraged saying all manner of vile things about not only the students involved but all students in the district. Even Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick has weighed in on the matter declaring the school district must drop its current approach to discipline.

The SCSD Code of Conduct has been a hot topic of late. It frustrates families, students, and staff. There is plenty of room for improvement. But people seem to have forgotten, or don’t care, how we got to this point.

Families first recognized the problem with discipline in the schools. The Assurance of Discontinuance details just how bad the problem was. High rates of suspensions of students, minority students disproportionately suspended, failure to notify families about referrals and suspensions, students with IEPs denied due process. Read the report if you want to know the gory details. Whatever anyone thinks about current discipline practices in SCSD we cannot got back to that.

When you're done reading the report do us all a favor and stop talking smack about our kids. They’re not stupid. They already know a great many people in this city and its suburbs fail to value them. Their families are also aware of the disdain. You guys can stop repeating yourselves. We got the message loud and clear.


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