What’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you hear “San Francisco”?
Schools have been adopting liberal/progressive school discipline policies for years now, doing away with punishments like out-of-school suspension and replacing them with “less severe” alternatives like “restorative justice” — where misbehaving students get to “talk about” what ails them.
The idea is to keep disruptive kids in school so that they can learn, but it completely misses the point in that such kids don’t care about learning, and worse — they ruin it for the kids who want to learn.
And you know what they say about good intentions …
It seems even progressives have an upper tolerance limit. Teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District are fed up with restorative justice-style approaches as they claim “[s]tudents have been choked, they’ve been slapped, they have been given death threats almost daily.”
But the district, and the teachers union, remain committed to the current discipline policy.
“The policy is something we believe in, that kids should be in the school,” Lita Blanc, spokeswoman for Educators of San Francisco.
Ah, they believe.
The persistent problems with one first grade student at the school convinced teacher Erika Keil to complain to the principal, who opted not to renew the probationary teacher’s contract for next school year. The move sparked outrage from dozens of parents and teachers who descended on the school Tuesday to protest the principal’s decision.
The protesters toted picket signs reading “Advocating for student safety will cost you your job” and “Kick me, I’m a SFUSD teacher,” among others.
“To me, she did a fantastic job dealing with a difficult situation,” Keil’s colleague, Kathy Harriman, told ABC 7.
SFUSD board president Matt Haney told ABC 7 the school board could reverse the principal’s decision to dismiss Keil, but admitted that was unlikely.
Monroe students, parents and teachers, plan to continue to protest until Keil is reinstated.
The violent first-grader, meanwhile, remains in the classroom to torment his classmates, parents told the news site.
“That student has remained in the classroom without proper support,” [parent Louella] Hill said.
— Lyanne Melendez (@LyanneMelendez) May 24, 2016
Across the country in another progressive enclave, New York City, a group of fed up parents have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city’s Department of Education because of school violence: “They allege that violence deprives black and Hispanic public-school students of their right to a sound, basic education — and that DOE refuses to confront the problem.”
Talk about your Catch-22. Given that the federal Department of Education’s own policies have played a very significant role in tying schools’ hands when it comes to discipline — based on the premise that penalties affect a disproportionate percentage of racial minorities — it should be very interesting to see how this turns out.
But until then, parents will continue to vote with their feet. They’ll lobby their legislators to allow (more) charter schools, they’ll hoof it to private and parochial schools, and they will homeschool their children.