School Violence

Several students and teachers died about a week ago at a public high school in the next county over when a former student took a gun to the school. Guns are a huge problem; right? Of course. But it’s so much more than that. I heard nothing about it in the local news, but I know someone who works in a local middle school who talked about an ambulance coming to his school Tuesday for a student who’d been beaten by several with pipes. Are pipes now a problem, too? And then, that same day, a fire was fought across the street from the school–with the assumption that a student may have started it. Fire is a problem, too?

Or maybe it’s just a problem of discipline–or the lack thereof. Schools aren’t allowed to do anything to students with some kind of ESE diagnosis. So kids know that those with issues face no consequences. Does that play a role in why those with mental health issues go crazy so often in our society? A large percentage of parents who taught their children to question all that their teachers do and to rise up in rebellion if they disagree with the teacher. Is that a way to teach respect for authorities and rules–including rules about proper behavior in society such as not killing people just because you’re upset?

Cheryl

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3 thoughts on “School Violence

  1. As a fellow Floridian I also hate to see violence in our schools, even if our choice is to homeschool. I’m sorry that you feel there is a lack of discipline in schools and especially ESE classrooms. This latter has not been my experience at all. Expulsion and suspension rates are very high for ese students compared to typical students. Also i found children in the ese classroom were much more frequently sent home if there was any issue. And often what we perceive as bad behavior ( not listening attentively, impulsivity, poor social skills such as not showing appropriate respect) are symptoms of the disability and so punishment doesnt work.
    This is not to excuse abhorrent behavior such as we saw in Parkland. Only to point out that the fact that a mental illness or disability is present does not mean that violent acts will follow.

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    1. As someone who’s worked in several schools, but not in the ESE department, I saw how ESE kids were treated outside of the ESE department., I know we were repeatedly told that kids in the ESE department were almost impossible to discipline as the documentation required to do anything to them was onerous and that parents considered EVERYTHING a manifestation of their child’s disability–or so school district legal teams seem to believe.

      A teenage boy masterbates against a door frame while making crude remarks to middle school girls in the room? Can’t touch him because he’s ESE. A child hits others as they walk down the hall? Can’t do anything because he’s ESE. A boy makes elaborate plans to bomb his school? School system tells the media that he’s expelled but then they move him to another school because he’s ESE and they can’t expel him for that. And so on. That’s the reality that I’ve seen in Florida public schools.

      Personally, I do NOT think that a mental illness or disability should be an excuse for poor behavior. I know I’m in the minority here, but I think all the excuses are part of the problem. Instead, if a student has a mental illness or disability that prevents them from acting appropriately, then something needs to be done–remove them from the situation, have more supervision, invest in training them, or something. Don’t just ignore the issue and let others see it ignored which makes the problem spiral out of control. Which is what I saw regularly and I hear others who are still in the classroom say it still goes on.

      That doesn’t mean that I think all with mental illness or disabilities will act violently. Rather, I think we are training many to think that they can do as they please without working to teach them to behave appropriately. I think schools are creating much of the violence by overlooking things that shouldn’t be overlooked.

      Cheryl

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  2. Sorry to make you dredge up old memories! I can see why you dont like treating kids with kit gloves just because they have an iep. That sounds like a choice the school made to let things slide rather than fight it out with parents in a hearing.

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