Ladies and Gentlemen of the City Council:
First, I need to be clear that the district does not report instances of assault or other forms of student violence to the Association. We are only made aware of such acts when members call us with such information.
This year, in each instance that has been brought to my attention, we reached out to the superintendent to determine if the district response was appropriate. In each case, the superintendent outlined the actions the administration took to address our member’s concerns.
In some cases, the district’s actions have resulted in emergency suspensions or transfers to alternative placements. I am aware of one incident which resulted in arrest.
In each instance, we have followed up with our members to determine if what we were told lines up with what actually happened. In each instance that we were aware of, the district’s account of the incident matches the member’s account.
Again, I want to be clear that not every incident is reported to me so my comments are based on what is brought to my attention via my members.
Finally, I would like to say that 99 percent of our students are absolutely wonderful children who come to school eager to learn. However, there are a few students at each school level who disrupt our classrooms. Some of these students make it nearly impossible for our teachers to teach.
From first-hand experience, I can tell you that one or two chronically disruptive students in a class can disrupt the learning of every student in that class. In my opinion, this type of behavior deprives the students who want to learn of the education they deserve.
Our district needs additional alternative schools at every level – Elementary, Middle and High School. We need to address negative behaviors immediately. This is not to punish students. In my opinion, children with severe behavioral and social and emotional needs must have those needs addressed. They need individualized services, including counseling and other interventions in small classroom settings.
At the same time, children with chronic behavioral issues should not be allowed to disrupt our classrooms. It’s simply not safe for or fair to the other kids in the class.
I hope you, the City Council, will join me in advocating for alternative schools so that we can address the needs of all of our children.