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Teacher caught on camera beating student

May 12, 2010

Last week, there was a story that broke originally on The Huffington Post citing over 220,000 kids were legally beaten in schools.   Over the weekend, CNN ran a report about a teacher in Dallas that has started an initiative to bring BACK corporal punishment to that school district because of his belief that paddling will improve discipline problems. When I wrote about that in my posting about Bringing Back the “Board of Education” I mentioned that I saw this practice as potentially very problematic, not the least of concerns being the possibility of abuse.

Now, in Houston, we have such a case, apparently.  A teacher in a Houston Charter school was apparently beating one of the 8th grade students in her charge.  And, the beating was caught on camera.

This school is cited to be a charter school specfically for kids with discipline problems, and we certainly don’t know what led up to the beating. But, regardless of why it occured, I’m not sure how you can justify it.  I’m certain there was an element of frustration on the part of the teacher — this wasn’t likely an incident that was unprovoked. Teachers are getting burned out on poor student behavior, and usually when they lash out like this, it’s because they have lost control and don’t feel they have any other recourse.

If teachers are getting to this point with their students, don’t you think it’s time we take student discipline issues more seriously? You can’t just say “hey, let’s put a better Classroom Management policy in place,” because that’s only 1/2 of the equation. What if the KIDS don’t have the skills they need that allow them to be “managed?”

That’s exactly the situation in too many classrooms. There is no order, no discipline and teachers are expected to “teach” (and have their students “learn”) in environments that are hardly conducive to getting anything done!

It baffles me: what other business or industry in this country would find a 30% “waste” rate acceptable?  What if our airlines didn’t maketheir intended destinations 30% of the time?  Or, banks didn’t have the funds they needed to cover ordinary customer withdrawals 30% of the time? What about our public utilities: how would you feel if you turned on a light switch and 30% of the time there was no light? You’d scream bloody murder and insist on improvements in the product or service, accepting nothing less than a real fix.

Yet we continue to accept this level of “non-service” in our schools, never mind the other downstream negative effects.

Teachers flailing at students, students beating their teachers, students assaulting each other…I don’t know, but seems to me this should be a wake up call. How bad does it have to get?  I’m still waiting…

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