Posts Tagged ‘California’

PE Teacher Caught on Camera (Video)

November 22, 2014

Whilst some teachers are getting fed up with the growing trend of being secretly filmed in class, such a practice has uncovered incidents of abject cruelty and criminality.

Take this horrible story for example:


A high school gym teacher in California is facing charges after being caught on camera dragging a 14-year-old girl into a swimming pool.

Students took out their cell phones and filmed as Stockton, California, physical education teacher Danny Paterson grabbed the teen girl by the arm and dragged her from the ground into the pool. The girl had reportedly refused to go into the pool because she had plans that night and didn’t want to mess up her hair, but Paterson didn’t seem to care and decided to force her to swim.

In the shocking 95-second clip, the girl can be seen flailing and kicking her legs in the air as the teacher grabs her and begins to drag her into the pool. As she screams to try and get him to stop, she can, at one point, be heard yelling to the educator that her bathing suit top was coming off.


Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

The Classroom isn’t the Best Place to Rectreate Famous Movie Moments

June 2, 2012

Finding a humourous way to let an unruly student know that they have overstepped the mark can be quite effective. It lets them know that you are disappointed in them without a loss of anger or creating a big scene.

However, when attempting to use humour in this way, please follow the following rules:

1. Never humiliate the student;

2. Never humiliate the student; and

3. Never, ever, humiliate the student!

Public humiliation is a huge demotivator, and it really hurts the same child you are supposed to be nurturing.

When a teacher decided to communicate displeasure in a student by reprising a scene from the hit movie Bridesmaids, the teacher didn’t just manage to break all three rules, but also managed to add violence into the mix:

THE family of a California high school student has failed to see the funny side of a teacher imitating a scene from the hit comedy “Bridesmaids” and allegedly trying to slap some sense into the girl.

Dionne Evans, a ninth grade student at Malibu High School, alleges that when she forgot to bring her homework to class on May 22 she was called to the front of the room and the unnamed teacher asked, “Did you see Bridesmaids?”

The teacher then allegedly slapped the girl’s face up to six times, TMZ reported.

It is believed the teacher was referring to a scene in the 2011 movie where one woman literally tries to slap some sense into another.

Evans’ family have filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s Special Victims Unit confirmed to the Santa Monica Daily Press that they are investigating the incident.

The teacher has since written an apology to Evans but her family have hired an attorney and are reportedly considering a civil lawsuit against the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

“My client has not been back to the class, she’s been doing her school work in the library,” attorney Donald Karpel told the Daily Press.

“She has been humiliated and devastated. She will be seeking counseling. It has been horrible.”

Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, centered on a series of misfortunes suffered by Wiig’s character after she is asked to serve as maid of honor for her best friend.

Some suggestions for other movies best left out of the classroom:

1. Fight Club

2. Bad Teacher

3. Kill Bill


The Teacher Bashing Era Must End

February 26, 2012

Teachers have never been more criticised and devalued than they are right now. Whilst you can’t blame all negative incidents on a political and media campaign against teaching standards, I’m sure children pick up on the discontent in the wider community.

To read that three children in the 5th Grade twice attempted to poison their teacher, makes me wonder how children as young as that can rationalise in their own minds that killing their teacher would be a worthwhile solution to their problems:

Three California fifth-graders who confessed to using rat poison in attempts to harm their teacher are being moved to other schools.

The three students at Balderas Elementary School in Fresno admitted lacing the teacher’s coffee and a cupcake with rat poison in two separate incidents, according to the Fresno Teachers Association and published reports.

Miraculously, the teacher never took a sip of the coffee or a bite of the cupcake.

One of the three accused students apparently had a change of heart and knocked the coffee cup out of the teacher’s hand before she could drink from it.

The mid-December incidents came to light two months after they happened because a parent of one of the students bragged that her boy saved a teacher’s life.

No criminal charges have been filed against the two boys and one girl, according to ABC’s Fresno affiliate KFSN. The Fresno Police Department is continuing to investigate, but says there is little or no physical evidence remaining from the December incidents. The Fresno County district attorney’s office will decide whether to press charges against the children.

All three students have been expelled and moved to other schools, according to KFSN. The two boys are being transfered to the Phoenix Academy, which does not sit well with at least one of its teachers.

This story is quite sickening. I wonder if those students involved were in any way incited by a general lack of community respect for the teaching fraternity.

California Superintendant Declines Salary

August 30, 2011

Fresno School Superintendent Larry Powell is a reminder of what education should be about – selflessness and dedication.

I recall a survey conducted back in the US in 1998/99 that found that teachers spent an average of $448 of their own money on instructional materials and school supplies:

The survey conducted last summer by the National School Supply and Equipment Association — a trade group representing the school supply industry — found that teachers pay for 77 percent of the school supplies needed in their classrooms. The rest comes from the school, parent-teacher groups and other school funds.

Teacher expenditure would be even higher nowadays.  But when it comes to selflessness nothing can top the outstanding act of generosity and conviction by Larry Powell:

Fresno School Superintendent Larry Powell has agreed to give up $800,000 in salary that he would have earned over three years. Until his term expires in 2015, Powell will run 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students, all for less than what a starting California teacher earns.

“How much do we need to keep accumulating?” asks Powell, 63. “There’s no reason for me to keep stockpiling money.”

Powell’s generosity is more than just a gesture in a region with some of the nation’s highest rates of unemployment. As he prepares for retirement, he wants to ensure that his pet projects survive California budget cuts. And the man who started his career as a high school civics teacher, who has made anti-bullying his mission, hopes that his act of generosity will help restore faith in the government he once taught students to respect.

“A part of me has chafed at what they did in Bell,” Powell said, recalling the corrupt Southern California city officials who secretly boosted their salaries by hundreds of thousands of dollars. “It’s hard to believe that someone in the public trust would do that to the public. My wife and I asked ourselves, ‘What can we do that might restore confidence in government?’ “

Powell’s answer? Ask his board to allow him to return $288,241 in salary and benefits for the next 3 1/2 years of his term. He technically retired, then agreed to be hired back to work for $31,000 a year — $10,000 less than a first-year teacher — and with no benefits.

The media is riddled with terrible stories of teachers abusing their position and acting without integrity, it is so good to see a more positive story doing the rounds.

Thank you Mr. Powell for putting your convictions before your purse and your students before anything else.

Why Teachers Want Out of the Profession

April 6, 2011

It’s such a tragedy to read that nearly two-thirds of teachers want to quit. I love the profession, and recommend it to anyone that has an interest in teaching, but it is clear that no matter how wonderful this vocation is, the support and welfare of teachers is, more often than not, missing from the equation.

Unlike what some may think, teachers aren’t leaving because of the money (even though we clearly don’t make very much).  A recent survey spell it out:

Centre for Marketing Schools director Dr Linda Vining said the survey confirmed the “deeper issues” of concern to teachers.

They included a lack of communication between staff and principals, and feeling undervalued and not being consulted.

“Teachers are feeling steamrollered . . . they are feeling that things are happening too quickly,” Dr Vining said.

“Through my research comes a sense they feel they are not valued members of the team – they are simply there to work and for many of them that’s not fulfilling.”

The findings are a sad indication of why so many teachers are unhappy:

  • SIXTY per cent of teachers said the school’s direction was not clearly communicated.
  • FIFTY-ONE per cent did not feel part of a close-knit school community.
  • FIFTY-FOUR per cent said communication between staff and management was poor.
  • TWENTY-SEVEN per cent said the school principal was not approachable.

The tragedy of this situation is that teachers are leaving for reasons which should be easily rectifiable. They are not leaving because they don’t enjoy teaching, aren’t happy in a classroom or find that they are not up to the day-to-day demands of the profession. They are leaving because they are feeling unappreciated, ignored, not properly consulted and have difficulties with colleagues.

These issues should be able to be addressed and corrected, so that teachers can enjoy the same kinds of working conditions as I do. The fact that they aren’t is a strong condemnation on the way schools and administrators operate. They are often inflexible, unaccommodating and cold.

And this is supposed to be the warm, friendly and caring environment for our children?

Bullying a Teacher is not Free Speech!

February 4, 2011

There is appropriate behaviour and then there is inappropriate behaviour.  Bullying a teacher is inappropriate – full stop!  It doesn’t matter if it is in the classroom, the schoolyard or on Facebook – it’s not on.  Students must refrain from slurring the reputation of their teachers.  Is that so difficult to live with?

When a student calls his teacher a “douche bag” and “fat ass” on Facebook, and then gets suspended from school as result, you would think that the matter has been dealt with and all can move on.  But that wasn’t the case when a grade 10 student in California referred to his teacher as a “fat ass who should stop eating fast food, and is a douche bag” in a Facebook post – apparently in reaction to getting a large pile of homework

Such a story should never have made the headlines or been discussed in the media.

Enter the ACLU – a U.S. charity that promotes free speech (and spends most of its time being a general nuisance).  The ACLU couldn’t let the school get away with protecting its teacher from being verbally insulted online.

After learning about the incident, ACLU attorney Linda Lye wrote a letter to the school, asking it to reverse its decision to suspend the student.

She argued that the student’s post did not constitute cyberbullying because it did not “materially or substantially [disrupt] the school environment.” Also, he posted the status update from home during non-school hours.

Didn’t disrupt the school environment?  Who do you think is responsible for establishing and maintaining the school environment? Teachers, Ms. Lye – teachers!  What kind of school environment do you have where it’s considered acceptable to say nasty things about a teacher on Facebook?

And so what if the offence took place out of school.  Does this mean a student can voice their displeasure about their teacher on talkback radio or graffiti insults at the local train station without any punishment?  Let’s just hope our students don’t know any skywriters!

But there’s more:

“Schools have an obligation to provide a safe school environment,” wrote Lye. But “petty comments, insults, ordinary personality conflicts … don’t rise to the level of harassment.”

You see that’s the problem.  Those insults were not petty, they were harmful.  I am sure if Ms. Lye was the subject of similar comments on Facebook she wouldn’t find them so petty.

Of course ACLU were successful with the suspension subsequently erased from the student’s record.

Freedom of speech is not supposed to allow students to insult their teachers on Facebook.  Teachers work every day to keep their credibility and authority intact.  If we allow students to undermine their teachers without consequences, we are sending a terrible message that will have potentially severe ramifications for our education system.

How Do They Come Up With These Ideas?

January 18, 2011

The latest response to fighting truancy is a full out assault against the parents.  The reasoning is clear.  It is the parents responsibility to ensure that their children attend school.  So bad must be the problem and so unable are authorities to motivate the parents to take a more diligent and proactive role, that a range of strategies, including some very weird ideas are being floated around to punish the parents.

Take this one for example:

Sen. Erik Wells wants to give parents an ultimatum: Send your kids to school, or lose your driver’s license.

The Kanawha County Democrat said Friday he plans to introduce a bill that would revoke a parent’s driving privileges if their child has 10 or more unexcused absences.

“We have to get to a point where we send a serious message to parents,” Wells told reporters at The Associated Press’ annual Legislative Lookahead conference in South Charleston.

Then there is a fine or jail time in California:

As of the new year, California parents face prosecution, fines up to $2,000, and even jail time if they don’t make sure their kids attend school regularly. The new state law took effect on January 1 and was signed into law last September by former Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It’s a strict law, which holds three designations for kids who chronically miss school. A truant is any student who is 30 or more minutes late to class on more than three school days, a chronic truant any student who misses more than 10 percent of school days without a valid excuse. A habitual truant is a truant who continues to miss class even after school officials attempt to reach out to the student. Parents of kids who are chronically truant can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face a series of fines and punishments, starting with a $100 fine for the first conviction and ending with a year of incarceration and up to $2000 for parents of chronic truants.

The UK have taken a softer approach whilst proudly dubbing it “cutting edge”:

A School in the Peterborough area is introducing cutting-edge technology in its fight against truancy.

Casterton Business and Enterprise College, in Stamford, is attempting to tackle students skipping lessons with Truancy Call, a scheme which allows the school to contact parents of absent children by e-mail, text message or telephone as soon as a child is absent.

Once registration of the schoool’s 800 pupils has been completed, the Truancy Call system automatically calls, texts or emails parents until a response is received.

Once a response is received from the parents any further calls that day are stopped automatically. The school has an attendance rate of more than 95 per cent.

This one is my favourite:

Schools are bribing parents to make sure their children attend classes with the promise of cheap foreign holidays.

Families are being offered a discount if pupils turn up for ­lessons every day next term.

Education chiefs have joined forces with a travel company to offer the holiday discount scheme, which is aimed at slashing truancy.

Please tell me they are putting just as much time and effort into conceiving ways in which to make school a more inviting and accepting place for our children.

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