Posts Tagged ‘florida’

Why Patience is a Key Quality for a Teacher

October 12, 2012


Every teacher has either been on the verge of exploding or fallen over the edge. It’s a highly stressful job where you find your patience tested every day. Without the required level of patience and self-control things can go horribly wrong.

If there is one attribute that teachers should continue to work on it’s an ability to remain calm in a crisis and not let the heat of the moment affect their judgement.

A teacher is facing the sack after being accused of assaulting two of her students by throwing a desk at them.

Kimberly Price admitted to police she ‘saw red’ during the violent confrontation with two 14-year-old girls.

One girl suffered a broken wrist after being hit by the desk after it was allegedly hurled across the classroom.

The other suffered concussion after being punched in the face and choked as Price held her down, she claims.

The 34-year-old eighth grade science teacher was arrested on Tuesday after handing herself in to police in Quincy, Florida.

School chiefs at James A Shanks Middle School have suspended Price indefinitely.

She will be recommended for termination at the next Gadsden County school board meeting, according to Shaia Beckwith-James, spokeswoman for the school district.

The alleged classroom brawl took place a week ago with an arrest affidavit revealing details of the shocking fight.

Price is alleged to have thrown a pen at a student leading to an argument with the 14 year old.

But before the pair came to blows, another student in the class claimed Price said, ‘that little dirty (expletive) ain’t gonna mess up my shirt.’After the pen was thrown students say Price ‘picked up a desk and threw the desk at the victim.’

Heroic Girl Stands Up to Bullies Only to be Labeled One Herself

June 20, 2012

One of the major stumbling blocks in the fight against bullying is the passive nature of bystanders. The last thing we want to see is children who would ordinarily stand up to bullies show a reluctance because of a lack of leadership and support from their school.

Here is a case where a girl confronted bullies who were bullying a disabled child, only to have her efforts undermined and used against her:

A Florida teen who decided to stand up against kids who were bullying a mentally disabled student on the bus is being called a bully herself.

Stormy Rich, 18, had been riding on a middle school bus because she had enough credits to start classes later in the day at Umatilla High School, the Daily Commercial reported, but she says she was shocked by how some of the middle school girls were treating a student with mental disabilities.

She thought she was doing the right thing in reporting bullying incidents she witnessed against a mentally-challenged middle school girl by a group of girls on morning bus rides to school.“I’m a very outspoken person,” Rich said. “I stick up for what I feel is right. In the school code of conduct handbook, it is clearly stated that bullying is a non-tolerable offense.”

Rich first complained to the bus driver but the bullying continued. She then complained to a high school official, who said he would contact the middle school, but nothing changed.

“I would sit on the bus every single day and see the bullying was still going on and nothing was being done,” Rich told the Daily Commercial. “It was aggravating,” she added.

The senior demanded the bullies stop, which worked for a while. She said they then began threatening her, even though she complained about this to school personnel on almost a daily basis for about two weeks. The mother and daughter even contacted police.

“Enough is enough,” Rich said in her written complaint. “Something should be done.”

What happened next stunned Stormy and her mother, Brenda. 

On May 4, they got a letter from the school saying her daughter was kicked off the middle school bus. A district school official said Rich displayed bullying behavior in her comments.

“She said what I did made me the bully, with me telling the kids that if they didn’t stop, and if the school didn’t do anything, that I would have to handle it,” Rich said. “To me, it was just going too far.”

According to Christopher Patton, communications officer for Lake County Schools, a courtesy had been extended to Rich to ride the middle school bus.

“Due to circumstances on the bus, the privileges were revoked,” he said.

Patton said he could not discuss the bullying complaints filed by Rich or her mother. He also could not say if any action was taken about those complaints.


Below is a trailer from the soon to be released film How to UnMake a Bystander, which couldn’t come at a better time.


Click on the link to read my post on 8 strategies for standing up to bullies.

The Hugging Rule: Another Example of Running Schools Like Prisons

November 4, 2011

There is a huge difference between hugging someone because they are your friend and sexual harassment.  It is not hard to distinguish one from the other.

Friends hugging innocently in the playground in no way prevents schools from punishing children for sexual harassment.

A 14-year-old Florida student who hugged his friend was suspended as a result of his middle school’s zero-tolerance no-hugging policy.

Nick Martinez said he gave a quick hug to his best friend, a female student, between classes, WKMG-TV reported.

The public display of affection was spotted by the principal of Palm Bay’s Southwest Middle School, which is 120km south-east of Orlando. While the principal told WKMG-TV he believed the hug was innocent, he brought the two students to the school’s dean, who penalised them with in-school suspensions.

According to the Southwest Middle School’s student handbook, students can receive a one-day out-of-school suspension for kissing, while students caught hugging or hand-holding are penalised with a dean’s detention or suspension.

The school’s strict policy stipulates that there is no difference between an unwanted hug, or sexual harassment, and a hug between friends, WKMG-TV reported.

What measures like this do, is transform schools which are already unnatural places for children and make them even more dreary and dictatorial.  The irony is, that while bullying continues to be a major problem, you would have though that acts of friendship would be encouraged, not outlawed.
What’s next – banning students from complimenting each other?
It’s about time we started matching school bans on children by imposing bans on schools.  I would love to ban schools from implementing rules inspired by political correctness gone wrong!

Education Reform Not Political Stunts

September 1, 2011

Florida State Senator, Gary Siplin has got his priorities right.  Instead of concentrating on education reform he turns his attention to the pressing matter of saggy pants:

In an effort to pass Florida’s new “Pull Your Pants Up”  law, State Senator Gary Siplin showed up to Orlando schools on the first day of classes to hand belts to students whose pants sagged.

“We want our kids to believe they’re going to college, and part of that is an attitude, and part of that is being dressed professionally,” Siplin said.

Some may feel that this is a worthy cause, but what it actually does is hide some important challenges facing Florida schools:

Florida’s public-school revenue per student and spending per $1000 of personal income usually rank in the bottom 25 percent of U.S. states.  Average teacher salaries rank near the middle of U.S. states.

Florida public schools have consistently ranked in the bottom 25 percent of many national surveys and average test-score rankings before allowances for race are made. 

If Mr. Siplin wants to do something real and meaningful with belts, I suggest he “Ban the Belts” by passing a law that bans corporal punishment in Florida schools.  A 2008 paper  revealed that Florida had 7,185 students hit in the name of teacher discipline.

I have been aquainted with some brilliant teachers from Florida through writing this blog.  They are decicated and committed to providing quality education.  They look beyond appearances and fight for the best outcomes for their students.  They have far more pressing priorities than baggy pants.

Perhaps Mr. Siplin should forget about lifting pants and instead concentrate on lifting his game.


Eight-Year Old’s Gift To Teacher is a Gun!

June 4, 2011

I appreciate the kindness of parents and students when they write me a short note or give me a gift at the end of the year.  It makes me feel appreciated.  However, if any parent or student is thinking about giving me a loaded gun as a gift, I would beg them to please abstain.  Such gifts I don’t need.

An elementary school teacher in Florida was shocked when she received a loaded gun as an end of the school year present, which turns out was unknowingly packed with the real gift.

A memo from the school principal at Allamanda Elementary explained that a teacher opened a gift at home she found a small handgun at the bottom of the box.

“Where’s the parents at? Where’s the parents of this child? I mean, how did he obtain this gun?” asked parent Jarrett Goddard.

School officials dispersed the news quickly.

A spokesperson for the Palm Beach County School District said in a statement that school police are investigating a report that a student at the school may have given a teacher a gift in a box that also contained a small handgun.

It also said that no one was injured and the investigation is continuing, and no further information is available at this time.

Officials said the student’s grandmother packed the present but didn’t know there was a gun inside the box.

It’s unclear how the gun got there, but it was never in the student’s hands.

What happened to the good old apple?  It’s nutritious and you can’t shoot anything with it.

Anaphylaxis: The New Form of Discrimination

April 8, 2011

As a father of a beautiful child who suffers from anaphylaxis, I couldn’t be more disappointed in the parents of Edgewater Elementary School for their repeated calls for a young girl with a peanut allergy to be removed from their school. Their reaction is alarmism at its best and warrants a strong and decisive response by the school board.  Unfortunately, the best they could do is blame Federal law for not being able to remove the child.

Some public school parents in Edgewater, Florida, want a first-grade girl with life-threatening peanut allergies removed from the classroom and home-schooled, rather than deal with special rules to protect her health, a school official said.

“That was one of the suggestions that kept coming forward from parents, to have her home-schooled. But we’re required by federal law to provide accommodations. That’s just not even an option for us,” said Nancy Wait, spokeswoman for the Volusia County School District.

Wait said the 6-year-old’s peanut allergy is so severe it is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To protect the girl, students in her class at Edgewater Elementary School are required to wash their hands before entering the classroom in the morning and after lunch, and rinse out their mouths, Wait said, and a peanut-sniffing dog checked out the school during last week’s spring break.

Wait said school leaders will meet this week with parents to address concerns and try to halt inaccurate rumors that children’s mouths were being wiped with disinfectant.

Chris Burr, a father of two older students at the school whose wife has protested at the campus, said a lot of small accommodations have added up to frustration for many parents.

“If I had a daughter who had a problem, I would not ask everyone else to change their lives to fit my life,” said Burr.

Am I missing something here?  Are we not in the year 2011?  So what if children are slightly inconvenienced my having to wash their hands and rinse their mouths?  How can the inconvenience of added personal hygiene measures compare to the possibility of an anaphylactic attack?

How dare the school for not taking a much more calm and rational approach.  Talk about pandering to parents!  Why couldn’t they just say that nut allergies are common, and with sensible but thorough measures, we can deliver great educational outcomes for all students with allergies?

My daughter has egg and sesame allergies.  Otherwise, she is a normal, sweet-natured and delightful person.  I would be horrified if there was a campaign to have her removed and homeschooled.

There is enough descrimination already in this world, let’s not add to it!

Bizarre Ideas in Education

February 24, 2011

I’ve written about this before, but I still can’t believe that this insane idea is gaining momentum.  Yes, it’s true that teachers often get frustrated by what they believe is negligent parenting of their students.  Does that give them the right to formally assess their perceived incompetence?

The idea of giving teachers the responsibility to write report cards about their students’ parents is ridiculous.  Yet, the idea is not going away:

Legislation from a Florida lawmaker has parents pondering how they’d be graded on their involvement in their child’s education: satisfactory, unsatisfactory or needs improvement?

Public school teachers in Florida would be required to grade the parents of students in kindergarten through the third grade, under a bill introduced by Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.

The bill has gotten the married mother of five national attention because there’s been so much emphasis on tying teacher salaries and advancement to student performance.

“We have student accountability, we have teacher accountability, and we have administration accountability,” quotes Stargel as saying, “This was the missing link, which was, look at the parent and making sure the parents are held accountable.”

The grading system is based on three criteria that Stargel wrote in the legislation:

• A child should be at school on time, prepared to learn after a good night’s sleep, and have eaten a meal.
• A child should have the homework done and prepared for examinations.
• There should be regular communication between the parent and teacher.

Unbelievable!  Is it not the child’s responsibility to take ownership over their own homework? Did I just read that a child should have eaten a meal?  If a teacher is aware that their student isn’t being fed, the teacher has a responsibility to notify child protection authorities, not mess around with assessment forms!

Sure there are bad parents out there, but what is a report card going to achieve anyway?  How is a report going to change the error of their ways?

“Thanks teacher.  I needed that. I had no idea I was a bad parent.  I feel so much better now!”

I suppose, teachers needn’t worry.  A policy as silly as this will never be seriously contemplated.  Well, at least I hope not ….

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