You are the Weakest Link

Recently our administrator gave a talk about consistency among the staff in terms of trouble-shooting with students to maintain rules and avoid trouble.  For instance all students now have to carry a washroom pass when they go to the washroom, instead of leaving one on their desks so the teacher knows who is out.  Same with hallways.  That makes sense.  We’re also supposed to be questioning every student in the halls who has no pass, stop those who are skipping or running, kick out kids who seem to be loitering, and the list goes on.  Keep in mind we are a small elementary Catholic school, but I do agree that rules are rules and keeping consistency is a wise move.

The same is true of our anti-bullying program in the schools.  There has been a specific program the school board recommended that we use and we have an internet link to it.  It is to be incorporated into classroom teacher’s lessons, most likely in Family Life or in Religion.  Of course, anti-bullying is a message that is meant to permeate the entire program. Every teacher and student is advised to partake in this behaviour, to strengthen the chain and assure a safe, successful school.

Here comes the weak link in the chain:

A child commi3078818748_108e522cd1_zts a serious infraction: absolutely foul language of a nature you wouldn’t think could come out of the mouth of an 8-year-old.  The words are so nasty that the 4 children to whom they were uttered were weeping when they reported the offence to me – including a boy.  Needless to say, I was irate.  Managing to keep my temper in check, I brought this child to the admin’s office.  It was a day when the school was scheduled to have a dance and I proclaimed to him as we walked down the hall, “you’re not going to the dance.” He started to cry.  Give me a break.  At the principal’s office, he simply said happily, “just leave him with me.  I’ll take care of it.”   I didn’t like the sound of it but what choice did I have except to leave?

Now you know this errant child isn’t going to admit what he did.  He lied..as he usually does.  The principal must have accepted whatever the child said because 10 minutes later, the classroom teacher found him inside the gym, at the dance.  She marched him right out again and insisted that the admin, on both our behalf, keep the child out of the dance.  He threw up his hands and said, “okay, okay,” as if to placate US.  Not to protect the student body, but to keep the angry teachers happy.  What?

Where was the conBoy-Wishingsistency in this case?  There wasn’t any.  This child has ongoing issues and the school practices progressive discipline (which is supposedly proactive, rather than reactive, but since there isn’t any PD in place, this clearly isn’t happening).  For all of his talk about consistency and maintaining a like-minded school, he fell down on himself.  And the students. And the teachers.  He doesn’t see it that way of course.  He just doesn’t want any problems from the parents, the board, the superintendent, and God above.

There’s a lot of talk in our school boards about preventative measures regarding student behaviour, but where is it actually happening?  I don’t see it in place.  If it is, it certainly isn’t working.  We have an audit to fill out and send to the administrator this week about what we would like to see happening in terms of school discipline and behaviours.  I can’t wait to throw in a line or two about administrative behaviours.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, isn’t that what they say?

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