Tuesday, April 28, 2009

APS Student Behavior Handbook

The APS Policy Committee has revisions to the APS
Student Behavior Handbook on its agenda as a discussion
action item. link

I am always afraid when I find out that the Student Behavior
Handbook is being revised.

It is in that book, where the APS Student Standards of Conduct
are written. It reads;

"... students are expected to model and promote
the Pillars of Character Counts! ..."
In other words; students are expected to actually hold
themselves honestly accountable to the standards of respect,
citizenship, caring and fairness.
But most of all, students are expected to hold themselves
honestly accountable to standards of trustworthiness;
truth telling.

I am afraid that, that language will mysteriously disappear
one day, kind of like the time it went from
students are "required", to students are "expected".

"Expectations" being so much easier for administrators and
board members to weasel out of in court, than "requirements".

Speaking of "weasel", it is in the Student Behavior Handbook
where you can find a phrase that teachers call the "weasel clause".

Teachers depend upon administrators for help in controlling
(chronically) disruptive students. It is in the Handbook where
minimum mandatory consequences are found.
A significant number of teachers do not feel like they are getting
the administrative support that they need. They believe that
the minimum mandatory consequences are not mandatory
at all. They believe that some of the most chronic trouble
makers often receive no consequences at all.

The mechanism by which administrators can skirt their
responsibilities without consequence, is provided in the
weasel clause;
"Nothing in the following is intended to prevent a staff
member, teacher, principal or other administrator from
using his/her best judgment with respect to a particular
("in the following" refers to the entire Handbook)
If you think that staff members, or teachers can except
themselves from "the following"*, and then rest upon a defense
of having used their own "best judgment", you are delusional.
The exception applies in effect, only to administrators.

"Best judgment" is "best judgment". It requires neither defense
nor explanation. It is not subject to review.

The Student Standards of Conduct are found unfortunately
in "the following" part of the student handbook.
The part that falls under the umbrella of the weasel clause.
The part that the leadership of the APS can weasel out of.

It is apparently the "best judgment" of the leadership of the
APS, that their obligations as role models do not include
actual, honest accountability to the standards that they
are promoting and modeling.

Their position requires no defense or explanation.
It is not subject to review.

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