Albuquerque Public Schools has no written discipline philosophy.
Hard to believe? A request for any public records of a "discipline philosophy" produced no records. A mention is made of the "APS Student Behavior Handbook", link.
Why have a discipline philosophy? What difference would it make.
A cogent philosophy provides a foundation for discipline policies. Without fundamental philosophical underpinnings, the only reason for a student to obey any is "because I said so".
Anyone who has used that particular line on a child, knows how particularly ineffective that approach really is.
As basic a philosophical position as;
whether to "punish" deliberate misconduct.is not addressed anywhere in the Handbook; certainly not in words any student could understand. The Student Behavior Handbook is written in language readable to those who read at the 14th grade level.
The entire document is rendered moot by a "weasel clause".
So named by the adults who actually deal with students face to face and sometimes therefore, require the administration to punish (for example) a chronically and deliberately disruptive student.
The weasel clause is found on the second page of the Handbooks and reads;
Nothing in the following is intended to prevent a staff member, teacher, principal or other administrator from using his/her best judgement with respect to a particular situation.Let's begin by disabusing ourselves of the notion that the weasel clause actually applies to "staff members and teachers". Any teacher who thinks they can use their best judgement in lieu of following school board policy will find out quickly, otherwise.
The clause is there to allow administrators to tint disciplinary decisions with political and personal interests. Principals who punish students for deliberate misconduct are unpopular with those students, their parents, and with senior administrators who have to deal with those unhappy parents. I admit, I paint with a broad brush.
An awful lot of principals want offices in the recently and very expensively renovated twin towers.
|"The twins"; APS' edifice to corruption and incompetence.|
A candid, forthright and honest accounting is still unavailable.
In any case, an administrative decision to not punish even criminally misbehaving students, is justified by their defense; they used "their best judgement".
Their best judgement is not subject to review.
It does not require a defense. It is what it is and it allows
administrators to do whatever they want without accountability
to the Handbook or to the staff member or teacher who needed them to do something else.
Any complaint by a staff member or teacher about an administrator's best judgement, falls into processes riddled with appearances of conflicts of interests and impropriety.
Complainants can at some point "sue" for relief. That's what I did.
"Legal" defenses for incompetent and or corrupt board members and senior administrators cost the "operational" fund millions of dollars. They cost so much, the record of how much they cost is still unavailable.
Because the "leadership" of the APS is willing to spend untold operational dollars on legal weaselry; against the public interests, and without limit and without oversight, due process for even the most legitimate complaint, is damned hard to find.
APS has no discipline philosophy because they don't want to be pinned down. Instead of building a wall of policies on a sound foundation, they have laid their blocks on sand. They can shift the policies one way or another as politically necessary. Always of course, using their best judgement.
The first rule in any set of rules, whether it is written or not,
is; you have to obey the rules.
The first rule no longer applies when one accumulates enough power, or in the case of the leadership of the APS, have acquired control over enough of someone else's power and resource to buy their exception.
They are manifestly willing to squander our trust and treasure in order to escape honest accountability to any meaningful standards of conduct or competence.
They get away with it, because the establishment's media allows them to. I would say "complicit or complacent" but who is kidding whom; complacent my ass, the press is not complacent about an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the state's largest school district. They are complicit it covering up or they would be fighting like hell to expose it.
Unless of course, in order to expose it with any credibility, they first have to explain some credibly, why they have not reported credibly heretofore on a cover up they've known about since 2007.
The board, their supt and his senior administrative staff could not get away their manifest lack of accountability even to the law, were it not for Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz and his ilk; Paula Maes and the NM Broadcasters Assoc local affiliates; KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV.
photo Mark Bralley