Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do APS students get manhandled?

There is in the news, a story about a student being manhandled by a police officer.

It would be a shame if the outrage felt when watching the video of the arrest, ends the interest in a case in point and more importantly; the circumstances that routinely create levels of frustration that manifest themselves in "out of control behavior".

Whether it is by self control or other control,
behavior is either under control or out of control.

One person's out of control does not justify out of control behavior in another person.  Just because the student was out of control, the police officer's out of control remains unjustified.  Understandable maybe, but unjustified.

A student's out of control behavior is causal.
A student's out of control behavior determines, at least in part, the outcome of the inevitable confrontation with whomever is trying to exercise the authority they have been given to maintain order in their classrooms and schools.

The police officer's out of control is not the issue.
The issue is the circumstances that led to the confrontation.
The student's behavior was out of the control of those (adults) with the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.  The situation spun out of control because the people in authority hadn't the power to influence or direct the students behavior or the course of events.
The circumstances are; teachers have "authority" over students,
but not the power to enforce that authority.

Having authority and being in charge are not the same.
Teachers have the authority to ban cell phone use during class; they haven't the power to make students obey the rule.  Students are out of control.

Not all of them and not all of the time, but most of them
some of the time and, some of them most of the time.

In every school, in every class room, there are students who deliberately break rules. For whatever reasons within or beyond their own control, there are out of control students in classrooms and schools and breaking rules.

Inevitably then, there will come a confrontation;
the teacher tells an out of control student to put their phone away and
the out of control student's response means "no".

1.   "Put your phone away." the teacher says.

2.  "No." the student responds.
At moment, class is disrupted.

Other students will stop doing what they're supposed to be doing and start attending to their friend's confrontation with the fun spoiler.  A few will climb on desks or tables to get a better cell phone camera shot to post on Facebook or maybe, national news. Up to that point only the teacher's and student's time was being wasted; now the entire class has stopped doing what they were supposed to be doing and are instead, attending to the confrontation.  Learning has ground to a halt.

Whatever else, it is a shame that teachers and police officers find themselves in circumstances where, despite their legitimate and manifest authority, they have no power to influence behavior (apparently) except by roughly dragging or pushing out of control students.

Out of control students are not a teacher's responsibility.
They are an administrative responsibility.

Teachers should be busy teaching and not with dealing with (chronically) disruptive students.

Sure, children disrupt spontaneously on occasion as a manifestation of their human nature.  Those disruptions should be handled by the adult in the room.  But when the response means no; when the disobedience is deliberate, when the authority has been rejected, the responsibility moves out of the classroom and into the principal's office.  There to receive appropriate interventions including, at least in my opinion, punishment.

Such is not the situation in the APS.  The administrative and executive response to chronically disobedient students is to put them right back in the classroom*.

*This is a story the Journal could investigate and report upon.  They won't of course, because the handling of chronically disruptive students is an example of administrative and executive incompetence, and the Journal, as matter of course, stays away from senior administrative and executive incompetence and corruption investigations

How does APS deal with chronically disruptive students?

You have to pay some attention to the fact that nobody, and I mean nobody, is even suggesting that student discipline and behavior is APS classrooms and schools is improving.  They will continue to let the assumption remain that things are under control and to the extent things are out of control, it is the failure of the adults in the classroom. The onus to create and maintain discipline is upon teachers from whom, they have stripped the power necessary to enforce what little authority they have.

It makes a difference, from an educational standpoint,
who is "in charge" in the classroom.  The person "in charge" in any situation, is not the person who establishes the expectation; it is the person who decides to not meet that expectation.

To the extent that students are in charge in classrooms and schools, the educational effectiveness and efficiency of those classrooms and school ill be diminished.

Test results correlate (logically) with the out of control in students individually and collectively, (however it is you want to collect them).

There are students whose record is of chronic disruption of classes by and because of their out of control behavior.  The record is of the failure of the leadership of the APS to prevent even chronic disruptions.

It follows then that there will be confrontations between teachers and students and that some of those confrontations will escalate to the point where the weaker of the two gets manhandled.

So do APS students (and adults) get manhandled?

My money is on yes; there are students in the APS who get manhandled by adults.  And there will continue to be for as long as adults have authority over students, but not power and control.

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