December 2005: My son David, age 15 uttered a curse word under his breath to a teacher who refused to answer his request for assistance. The teacher had developed a pattern of refusing to answer his questions, and he had reported the problem to a principal two weeks before his misconduct.
Upon overhearing this bad word, the teacher took my son to the Assistant Principal’s office whereupon he was immediately suspended for 1½ days. Thereafter, he was placed in an alternative learning center for three weeks. The principal advised that my son’s punishment was lenient and considered the fact that my son had an absolutely clean disciplinary record, is an A/B student, was sincerely remorseful that he lost his temper, and did not mean the word to be overheard. The principal advised that the normal punishment for cursing is placement in an alternative education center for nine weeks.
In appealing the discipline to the Principal and Superintendent, I asked that a policy be established that required school staff to notify parents immediately if a student reports having problems with a teacher. The Principal said they had hundreds of kids in school and were “too busy” to call parents. The Superintendent wrote, “I am not inclined to recommend a board policy or implement an administrative procedure that removes the exercise of principals’ legitimate administrative decision for managing their campuses.”
All I wanted was assurance that I would be notified immediately of any future problems so that I can get involved early before the situation deteriorates. How can a school be too busy for that?