2012-2013 Commentary — 15 May 2013

 by Elijah Williams

Students have been complaining about teachers, but not like the usual, “OMG, Mr. Bleh is so annoying!” Far more serious Students are saying that teachers are using profanity towards them and are sending them out of class without warnings or referrals.

In some cases, teachers are putting their hands on students. This is not acceptable, so I investigated with surveys and interviews.

 Of the seventy students surveyed, 51% said that a teacher has used profanity towards them or made inappropriate comments towards them at school. 21 % of students said a school staff member had put their hands on them without permission, not including staff that have the right to search a student.

Finally, 48.5% of students surveyed said that they had been kicked out of class without a referral and without the teacher taking the correct steps or following the correct rules to send them out.

As it happened, the day after I concluded the survey, I had a substitute in my first period class.

The substitute appeared to be a level-headed man, but when I told him the procedure for the distribution of passes he yelled at me and told me, “This is my classroom for the next fifty minutes, so sit down and shut up. As a matter of fact, get out of my class!”

He sent me out the door without: a pass, note, or a referral. During the ten minutes I sat outside, eleven other students from the class were sent out, all without passes, notes, or referrals. This led me to ask one of our administrators what she thinks about the results of my survey.

 Assistant principal Shoshana Towers-Cabrera said, “I feel that no kid should be excluded [from] the class without a referral.” She also said, “I am aware of instances of teachers using profanity towards students, but a lot of times students provoke teachers in ways that the teacher snaps.”

In a way she is correct; sometimes students can provoke teachers. However, I feel that if your job is to work with teenagers day in and day out, then you should have more patience than the average adult.

It is up to everyone to know the rules, so that the students stop being subjected to mistreatment and are aware of what certain procedures are in order to be fairly treated. OUSD staff and teachers in general need to accept the fact that just because they have authority and are adults, that does not mean that they are always right.

If students get in trouble for breaking the rules, so should faculty. When a student gets in trouble, they get a referral and then suspension. I call for parallel consequences.

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