Take this job and . . .

Ms. Cornelius explains why she quit her after-school teaching job:  The administrator sent a “belligerent, rude, disrespectful, noncompliant, and insubordinate” student back to her with only a talking to.

During the school day, I may have to put up with this kind of disrespect and disregard from administrators, but not now. And yes, it is the administrator who demonstrated a total lack of respect for me as a colleague and a staff member. A kid’s a kid, and kids need to be directed to correct behavior. Part of “loving our kids” and “being their advocates” is teaching them proper behavior.

She’s kept her teaching job and will do without the extra income from working after hours. She hopes other teachers who can’t afford to make that choice will get more support from administrators.

About Joanne


  1. Yet another example of administrators putting pennies in the fusebox.

  2. I quit sponsoring the Student Council after 6 years for a very similar situation. I haven’t missed all the hassle and time spent after school, Homecoming Dance, Homecoming Game,and all that.

  3. One of the biggest scandals of modern public education is the failure to kick recalcitrant agitators the hell out of school.

  4. Robert Wright says:

    Here’s something that administrators in California prefer that teachers are not aware of.

    The law states that a teacher can suspend a student from class for the rest of the period and for the following day.

    The administration may not send the student back to class (though they will try until they know that you know the law.)

    In the past when a student was sent back to me, I sent him back to the office with a photocopy of the law.

    I’d get a call from the office saying, “We’re too busy to watch him and there’s no place to put him.” My response is, I’m sorry, but that’s not my problem. And that response is protected by law.

    Once both the principal and vice principal were gone and the school secretary called me, highly agitated, and said I had to take the student back because she couldn’t watch him. Once again, I sympathized, but stated I was still going to invoke my right.

    I once had a student who was terribly troubled and nobody wanted to deal with it. But they wanted me to watch her one hour a day while she disrupted my class. I refused. Within the first five minutes of class she would be disruptive. I already had a referral made out with her name on it and the sentence, “Suspend from class for the rest of the period and the following day.” I handed it to her, she was gone, and I wouldn’t have to do that again until two days later when she returned.

    I think that went on for 2 or 3 weeks before the administration decided they had to try something other than just turn a blind eye to the problem.

    One other law that’s on the books is that a child may be detained during lunch period. I had to photocopy that law and send it up a couple times to a counselor who wanted to overrule my draconian ways.

    But please remember, before you have tenure, all of your students are wonderful, you have no problems, you correct every assignment, and you love everything there is about teaching.

  5. Good advice, Robert. I’ve invoked that law many times myself. However, my understanding is that once the student returns to your class, you cannot suspend him/her again until the following day.

  6. Margo/Mom says:

    RW–As a parent, I would be willing to start quoting a few laws right back at you. A student who is “terribly troubled” is very likely to qualify for special education services. Were I that student’s parent, I would send a letter immediately requesting an evaluation. Then I would start counting up the time that the student is removed from the educational setting. At a day and a half every time the student sets foot in your class, you can get to 10 pretty quickly. At that point some meetings will be required to discuss exactly what the problem is. I would bring in someone with qualifications to put some understanding in “terribly troubled.” I would ensure that a Functional Behavioral Evaluation was carried out–in order to put a framework of understanding around the behavior and provide guidance to a plan to respond to the behavior–of with any luck, to work towards preventing it.

    Now–there isn’t anything that I mentioned that a teacher couldn’t request as well–the law gives them that right. I have never yet seen it happen that way, however–unless they are coming in to build a case that the kid needs to be transferred somewhere else.

    Personally, I don’t find the duelling lawyers to be the most productive. People get all kinds of attitudes when they are made to do something. On the other hand, there are laws that give kids the right to an education for a reason. Before there were federal laws guaranteeing that right to kids with disabilities, a lot of them just weren’t getting educated. It seems to me that one part of being a professional is knowing the laws that govern your field, on the one hand, but also acting on a commitment to responsiblly carry through on the legal and moral obligations of the field. Those obligations include obligations to students who are “terribly troubled.”

  7. Respectfully pertaining to the discourse between Margo/Mom and RW-

    What about the rights of *all* of the students to an education? Whose rights trump whose? How is that determined.

    I’m trying to figure this all out…

  8. Robert Wright says:

    BadaBing, not true. There is no such restriction. I’ve poured over the law several times, but if you find something I’ve overlooked, please pass it along.

    Margo/Mom, I’m certainly aware that I have obligations for my troubled students and I meet them.

    The public school system doesn’t meet the needs of all students, and in reality, it doesn’t even seem they try.

    I have five students right now who are on their way to being expelled. They would be doing just fine if they were placed in a special alternative class. I used to teach such a class so I know it works. But as it turns out, there’s nobody in power who happens to be in their corner and it’s a lot cheaper to expel students than to fund appropriate classes.

    It’s not in my power to give these students what they need. But it is in my power to be sure that they don’t rob other students of their education.

    When I suspend a student from class, I’m not removing the student from instruction. The administration is removing the student from an educational setting when they tell him to just sit on a bench.

    Yes, students can be referred for an evaluation. Seven months later they might be tested. That’s how the system works. The system doesn’t really care.

    I would love to have the assistance of a psychologist who would help to develop a framework of understanding. I would welcome guidance. I would try any plan. But allow the other students to miss out on their education? No.

    Suspension doesn’t do much for the student being suspended but I do it for the rest of the class.

  9. A student who is “terribly troubled” is very likely to qualify for special education services.

    M/M: He is also very likely to qualify for the FCA (Future Criminals of America). He may also be lacking a father in the home; hence, he has never been taught self-control because the mother is too weak to play both mommy and daddy. He may be a pathological liar, a budding sociopath, a gang member or any other number of possibilities that don’t necessarily demand hand-wringing on our part or to make sure he is served at the expense of the 35 other students in class.

    I gave up the belief that I could save the world a long time ago. I’ll leave the god-playing to people like our next president.

    RW: Another thing I thought of about those two-day suspensions is that the teacher must contact parents before sending a student to the office. At least that’s the way our district interprets the law, but since I trust administrators about as far as I can see them, I need to look that one up in the ed code.

  10. Robert Wright says:


    Yes, the ed code says we are required to attempt contact with the parent on the day of the suspension.

  11. Alex Bensky says:

    I’m with Robert on this one. I dropped out of law to teach for a couple of years; went back to law for reasons that did not relate to what happened in the classroom.

    You can’t save everyone and sometimes your choices involve several unpleasant alternatives, with no really good one available. I only had to do this sort of thing once, and since I wasn’t sure about staying in teaching getting tenure wasn’t an ever-present concern.

    The one time it happened I had to dig in my heels and say, “She is disruptive every single day, from the bell on. Most of the other students in the class have complained to me. I cannot teach 29 students if she’s in the class and I have to choose the 29 who want to learn from the one who either can’t or won’t.”

    Her mother accused me of being “unsympathetic” and I agreed that between her child and the rest of the class I sure was.

  12. There are two possibilities about the disruptive student:

    1) he or she has a disability that requires therapeutic intervention. Although we are right to expect a lot from teaachers in terms of flexibility, self-education, collaboration with specialists, etc., I think it’s a mistake to also expect teachers to be therapists.

    2) the student is not disabled, or the disability does not require therapeautic intervention in the classroom. If that’s the case, the behavior standards that the rest of the students are expected to meet, would also apply to the student in question.

    Either way, the disuption should not be allowed to continue in this classroom.

  13. Miller T. Smith says:

    A condition I make for all after school activities is that I have the complete right to exclude whom I wish. When denied I quit the activity or don’t even volunteer.

    We have big holes in our after school activities at my school for this reason. Admin really can’t give you that right as they haven’t the right to give it and the upper ups in the system don’t care about the children who are denied good programs to givethat right themselves.

  14. Robert,

    Where might one find a copy of that law? Thanks!

  15. There are a number of points raised, none of them new:
    –What about the right of the other students to learn?
    –You can’t save everyone
    –Referral for an evaluation takes time
    –Teachers are not psychiatrists
    –Sending a student out of the classroom is not removing them from instruction.

    It is a fallacy to stack the rights of students with disabilities against those of the non-disabled. The assumption is that responsible and legal inclusion of students with disabilities takes something away from other students, that students with disabilities (especially those in the “troubled” category) are by definition disruptive of the learning process of others. This is not true. Students with disabilities have the right to a “Free and Appropriate Public Education.” This means that their unique educational needs are to be met, in the public school. This means that if extra services are needed, they are to be provided. A student whose disability has behavioral manifestations (as was implied) is entitled to services the respond to/less the impact of those behavioral manifestations. These services may be delivered in a regular classroom, or elsewhere, based on the services needed, severity of disability and impact on other students. Teasing this out is the job of the IEP team–something that many see as “meaniningless paperwork.”

    Any school system that takes seven months to complete an evaluation is in violation of federal law–which specifies that evaluations be completed within 90 days. Not to say that this doesn’t happen (DC is famously behind). But it can be fought–wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the teachers who are going through the operating standards to see how often they can kick a kid out of class were insisting that the district comply with federal law on this issue. While they are at it, perhaps they could consider, in the next round of contract negotiations, some language to ensure sufficient psychologists on staff to contribute to behavior plans and their evaluation on a regular basis–rather than just being stretched to “qualify” kids for services (by applying a label) every three years. They might consider PD for all of those things about educating kids with disabilities that they say that they were never trained in. They might negotiate for a greater presence of special ed teachers in the regular education classroom so that they can support the regular ed teachers.

    Or you can just keep focus on maintaining the maximum suspension rate allowable under the law. I don’t think it will help anyone learn better, in the long run.

  16. Robert Wright says:


    Nobody here is assuming that accommodating disabled students in a regular classroom necessarily takes anything away from the other students. (I have a dozen special ed students mainstreamed in my classes. It means a lot more work for me to differentiate instruction, but the other students don’t lose out. I just lose sleep; that’s all.)

    But if the disability manifests itself by severe disruption and if the support services to deal with it will take months to implement, then the child needs to be placed in another setting.

    The law says that the disabled child has the right to be placed in the least restrictive learning environment. I agree. But that particular environment depends on the type of disability and it’s severity. The least restrictive learning environment for some students happens not to be in a regular classroom.

    I had a student a couple years back who was severely troubled–and it didn’t happen to be a bad case of dyslexia. His mother was a prostitute and he lived with his grandmother who was drunk every day. Here is a child who never got a birthday card, never got a Christmas present, never sat down to dinner with a family. He was abused, neglected and angry. Very angry. And he couldn’t go two minutes in class without disrupting it.

    His story is sad one. But would I have done him any favors by allowing him to disrupt class?

    No, having him remain in class would only being doing the administration a favor. And it would also support the lie — that every district will tell you — that with the resources we have, we’re capable of meeting the needs of all our students.

  17. RW:

    In fact, betsy raised the question of whose rights to an education trumped whose–implying rather clearly that this is an either/or proposition. You state that:

    “if the disability manifests itself by severe disruption and if the support services to deal with it will take months to implement, then the child needs to be placed in another setting.”

    I don’t quite make the connection between your proposed solution of every other day suspensions for a “troubled” student and implementing any kind of support services. In any case, there is a diagnosis/determination that needs to be made. Certainly a child whose mother is a prostitute and lives with a drunken grandmother is not likely to get any kind of evaluation unless it is initiated by the school system (I assume that this instance of neglect has been reported to the child welfare authorities so that they can intervene on the child’s behalf?). It’s not too big a leap to suggest that this kid is far behind academically and lacks skills for coping in non-dysfunctional situations (assuming that the the school is non-dysfunctional). Neither of these realities will be altered one iota by the sending out of the classroom every other day scenario. It won’t get the kid any help, won’t get them transferred to another setting (if that is appropriate), it won’t get them identified or bring them to the attention of child welfare. It WILL in all likelihood convince them that it’s easier to just stay in bed and give up, which, I guess, solves your problem.

  18. Regarding the original post…it kind of makes sense: Student doesn’t respect teacher’s decisions, teacher doesn’t respect principal’s decisions.

    I think it’s fair to say that there has been a general loss of respect for centralized authority figures with the growth of the highly-decentralized Internet. Not really trying to make a point, just observing.

  19. Robert Wright says:


    You write,

    “I assume that this instance of neglect has been reported to the child welfare authorities so that they can intervene on the child’s behalf?”

    You ask that question as if you believe it would do some good.

    On paper, every problem has a solution. There’s always an agency to call, a plan to implement, a procedure to follow. Checklists, acronyms, referrals.

    Yes, there are things we are supposed to do. And we do them. And they don’t work.

    Do I punish myself because this child had a rotten home life? No.

    Nor do I punish the rest of my class.

  20. Dave, even before the internet there were jobs which were hard to fill. It sounds to me as if the principal didn’t respect the teacher’s decisions. Unfortunately for the principal, the teacher was free to quit. Stupid superiors will have that effect more often than not.

    Unions also predate the internet, by the way.

  21. Roger Sweeny says:


    It’s not too big a leap to suggest that this kid is far behind academically and lacks skills for coping in non-dysfunctional situations (assuming that the the school is non-dysfunctional). Neither of these realities will be altered one iota by the sending out of the classroom every other day scenario. It won’t get the kid any help, won’t get them transferred to another setting (if that is appropriate), it won’t get them identified or bring them to the attention of child welfare. It WILL in all likelihood convince them that it’s easier to just stay in bed and give up, which, I guess, solves your problem.

    It won’t do the kid any good. But it will help all the other kids in the class. Sometimes our choices suck, and it would be great if we didn’t have to make them–but wishing won’t make it so.

  22. RW:

    You observe:

    “You ask that question as if you believe it would do some good.” Actually I ask that question as if it were a legal requirement of teachers and others who work with children–whether you believe that it “works” or not.

    Yet–your post was not about more effective ways to get the attention of child welfare, or the powers in your district with responsibility for evaluating kids and getting them services. It was about how to legally force a (“troubled”)kid out of your classroom on an every other day basis.

  23. Margo/Mom, the way this thread has developed, it’s no longer about suspending the child every other day; it’s about whether the child needs a different setting entirely. Agreed: that should not take 7 months to accomplish. But a child who disrupts within minutes of entering the classroom, each time s/he enters it, needs a different setting. Probably not permanently; with the kind of effective intervention that behavior analysts exist to create, maybe this child would be back in a regular classroom fairly soon. But I’ve been that teacher who was dealing with a child that I had not had training to help; beginning to train me in how to deal with this particular behavioral disability would have been too little, too late. Sad but true.

  24. I was feeling a little low-down a couple of weeks ago because I had three kids expelled at once. I usually lose one or two every year, but three so close and so early felt a little harsh. One had tried to set the building on fire during the school day (a teacher ended up smelling the smoke and put it out). So, I was moaning about it to a colleague who told me a story about a disturbed child she had taught. He’d written disturbing things, had a history of violence in the school, but she’d always tried to teach to his humanity, see the good in him, make sure his needs were met as far as she could. Not long after he dropped out he kidnapped two college students, beat them, raped them, and murdered them.

    I’ve got one student from last year sitting in detention on charges of aggravated armed robbery right now. We tried every intervention in the book, including THREE hours a day of therapy. I think I attended at least a half dozen staffings on him. But even I was kicking him out every day because I simply couldn’t conduct class with his sociopathic butt (no, really, actually diagnosed sociopathic) in it.

    Sometimes we can’t help everybody. Sometimes we have to keep ourselves and our students safe. And, hey, I never did write up the kid who drew effigies of me on exams and stabbed them with her pencil.

  25. Jane:

    The way the story is shaping up, it is not about taking seven months to accomplish an evaluation and change of placement. It is about never getting there. I am guessing that we are talking about high school–or middle school at the earliest. If this student is truly “disturbed,” how long has the student been disturbed? How many teachers have coped by sending him out of their room? While the adults are pointing fingers about whether it is the teachers’, or the administration’s, or the psychologist’s, or the parent’s (or the student’s) responsibility–or whether the school is at fault, or the school system, or the child welfare system, the only consistent message I am hearing is, it’s OK to assume that a kid can’t be helped and use the law to ensure that they aren’t too much of a bother.

    When it is OK to write a kid off? Does it start when they get to high school? or is middle school too late to engage in a process of looking for solutions? By third grade? By kindergarten? And what she we, the adults, do with the children who we decide cannot be helped? What do we expect the principal to do with the kid who is barred from class? What do we expect the parent to do with the kid who is barred from school? What do we expect the juvenile justice system to do with the kids that we send to them? What do we expect from the mental health and child welfare systems?

  26. Margo/Mom,

    What do we do with the eight year old who is afraid to go to school because the disturbed child threw a desk at the teacher and threatened to set the school on fire?

    The disturbed child needs help yes, but what about the other kids in the class who need an education too?

    Not the first Jane in this thread.

  27. Jane:

    Why is the “disturbed” child throwing a desk and what have we done about it?

    In fact, the Cleveland (Ohio) school district, following a shooting/suicide in one of their elite magnet schools, hired outside consultants to examine whether the things that the school district was doing were adequate to address the needs of potentially violent students before such incidents. Among their recommendations included removing a clause in the teacher contract very similar to the California practice that RW is recommending. Their finding was that it (and other non-solutions, such as moving troublesome students from school to school) primarily avoided getting any help for studcents who needed it.

    Does bouncing a kid with problems out of the classroom every time they come in make the problems better, or worse? It takes a very narrow view to think that this makes anything better–even for the kids who are left in the classroom–unless we can assume that they will be problem-free for life.

  28. I don’t know why the child threw a desk. She has a tendency of getting frustrated/angry and making threats, throwing furniture, and running out of the classroom.

    I do know my child is afraid of this other child, with good reason.

    Bouncing that child out of the classroom does make it better for the kids left in the classroom.

    If any adult acted like that in the workplace, they would be ejected. But children who behave don’t have any rights.

  29. Isn’t it funny that the politicians who wrote the laws governing public schools, in general, don’t enroll their children in public schools? Could there be a connection? (Irony intended)

  30. Jane–in fact the “children who behave” do have rights. They are found in the constitution of the US and of your state, as well as in the state operating standards for schools in your state. They do not, however, include the right to an education segregated from students with disabilities. Students with disabilities also have rights, among them the right to an appropriate education in the “least restrictive environment” considered to be appropriate. A student who has problems that somehow lead to throwing desks is not receiving an appropriate education if those problems are overlooked–whether they are overlooked in the regular classroom or somewhere else.

    There are people who misinterpret this (willfully, perhaps) to mean that a student with a disability has the right to throw desks in a classroom. There are various legal protections to prevent students with disabilities from being dumped into substandard situations–using either disability or discipline as the excuse. In the process of codifying these protections, I guarantee there were always people in the room asking the “what if they throw a desk” question. Therefore there are complex regulations that work out how one distinguishes between various courses of action that have the potential intent or result of discrimination. These include a “manifestation determination” to determine if the behavior is a result of the disability, whether the current behavior plan is adequate to deal with the behavior, and whether the current placement is the appropriate “Least Restrictive Environment” for the delivery of educational services. While there are many who will tell you that these protections leave “children who behave” or “children who really want to learn” at risk, or give students with disabilities some kind of behavioral carte blanche, the reality is that students with disabilities (pretty much across the board–inclusive of physical disability) receive more instances of discipline (suspension and expulsion) that students without disabilities, as a general rule. In most states, students with disabilities tend to be segregated from their typical peers a good bit of the day (except for gym, lunch and art class, as a rule).

    All that is hard to hear if it’s your kid in the class with the desk thrower. You could try talking to the teacher, or principal, in terms of whether the kid is receiving appropriate helps and supports–if there is an IEP, with a behavior plan. You might spend some time talking to the kid’s parents to see if their kid has these things, or if they are having trouble with the district in getting these things. Don’t be surprised if the teacher/principal cite confidentiality–but you can then shift to asking about how IDEA is being implemented in this school and how they are, in general, supporting kids with disabilities who are included in the regular classroom.

    What I can tell you, as a parent and as a social worker, is that most people (even “disturbed” ones) don’t just up and throw desks out of the blue–this is an action that derives from things like anger and frustration and lacking other effective means of response. Some adults understand this–others don’t and ignore situations that can seem to just erupt until they happen, still others do things that “push buttons.” Schools are not widely known for their cooperation with the laws that protect or educate students with disabilities. It is frequently easier to ignore the IEP and wait for something bad to happen–and then claim that the kid needs another placement.

    An important question that should always (but seldom is) be asked when recommending a more restrictive placement has to do with what services are going to be offered in that placement–and why is that placement a better environment for those services than the regular classroom. Frequently the alternative placement offers very little that is helpful–but it is further away from the mainstream, personnel frequently are less highly trained (yes, there is a high dependance on aids and teachers with temporary or out of field certification), and sometimes the things that happen there are horrendous.

  31. Will all you disability worshippers be surprised when China and India blow the USA out of the water, leaving us as irrelevant as France?

  32. JND:

    The countries that are already blowing us out of the water–Finland, Japan, among others, don’t put the kind of effort that we do into moving “special” kids out of the classroom to some other place. They define disability quite differently than we do–those who the most severe problems. But they are far more committed to meeting the needs of all students on an ongoing basis.

  33. Mrs. Lopez says:

    Margo, maybe the desk-thrower chucks furniture because she is wondering what it will take to get some adult to muster the courage to throw her out of the classroom like she deserves.

  34. Mrs. Lopez suggested:
    “maybe the desk-thrower chucks furniture because she is wondering what it will take to get some adult to muster the courage to throw her out of the classroom like she deserves.”

    Well-since this whole conversation began with an account of how to ditch someone from class every time they returned, I think that theory kind of falls apart.

  35. Maybe teachers who keep sending the same (troubled) kid out of class day after day is wondering what it will take for some adult to muster the courage to enforce the law.

  36. Robert Wright says:

    When I repeatedly suspend the same disruptive student, I don’t wonder who is going to enforce the law because no law is being violated.

    But I do wonder when the administration will stop ignoring the problem.

    We are pressured to keep disruptive students in the classroom because when we remove them, it means more work for others.

    I’m not pressured by people like Margo/Mom who passionately cares for disabled students. I could work with somebody like Margo/Mom, because she’s obviously willing to work herself.

    Advocates for troubled children are not who I battle. It’s administrators who want to believe all discipline problems can be handled in the classrooom if only the teacher would work harder at classroom control. And again, they want to believe this because it makes their job easier.

    Students who I suspend repeatedly need help–and they’re not getting it.

    If they only needed my help, they wouldn’t be suspended in the first place.

    Students deserve to be taught in the least restrictive environment, but I have several students whose least restrictive environment would be an alternative class, not one of my regular classes. Their environment isn’t restrictive enough in order for them to start achieving some success. All they experience now is negative discipline and failure. And it’s a damn shame.

    We need more alternative classes and support services and a system that cares about the disruptive student.

    But we don’t have that.

    So, until we do, I send them to the office.


    So I can teach.

  37. RW:

    “I don’t wonder who is going to enforce the law because no law is being violated.”

    Au contraire–IDEA includes provisions for “child find” which obligate school districts to evaluate students who are suspected of having disabilities. A recent class action was brought against Milwaukee Public Schools–based on the repeated suspension of students with disabilities who were never evaluated. The following summation is copied from Wrightslaw:

    “All schools have an affirmative duty to locate, identify and provide services to children who may have disabilities.

    If school district employees know or had reason to suspect that the child had a disability, or they should have known, then these employees have an affirmative duty to act on the child’s behalf. If they fail to do so, they default on their obligation to identify, locate and evaluate children with disabilities who need individualized special education programs.”

    That is federal law. The unfortunate reality is that until recently, virtually the only means of enforcement was for parents to go through due process, and ultimately to court. There are currently some monitoring efforts at the state level (states have to report such things as discipline disproportionality, racial/ethnic disproportionalities, days to evaluate, days to respond to complaints, etc). There is some evidence that kids whose parents are more well-resourced get more due process than others.

    I realize that your “troubled” kid and the kid with prostitute mom and drunken grandmother were probably two different kids. However, I am guessing that your population includes kids from poorly-resourced families. This means, your likelihood of being challenged on your personal policy of daily suspensions is somewhat less than if you were teaching kids whose parents have a lawyer on their speed dial.

    That doesn’t make it any less wrong, from either a moral or a legal standpoint.

  38. Robert Wright says:



    But when I send a child out of my room to the office, I’m referring the child for further help which is complying with the law.

    Since the district doesn’t do anything with the child except have him sit on a bench, they are out of compliance. It is not in my power to arrange for an appropriate, alternative class. It is in their power and they chose not to bother–which, yes, is immoral and illegal, but they get away with it.

  39. RW:

    It is absolutely in your power to refer a student for evaluation–which is not the same as a vague, implied, referral for “further help” that may or may not be understood by the receiving parties who get the kid at the office (assuming the kid actually goes there). A suspension and a referral for evaluation are pretty clearly different–as the folks in Milwaukee found out when they were taken to court.

    Arranging for an alternative class–if such is actually the appropriate solution–would come after the determination of disabling condition.

  40. Robert Wright says:

    I’d be interested in taking a look at the Milwaukee case if you are able to provide me with a link.

    The word suspension can be used for suspending from class and for suspending from school–two different actions.

    I suspect that the Milwaukee case had to do with suspending from school.

    We almost never suspend from school because that way we lose ADA money and the suspensions from school are a matter of public record.

    With a high number of suspensions, a school gets a bad reputation and the principal gets in hot water.

    As a result, principals show how they do a great job with discipline by showing how low their suspension numbers are. And they do that by not suspending students who should be.

    It’s like a police chief trying to improve safe driving statistics by ordering his officers to write fewer speeding tickets.

    I do all I can for my troubled students. I refer them for evaluation when needed. But I don’t let them disrupt class.

    I highly doubt that a law exists that says I need to allow constant daily disruption, but then again, it wasn’t too long ago when the “stay put” provision of the disability laws prevented the removal of a child who brought a gun to school if an affinity for firearms was one of his disabilities. It took Columbine and the Gun Free Schools Act to change that.

  41. RW:

    Here’s the link to the pertinent Wrightslaw page. http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/art/wi.jamie.mps.wdpi.htm I am not certain that the distinction between in-school and out-of-school suspension is particularly pertinent. IDEA talks about removal from educational services. A kid sitting on a bench outside the office isn’t receiving any services (although my district has been able to get around this by sending kids to a special room with a teacher–sending worksheets along constitutes “services”).

    If you poke around Wrightslaw you can probably find the 90 day letter that parents can use to request eval–with modification I believe it could be used by a teacher–if your district doesn’t already have a form of some kind (there’s always a form).

  42. Wow, that certainly was an interesting conversation generated indirectly from my situation.

    In my case, this student is not disabled but has disrupted the library every time this student goes there. The librarians asked to be able to add commentary on the referral I wrote, and what could I say (since those who work the library after school are not “regular” staff, I guess they are not entitled to be able to refer students or expect to be able to maintain discipline)?

    I am still being asked to reconsider my decision to quit. I do not make decisions capriciously, so that’s pretty much a pointless request, even though I could certainly use the money to send to my widowed mother. Other staff have reported that their referrals are being taken more seriously, so that does make this worthwhile. I hope it lasts.

    Thanks for reading my blog, Joanne. Happy Thanksgiving!