A ‘culture of chaos’

Two weeks after a 17-year-old fractured the skull of Bartram High’s “conflict resolution specialist,” Philadelphia school officials sent a team to assess the troubled school, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Violence is “the new normal,” said a teacher.

A brawl erupted in the school cafeteria, students set off firecrackers and the 17-year-old who assaulted the staffer was seen at school for two days.

Administrators don’t remove problem students, say teachers. That’s created a “culture of chaos and disregard for authority.”

The cafeteria melee was captured by a cellphone camera and posted on social media.

. . . dozens gathered, with several students exchanging punches. A male school police officer attempts to separate the combatants as the room fills with screams.

In short order, a larger brawl erupts, mostly between female students. A female police officer attempts to break up one skirmish, then others. At one point in the video, that officer appears to fall to the floor.

“We have to go beyond police officers,” said Fernando Gallard, a district spokesman. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get these young people to care for others.”

“The administration has begun attempting to crack down on students who come late to school, and those who ditch class or use cellphones, but many students, accustomed to having wide latitude in the building, aren’t taking the adults seriously,” reports the Inquirer

I’m sure many students at Bartram High would prefer a safe, orderly school where they can learn. But nobody can learn — or teach — in a “culture of chaos.”

Students at high-poverty high schools receive “an average of half an hour less instruction per day than their higher-income peers” due to disruptions and “poverty-related challenges,” according to a new study, reports Education Week.

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  1. PhillipMarlowe says:

    And the response of Broad BookClub graduate Dr. William Hite- these problems will go away and classrooms will bloom like a hundred flowers if he could get rid of the old teachers.

    • That’s obviously not his response or you’d link to it. But you are following your usual pattern of trying to change the subject, because you’d rather the subject not come under too close scrutiny, by launching a personal attack proving that consistency’s not much of a virtue.

      The subject is the indifference of urban school district administrations to much of anything other then their own comfort, security and convenience.

      The safety of the teachers?

      Who cares. If they don’t like working for the district there are plenty of kids with teaching certificates who’d take their place in a heart beat.

      The safety of the students?

      Who cares. If the crime can be hushed up then no harm, no foul. If the crime can’t be hushed up then it’ll just have to be ridden out which it eventually will be because what alternative is there? It’s not like the parents have much in the way of choices.


      • Phillipmarlowe says:

        Ah, the old denial of choices pablum.
        Dr. Hite has no plan as to what to do here, beyond create the conditions to squeeze out those who aren’t going to put up with this type of shit.
        For those families that don’t care, they can fester in the cesspools.

        • Ah, the old refusal to provide support for scat-slinging as well as the old preference for personal attacks over the subject at hand.

          You sure are into “old” a lot. I’d suggest you try something new but that would require coming to terms with changes occurring in the world without your permission. Obviously, that would be asking too much of you.

          Gratifyingly enough, you don’t matter. What does matter is that poor parents, now that they’re less and less hemmed in by inherently uncaring and irresponsible school districts, are eroding the foundations of those school districts by looking out for their children.

          And politicians are noticing this newly-created constituency.

          Some to their chagrin, like Bill de Blasio the recently-elected mayor of New York City and some to their delight like the otherwise fairly far left governor of the state, Andrew Cuomo.

          Gee, I wonder what that sort of split in the Democratic party portends for the future of the district system?

          What do you think, Phil?

          • PhillipMarlowe says:

            I thought you were going to have something intelligent to type, allen.
            You even avoided mention of yr grl Holly M.

  2. Maybe treating the school like a prison under lockdown, with order strictly enforced with escalating measures including tasers and truncheons, would reset the culture of chaos-as-normal and let some actual learning occur.  That learning might just keep some of these kids from winding up in real prisons in the not-so-far future.

    But having behavioral or academic expectations for non-White kids is racist.  Holder says so.

    • Back in the dinosaur era, when I was in school, all teachers had rulers (and my DH said his nuns had yardsticks) – and that was for kids whose parents had sent them to school decently socialized. The principal had a paddle and the HS coach only had to deliver one, military-style “attitude adjustment” about every 4 years – usually to a 15 yo 8th grade male – within hearing of half the school. . With old-fashioned conduct rules, there would be the possibility of socializing and teaching the youngest kids, who might then cause less trouble in MS-HS. The well-behaved would also have a chance to become educated, once chaos is removed. Also, drop the mandatory schooling age to completion of 8th grade or age 14; keep thugs out of HS.

  3. What that says is that the teachers are punching bags, go ahead and hit them without consequences.

    BTDT – in 2 different urban systems. Won’t do it again – I have seen teachers suffer PERMANENT injury after a student assaulted. The kids involved never served a day of jail time.

    Those who WON’T change their violent ways should be given a dedicated terminal to an online courseware system, and told – “that’s your teacher – you break him, bye-bye school”.

  4. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    Here’s the deal: If you find yourself being physically attacked by a student, it’s time to quit anyway. Your work environment is awful, and obviously unsafe.

    And since you’re going to quit anyway because your job obviously sucks so much that it would actually be preferable to flip burgers and clean counters, you might as well kick their ass in self-defense.

    If you can. Otherwise, just make them bleed a lot as you go down.

    On the other hand, people who are capable of that level of violence usually are of a disposition that doesn’t meld well with the curriculum of most teacher credential programs these days, which requires a great deal of emotive and prostrating nonsense. People with lots everyday experience with physical violence tend to be very pragmatic problem solvers (witness the student “solving” the Alphonso Stevenson problem). And if you’re an intellectual given to pragmatic problem solving, you’re not necessarily going to be welcomed in our touchy-feely world of diversity and inclusive education.

  5. It’s stunning for me to read these kinds of stories and think back on my long ago school days. Never do I remember any disrespect shown toward a teacher. I vaguely remember a very short fist fight between two boys in the ninth grade which was immediately ended by our teacher. Some of the schools nowadays seem more like a prison than a school.

    • Michael E. Lopez says:

      Well, depending on what you think a “school” looks like, some things we have today called schools *are* more like prisons than schools, both in terms of physical design, security measures, institutional policy and intrusiveness, the degree to which and the manner in which the inmates wish to be there, and the oppositional culture between the group in charge and the involuntary population.

      Sitting in the background are similarities in terms of the reception that the inmates can expect from the “outside world” once they leave the institutional culture.

      • PhillipMarlowe says:

        I visited a former student at Brockbridge Corectional Facility in Jessup Maryland.
        It was built in 1965. It looks exactly like schools built at the same time.
        In Prince George’s County Maryland, the rebuilt Bladensburg High School (MD), from the outside, looks like the lock up facility on Dille Road in Upper Marlboro, MD