Violence plagues Philadelphia schools, reports the Inquirer in its Assault on Learning series.
Teacher Christopher Paslay suggests ways to make schools safer, including requiring conflict resolution classes, rethinking arbitrary discipline policies, opening alternative schools designed for disruptive students and offering vocational options to students who aren’t motivated by college-prep classes. Schools should “respect everyone’s right to learn,” he argues.
The needs and challenges of the troubled few shouldn’t take precedence over the education of the many. Resources are limited, and the rights of all children – especially those who are diligently pursuing their schooling – must not be compromised.
In addition, he writes, schools should “teach students to be responsible for their own behavior, rather than conditioning them to blame their misdeeds on outside forces.”
Cartoonist Signe Wilkinson, the mother of a Philadelphia teacher, wants parents to step up.