Time To Enforce School Rules - And Response

  • Tuesday, October 4, 2022

I am so glad that Candy Johnson, (ex-superintendent's wife) and the Urban League, want to call for interventions and cultural competency education across the district.  I don't think this will increase test scores or improve discipline.  Every time an 18-year-old adult student won't obey a teacher, an assistant principal and a police officer, those without any knowledge of how to operate a school, come-up with some bologna to fix the problem.

I think that 99 percent of our students in Hamilton County would have complied with the school staff and resource officer. 

Another misleading statement by Ms. Johnson said that Black students were suspended four times more than white students and expelled seven times more than white students.  Let's look at this statement.  When you consider that these students attended schools with mainly Black students and the staff that suspended these students are mainly Black.  What does that tell you?  These actions are taken by well qualified Black administrators that are trying to maintain order and discipline in their school so that the students that are there to learn, can do so.  Ms. Johnson's statement is very misleading.  She implies that it's racial.  I know many of these folks and I can assure you that race doesn't enter into this. 

Ms. Johnson also said that this was "a criminalization of a minor discipline issue." By not following the instructions of the teacher, assistant principal and resource officer, this 18-year-iold adult made this a major discipline issue, therefore criminalizing it. It was the student's fault.

Everyone reading this should familiarize themselves with TCA 49-6-3005,a,5.  It tells you what to do with an 18-year-old adult that won't obey school rules.  We need to enforce it.

I wonder why we don't read about these things happening in the private schools.  Let me tell you why. Private schools are very expensive and if your child acts out, they will be warned on some violations and or expelled in others. Guess what? You don't get your money back. So, the parents keep a close eye on little Johnny and Betty.

I watched TV while Mr. Doremus, the spokesperson for HCDE, told everyone that the students have a right to protest.  I agree, however, not during the school day. Are you nuts? He is wrong to promote this kind of thinking, or was he told to say that.  Go back from whence you came and take those ideas with you, Mr. Doremus.  Those students that walked out should be given a zero for any class missed and an unexcused absence.  Any teacher that walked out in support should be docked for whatever time they missed.

Anyone who criticizes the actions by the SRO should be ashamed of themselves.  I have worked with three great ones, and they always made the school a safer place for the ones that want to learn. Most of you that are criticizing the SRO don't know a thing about running a school.  You can only second guess and make suggestions that have been tried and lead to chaos in the schools. So, if you don't have anything good to say, clam-up. 

Ernie McCarson

* * *

It's correct that black students often face suspensions and expulsions even more so at schools controlled by black staff at predominantly black schools. That much I can agree with. I witnessed it. However, the reasons are off. 

It's not that black students act out more and are more deserving of such extreme punishments. It's that blacks, even in education, often take a harsher approach to everything when it comes to discipline. That old "spare the rod/spoil the child" has been so embedded in our psych that it's often taken to extreme levels, even by the most educated among us. 

One of the things I noticed when my sons were attending a predominately white school was extreme discipline measures that seemed the norm at black schools they once attended weren't carried out at those white schools. At least not against the white students, and some blacks as well if the black students was athletes. White students showing up at the majority white school my sons attended drunk, with hangovers, high as a kite; caught smoking on campus, even that wacky weed; found with weapons on school property didn't normally face much, if any, punishments at all. On rare occasions a parent may have been called to come pick up the students and told to take them home and let' em "sleep it off." In fact, when a the black guidance counselor tried to report white students were showing up at school high, drunk, hungover the school had her transferred. So there are multiple reasons behind why black students face severe punishments more so than white students. It doesn't mean such severe punishments are necessarily always deserved. 

There are lots of 'isms out there. Some of those 'isms are within. I know! My family and I have faced some of those internal 'isms. We might all be considered of the same race by American standards, but we're certainly not of the same tribe. 

As far as private schools go, children everywhere, no matter if they attend private, public, religious-private schools are going to test limits, act out and act up. There are 'things' that go on at private, even religious private schools, that are often underreported because the parents are well connected and/or well off and private/religious-private schools don't want nor can they afford negative stigmas. There's a public persona that must be maintained. We don't read about negative things in private/religiously private schools because they're better equipped with what goes public and what remains private. Again, it's trickles down to what are "soft targets" and what's not. 

The outcome and success of students all boils down to the adults in charge and the whether or not they believe every student has potential. The attitudes of the staff at the schools often set the positive or negative atmosphere. This can be said any environment where groups from different backgrounds come together, including the workplace. Nothing good comes from a toxic school/work environment.

I always told my little teachers, "You are destined to do great things in life!" And I meant it too. From the bottom of my heart, my soul, my everything. No matter their present status, station in life, living conditions, "You are destined to great things in life!" Some of us have set these children up to fail from the moment they enter pre-school or kindergarten. On the other hand, I've always believed every child has the potential for greatness in life. I still do. It's how we adults approach any situation that can make or break the spirit of a child. 

Brenda Washington 


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