Friday, May 06, 2005

Stupid Is As Government School Does

Technically, I gave the Dumbass of the Week Award out earlier this week. Of course, I could do like some do with their fiscal year and say my weeks are Wednesday through Tuesday. I could do that. Instead, I have several dumb stories from government schools that I want to share with you. All come from my home state of Georgia. Dumbass just does not cut it.

Student Suspended For Defiantly Talking To Mom On Cell Phone

Rule are rules. Mom calls child on cell phone. School rules forbid cell phone use during school. The student was on his lunch break. He refused to hang up. Pretty straight forward.

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - A high school student was suspended for 10 days for refusing to end a cell phone call with his mother, a soldier serving in Iraq, school officials said.The 10-day suspension was issued because Kevin Francois was "defiant and disorderly" and was imposed in lieu of an arrest, Spencer High School assistant principal Alfred Parham said.The confrontation Wednesday began after the 17-year-old junior got a call at lunchtime from his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, who left in January for a one-year tour with the 203rd Forward Support Battalion.

This is just an amazing view of discipline. Props to spd rdr and Heigh-Ho. Finish reading the story there. His comments are adopted and incorporated herein by reference.

UPDATE: This story was young when I posted this. The school has now claimed that the student did not identify the significance of his call when asked for the cell phone and ignored the request. He then, allegedly, became abussive in language to the teacher without explaining why the call was so important. The student tells a different story. Technicalities. Regardless of what happened, what should of happened was that the student explained the importance of the call,
and the teacher, realizing that it was lunch time and the call should be allowed to continue, instructs the student to take the call to the office or outside so as to not blatently violate the rule and make it more difficult to enforce in other situations. It has also been reported that the student's father died and he is living with a large family that took him in while his mother served in Iraq. The tone was one of "poor woe is he." I am not going to make excuses for him. If he didn't try to tell the teacher the circumstances of the call, he got what he deserved. If not, this is
outrageous. Cooler heads obviously did not prevail for one, or both, of the parties.

Duluth Teacher Fired For Grading Poorly Sleeping Football Player

In Duluth, Georgia, the Gwinnett County School Board has fired a teacher for giving a 50% score on an assignment. The student was sleeping during the class in which the assignment was given. When turned in the next day, the student's grade was lowered accordingly.

Neace, who has taught at Dacula High for 23 years, was removed from class after he refused to raise the grade he had given a football player on an overnight assignment. Neace said he cut the student's perfect grade in half because he thought the student had fallen asleep at his desk the day the assignment was made.

"What we have in this case is a case of a pampered football athlete sleeping in class and being given favored treatment on an academic grade," said Michael Kramer, another of Neace's lawyers. "What we have here is the principal essentially attempting to coerce and intimidate a teacher."

School officials said they gave Neace a chance to restore the football player's grade. When he refused, they sent him home. He has not been allowed back at school since April 14, when he was told he could resign or face being fired.

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks recommended to the board that Neace be fired. "He cannot have a policy that supersedes board policy," Wilbanks said. "He had no right to do that." Neace said he had a practice of reducing the grades of students who waste time or sleep in class. His course syllabus warns that wasting class time can "earn a zero for a student on assignments or labs." No administrators had previously complained about the practice, which he adopted more than a decade ago, Neace said.

Despite the fact that this kid was a football player in sports happy Gwinnett County, the students are overwhelmingly supporting the teacher.

As school administrators presented their case to the school board, supporters of the teacher spilled over from the hearing room into a hallway outside. Some wore buttons saying "What's Up Doc?" and Dacula junior Clark Hurst wore a shirt bearing the acronym SADD, for "Students Against Dumping Doc."Neace said he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from students.

Posters calling for his return decorated the high school's halls. Some students wore
T-shirts protesting the principal's action and passed out fliers saying, "Forget the whales, save Doc." Students also circulated a petition asking administrators to reinstate Neace.

"It's overwhelming -- the support, the phone calls, the e-mails, the [editorials] in the paper," Neace said Thursday afternoon. "I am getting support from all over the country. I got an e-mail from a professor at Rutgers University that said he wishes more teachers would do what I was doing, because it would make his job so much easier in the classroom if kids were prepared to take responsibility for what they do."

I have yet to hear a word against the teacher. Except from the administration, of course.

UPDATE: The problem here of course is that the teacher may have technically broken a rule. I am surprised that a teacher with this much experience and support, and obviously just trying to control his learning environment in a positive way, needs to be fired as discipline. I am also critical of his approach to defending the claim. It appears that he said - "this is my rule, screw your rule." It was a rule all the students knew. I think he should have pointed out that implicit in his grading system, and the rule for docking grades for "wasting time," is "class participation." If a student is asleep, he can't particpate. If he doesn't participate in class, his grade is reduced based on performance, not discipline. But he didn't take that approach, and the school, in its wisdom, rewarded the slacker jock and punished the apparently good and popular teacher enforcing reasonable, even if non-allowed, rules.

Not a good day for Georgia schools. But hey, with a little hard work, we can move up to #46! Thank God for Mississippi!

6 Comments:

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Jehane said...

Something very like this happened at a certain military school years ago when we were atationed there. And people ask me why I started drinking at that time (previously I had been fairly abstemious).

Answer: I kept looking out the window of our quarters and it was still there.

 
At 3:04 PM, Blogger Jehane said...

It's a good thing you posted those updates...I was getting ready to bust you for irresponsible blogging.

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger KJ said...

I never claimed to be responsible.

 
At 8:57 PM, Blogger Jehane said...

You know it really takes all the fun out of mocking you mercilessly when you're so (*&^ agreeable... :)

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger KJ said...

That is the same thing I told my psychologist. Friggin' pansy he was.

 
At 4:28 AM, Blogger Jehane said...

Nice move, big guy ... I almost lost my keyboard on that one...

 

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