This perspective, featured in a Letter to the Editor in the Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, Philadelphia Inquirer, is worth considering as we continue to navigate how best to address behavior and discipline in Philly schools. -- Sheila
Re: "Safety first," editorial, Monday:
While I agree in principle that the Philadelphia School District needs to send a clear message to troublemakers by expelling them or transferring them to alternative schools, I am not sure enough people truly appreciate the scale of this challenge. As a student teacher in an affluent suburban district, I could issue an index-card-sized referral slip to a disruptive student and send him or her to the office, no questions asked. In Philadelphia, where I taught for six years, referral forms measured a full 8½ by 11 inches and had to be completed in triplicate. Furthermore, a teacher was expected to exhaust other strategies - a detention, calling home, etc. - before referring a student. Indeed, a sure way to curry disfavor among administrators was to send disruptive students to them a bit too often.
Ronald L. ZiglerAbingtonrlz2@psu.edu