Word from the Underground Railroad
If you’re not aware, we have an Underground Railroad set up to help improve government schools. We’ve reached out to any teacher who is willing to anonymously tell us what is going on. While being anonymous isn’t a prerequisite, we do indeed realize the risks that unionized workers take when ratting out the idiocy of government bureaucrats who come up with methods of avoiding problems or of making them look better than they are.
When Former Rochester City School District Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard left for a better paying job at a larger school district to ruin in Chicago, he bragged about a decrease in the number of suspensions in Rochester by 75%.
The head of our Underground Railroad, codenamed Gold Lantern, shed some light on this. Instead of suspending children for violent offenses such as fighting, assault or being caught with weapons, the RCSD now ONLY uses In-School Suspension (ISS). “In-School Suspension” is like having detention all day in one room. Instead of being home, under parental supervision and separated from other students, all the students with ISS spend the whole day together under the eye of a few supervisors.
To be totally accurate, there is, on rare occasions, a special out-of-school center called “I’m ready” (ready for what I’m not sure- maybe to go to jail- but that’s just my guess), but too many offenses that deserve out-of-school suspension get ISS instead.
For “lesser offenses” that, in the past, would have received ISS, students are now given something called “Alternative to Suspension” (ATS). Here’s the problem. Those in ATS are not supposed to be mixed in with the children with ISS (In-School Suspension), but they are. Imagine that. In order to overcome that situation, ATS should be called “intervention,” but the main reason for ATS is to improve school statistics.
By supposedly improving statistics, the former superintendent was able to pad his resume with a faked stat that there was a 75% drop in suspensions. But why else would a school need to pretend that those who should really receive out-of-school suspension only received ISS? This slight of hand actually seems to violate the school system’s code of conduct (P. 20-32 regarding suspensions and disciplinary rules).
One reason is money. When a child is suspended, the school doesn’t receive the money for that child’s attendance on the day that that child is out of school. If the child is in school, due to being in the in-school-suspension room, the school gets the money. As well, when a child gets ATS as opposed to ISS, that child does not get the offense put on his or her permanent record, and this of course means less paperwork for the bureaucrats. It also means that the school doesn’t have the offense on its record, which makes it easier for administrators to pad their resumes. And making the stats look better in the yearly reports also makes it easier to justify the demands for property tax hikes in order to feed the starving beast that the school system is. Remember, the voters aren’t allowed to vote on the budget in the Rochester City, so what they say goes.
But what are the costs? Do kids that are perpetually thrown into ISS and ATS mind being there? Not always. It’s much more fun than being in class where they’re expected to behave and act like humans. In the ISS and ATS room, where all the kids are stored for the day, there are expectations, but those are hard to enforce in a room full of disruptive and disrespectful kids. As well, another consequence is adding more days to ISS.
An additional issue is that the teacher in charge of watching the room might even have reason to fear the kids in the room. This is especially dangerous when kids, put there for fighting, are there together. It’s easy to imagine that the fight might continue once they’re put together in the ISS room. Metal detectors don’t sense plastic shivs, and since weapons offenses may be punished with ISS, one has to be aware that weapons may be present even in the ATS room.
Another consequence of replacing out of school suspension with ISS and ATS is that repeat offenders just get reassigned and spend more days in suspension and out of class. This makes it harder for the offending child to actually learn anything, stay caught up and actually graduate.
This does not create a safer environment for teachers or for other children. It is especially dangerous to the non-violent children who only received ATS for a smaller disciplinary issue. They have to share their ATS room with kids who’d probably be more suited for a Juvenile Detention Center. But since repeated violence just gets ISS, those that should be in a Juvenile Detention Center escape justice because sneaky bureaucrats want to keep the money flowing and the accolades coming.
All of these measures do not really deter future misdeeds. Students rarely have a problem with consequences. It’s been said that when fights used to get students arrested, they’d stop fighting. But sadly, that was a long time ago.
We’d like to hear more about this. If you’re a teacher with an ISS horror story to tell us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you work at a school that does this, please tell us so that we can make others aware.
The Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York
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Word From The Underground- responses to school suspensions and lesbian recruitment gangs
By Mack Rights
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