Written by Brian Massie, concerned citizen
We published an article containing a video of a Willoughby – Eastlake School Board member demanding to know why her child was not protected from internal threats in the school. The Board member stated that Superintendent Steve Thompson and the school principal told her that this has been going on all year. Several school teachers informed the Board member that they no longer send children to the principal’s office because nothing is ever done.
I became suspicious that there a a larger agenda that was impacting the discipline policies in our local school districts because I heard the same complaint about the Riverside School District . I have reached out to some school board members to try to determine what is happening and why is it happening.
I then saw the following article in the New York Post where the phrase “restorative justice” was mentioned several times. I have heard this phrase before when some of my liberal friends (yes, I have some) wanted to ensure that the Lake County Commissioners “baked in” restorative justice to the new $100+ million Justice Center (read: jail) contemplated for Lake County.
Based on what I am reading and seeing about “restorative justice” in public schools, this has disaster written all over it for Lake County citizens and our overall society. It appears the edicts are coming from the Federal Department of Education.
Schools preach “equality of opportunity”, but what they really desire is “equality of outcome”. They are willfully spending less time on academics, and more time on the progressive / Marxist agenda embodied in Critical Race Theory, Social Emotional Learning, and Comprehensive Sex Education.
Editorial response from Linda Goudsmit:
The deconstruction of American education is deliberate. “Restorative justice” is part of globalism’s war on America, implemented by the radical Left education industry. Not only is curriculum content anti-American and revisionist, the children are unprotected physically and mentally in school.
Physically, they are being assaulted by violent students who face zero consequences for their behavior. And mentally the children are being assaulted with pornographic sex education, and racist critical race theory.
The American education industry is a weapon of war. Unless and until parents recognize this fact, they will remain unable to protect their precious children, and defend our beloved country from the enemy within.
Linda Goudsmit / June 20, 2022
goudsmit.pundicity.com and website: lindagoudsmit.com
Teachers, parents want real discipline as NYC student suspensions fall
June 4, 2022
A progressive push to soften school discipline has caused student suspensions to plummet — and made city classrooms more chaotic and dangerous than ever, parents and teachers charge. (Emphasis added by LFC)
Suspensions of five days or more meted out by principals and superintendents plunged more than 42 percent from the fall of 2017 to the fall of 2021, from 14,502 to 8,369, Department of Education data shows.
As suspensions declined, taxpayer money allocated to “restorative justice” — a system that sends badly-behaving students to mediation, conflict “circle” meetings, and guidance counseling, rather than boot them from classrooms — soared. The city in February pledged to sink $1.3 million more into such programs.
“That’s the reason everything’s in the toilet,” one Queens educator, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Post. “They were saying people of color were disproportionately affected by suspension, but to completely take [suspensions] away from everybody in every instance is doing more harm
A fight is seen at the 75 Morton middle school in the West Village.
Black and Hispanic kids are suspended more often than their peers, according to a 2021 report, and some advocates have cheered the drop in kicking kids out.
But fewer suspensions mean more mayhem in the classroom, according to educators and parents.
“We have teachers getting kicked at, spit at, cursed at, things thrown at [them] and the kid is back the next day like nothing happened,” said the teacher, who didn’t give her name for fear of retaliation. “And the teacher is asked, ‘What did you do to trigger the child?’”
Pressure from the DOE has prompted administrators to downgrade incidents or sweep them under the rug, educators charge. (Emphasis added by LFC)
The fact that educators now have little recourse emboldens misbehaving kids, said one teacher.
“Right now, with the way the discipline code is, it’s basically, ‘Stop doing that or else we’ll ask you again,” said Queens teacher Kathy Perez. “The kids know that there are no consequences.”
Kids who want to learn, the vast majority, get cheated.
Olivia Ramos has learned all too well just how violent some NYC schools are.James Messerschmidt for NY Post
“Everyone is so concerned with the rights of the two or three upstarts in the room, that the other 30 kids — their rights to get an education … to be able to sit in an environment that’s not intimidating, that’s not scary, that’s not filled with noise” don’t matter, said Perez, a reading specialist who won a $125,000 legal settlement from the city after she was hurt by out-of-control teens in class. “No one has ever had an answer to that.”
Olivia Ramos said her son was assaulted five times at Manhattan’s 75 Morton, a West Village middle school which pushed restorative justice. (Emphasis added by LFC)
“There’s no punishment to the kids who misbehave,” she said. “He was calling me from the bathroom, in seventh grade, scared because there were fights in the bathrooms, in the hallways, in the staircases, really bad fights.”
She eventually secured a safety transfer for her child, Ramos said.
The reasons for falling suspensions also include rising absenteeism and reduced enrollment since the pandemic. But the problem is only getting worse under the woke philosophy of “restorative justice.”
“The schools were out of control starting with de Blasio,” said Gregory Floyd, head of Teamsters Local 237, which represents the city’s school safety agents. “He decided to reduce suspensions by not suspending students for infractions they should have been disciplined for. This is part of the reason why we have what we have today.
“What you see is a result of ignoring the problem…I blame the last City Council, the last Mayor and restorative justice.”
Principals can levy a one to five day suspension, while superintendents can suspend students for up to a year.
Pressure from the DOE has prompted administrators to downgrade incidents or sweep them under the rug, educators charge.
“Those suspension numbers are going down because things aren’t getting reported or they’re getting downgraded,” claimed one anonymous Brooklyn teacher.
Another veteran educator who didn’t want to give her name said she finally left the job after years of stressful incidents, including being threatened by a student, and being inadvertently punched in the face during a student fight.
“They never reported that I was injured in the crossfire,” she said.
Adam Bergstein, a United Federation of Teachers chapter leader at Forest Hills High School, who started a petition two months ago to push for more discipline in city schools signed by more than 560 people, says administrators’ hands are tied.
“If you start suspending more kids, you’re going to be called on the carpet,” he said. “Schools that should be suspending children are leery because they don’t want to then have to defend their suspension to the DOE.”
Advocates who celebrate the suspension decrease say restorative justice works. Nonprofit Morningside Center for Teaching Responsibility has a nearly $5 million DOE contract to train school staffers on restorative justice practices and “social and emotional learning,” including “hands-on coaching” for teachers on what it calls “The 4Rs: reading, writing, respect and resolution.”
It claims that schools which use its program see graduation rates go up.
Betsy Combier, a paralegal who defends teachers and kids in disciplinary cases, said suspension procedures have stark racial disparities.
“I did suspension hearings for nine years for kids, and I was the only white face,” she said.
Restorative justice can work, said Combier and others — but only when school communities “buy in” to the program, and have enough staff to deal with problem kids one on one.
“The kids know that there are no consequences,” Queens teacher Kathy Perez said.Helayne Seidman for NY Post
“I think it’s a good thing if and only if it’s implemented correctly. I don’t know how many schools are actually doing that,” she said.
Schools where problem kids are sent right back into the classroom without intervention aren’t using restorative justice, said Combier, who added, “that’s simply abrogating your duty to take care of the children in your building.”
Restorative justice is “well intentioned,” said Cardozo High School teacher Dino Sferrazza, a UFT chapter leader, “but there aren’t enough restorative justice teams — social workers, guidance counselors — and then you have kids who repeatedly get into trouble and nothing gets done.”
Restorative justice doesn’t work with “the persistent offender, with the violent offender, with the kid that you’ve tried other things,” Sferrazza said. “But everyone’s afraid of suspending kids because you’re back to, ‘Your numbers are up, your numbers for particular kids are up, for Hispanic, black and brown kids, are up.’ They don’t want that heat.
“The argument was made that that’s what it was — suspending kids based on what they look like. I will tell you my experience, that was never the case,” he added.
In the end, students who follow the rules often lose out on instructional time — or lose their way altogether, worried teachers said.
“They don’t see the benefits of following the rules and being decent,” the Brooklyn educator bemoaned, recalling a kid who told her, ‘I’m really just done with school.’”
The city DOE said it does not tolerate violence in schools and that principals are “empowered to swiftly take a range of disciplinary actions, including suspensions.”
“Serious incidents are down 12 percent this year – with both fights and threats down 27 percent and no increase in bullying. This is because students, educators, parents, NYPD School Safety Agents, social workers, and guidance counselors work together to make our schools sanctuaries for learning,” DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer said.