St. Paul school suspensions drop 30%

  • Article by: Anthony Lonetree , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 23, 2013 - 9:48 PM

Administrators make clear an intent to keep students in classroom.

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AnondsonMay. 23, 1310:45 PM

The only people "allowed" to discipline these children are the parents themselves. These parents are disinclined to discipline their babies for public unruliness. If anyone but the parent even tries then heaven have mercy. And these children are completely aware of this dynamic. The only solution for the rest of us who desire a civil society is to abandon the neighborhoods where this is a growing habit for those who are happy to tolerate it.

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sek2undrstndMay. 23, 1310:45 PM

Check out the home life of those students who are suspended and I believe you would find parents who let their kids talk back to them, let their kids stay up to all hours of the night, let their kids watch whatever they want on tv, and let their kids run the house. In other words, all of these problems start at home and are magnified at school when discipline and focus is required for a learning environment.

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workforit1May. 24, 1312:42 AM

My wife is a middle school teacher and she tells me these numbers are totally manipulated. The numbers have come down, but the actions by the students are at all time highs. What signal does it send when they know there will be no action. And to signal out a group of students and say there is a gap, so we must manipulate the numbers to make things see equal is crazy. only in public education where we have gotten away from the three Rsss would this even be possible.

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athe0007May. 24, 13 6:43 AM

I am a substitute teacher in Minneapolis and St. Paul and also have a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. This policy is seriously misguided and dysfunctional. I've watched as behavior in the SPPS has deteriorated to the point where student learning is negatively impacted. This week I filled in for a teacher at what used to be the best middle school in St. Paul and now has the worst student behavior in both districts. For example, in one class two boys would throw things at me whenever I'd turn my back on them. When I would send a student out for disruptive behavior the administration would send them right back, which tells the other students in the class that there is no accountability and they can get away with just about anything. For some bizarre reason the SPPS administration thinks that a teacher, while running is class of 30 students, they can do behavioral interventions with 1 or 2 (as we were even trained to and as if these interventions would even be effective when there are no consequences). On this particular day a person from the District told me that I should "build relationships." As a substitute I have about an hour with students and then may never see them again. It's unclear to me how I'm suppose to build these relationships while I'm trying to teach a class. As an educational professional I'd like to point out some facts to the SPPS Administration. 1) You cannot modify behavior without accountability. 2) Adolescents push boundaries as a matter of course in personality development (parenting has only an indirect effect). 3) It is difficult to learn in chaotic. environments.

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tcatheartMay. 24, 13 7:00 AM

"The district also is making bonus pay available to principals who lower their suspension numbers." - How does this work? Do the principals actually have to show that behavior improved in their school or just that suspension went down? If it's simply the latter, all you have to do is send "problem child A" back to class instead of a suspension, and, poof, suspension numbers are lowered.

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lynnoleumMay. 24, 13 7:25 AM

I'd really like to know how much Jocelyn Sims stands to gain by the lowered numbers in her school. They way the system is set up totally opens it up to an administrator to fudge numbers. Many administrators start as teachers, but when they can't handle it anymore they get an admin license. Not to mention doubling their pay and pension.

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kmvfanMay. 24, 13 8:17 AM

Make no mistake - kids who are being left in school are causing massive disruptions and those children who are actually trying to learn are suffering. Let's call a spade a spade.

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holstjMay. 24, 13 8:24 AM

Apparently if the bar is too high and you receive bad press for not reaching it you lower the bar.

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qwerty123May. 24, 13 8:28 AM

There is currently a big push at the Federal level to "equalize" the suspension rates between groups, whatever the consequences for learning. I suspect the St. Paul school officials know what these consequences will be but have no choice but to implement the absurd policy described in this article.

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debrawenlundMay. 24, 13 8:31 AM

The administrators send the kids back to the class and get's a bonus on top of it? Really! I know this is true as a 5th grade teacher in St Paul School District comments EVERY DAY about how there is no accountability to their behavior and why wonder why should they spend their time building relationships at the expense of those students who want to learn? Maybe some type of parent discipline should be given. . . have the parents come and sit in on a day of classes to see what the teachers deal with every day! Something needs to be done! Teachers aren't going to continue to want to teach in this type of environment. These are 5th graders. . . what happens when they get in 7th & 8th grade???

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