Tuesday, July 19, 2011

60% of Texas Students Have Issues: How Big Are They?

 I don't often read the local news.  After all, our only remaining hometown newspaper is kinda pathetic.  But, anyway, I was checking the weather cause we had rain--yes, I walked/danced through it with great joy--and I was checking the temperature and noticed this article which claims that 60 % of Texas students have been either expelled or suspended from school during their middle and high school years with some 15 % of them having been expelled or suspended over 11 times.  And 97 % of those punishments were for violations of student conduct codes put in place by local school systems not for violating more serious state standards.  Translation: kids are being kicked out of class for violating things like tardiness, dress codes, etc.


Wow wow.

I noticed a few years ago that students will jump in and all start talking at once if you ask them about the rules they had to follow in High School.  There are just tons and tons of rules about their dress.  Shirts tucked in.  Belts required, etc. etc.  Colors forbidden.  Type of t-shirt dictated.  I know that many of my students don't have much money and have difficult times with getting basics.  Some of my students don't even sleep in the same place every night.  I am not making excuses for them.  I think that is often a mistake but I do feel that many times they experience quite a bit of frustration with rules that are all about superficiality and control and not much about essentials.

No wonder they all seem so oppositionally defiant.

I think of texting that way.  All through High School, their cell phones were forbidden to them (if they are caught with them they may have to pay to get them back, may lose them for the whole semester, etc.).  When they show up in my class it may be some of the first months they have been allowed open access to them and you can tell some of them are just going hogwild with the hedonistic pleasure of unfettered access.

I learned from trial and error not to draw lines in the sand with them or it just becomes too knock-this-battery-off-my-shoulder in its epic stupidity.  I try hard to redirect them with humor and quicker, more gentle reminders.  Most of the time it has worked.  I see why now.   They are nanoseconds away from a "not this, again" *eye roll*.

This issue must, also, explain why a couple of years ago the student I saw in the hall with the t-shirt emblazoned with
"I have a Ph.D.*"
*Pretty Hugh Dick

(and I was thinking..hey, I do too...um wait.  Maybe not)
Who would wear that except someone with a bad case of the rebellions?  LMAO.

I see that on the various sites posting the story that posters are having a fun time attacking the kids for not behaving and not being "raised properly", and, of course, there are race and gender issues at play which Joe Public is having fun skewering.  There are close to 2,000 posts are Yahoo now on their posting of the article.  I won't comment on those posts but I will say, all things considered, I don't have that many discipline issues and at least some of these disciplined kids are ending up in my class.  Anyway, something ain't working.  For sure.

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