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I have been working with
a grandmother who was referred by someone from the district. She has become a presence in my life. Her Grandson is highly influenced by peers. He is a smart young man but as we know it is not cool to be smart. In analyzing this he was being labeled. Grandmother volunteered already but principal and teachers did not like her being there. She was labeled as the trouble maker. I got a call from her one day telling me that the teacher of her child's classroom locked the door when she saw her coming. The principal would not give her the time of day when she tried to complain. This little boy has been suspended and gets referrals all the time. It is early enough where we can track him. Grandmother has since joined the PTA and the site Council. Last report this year; he is doing better because of a new teacher who cares. The principal still the same. His record still the same! I can go on with many more stories? we have been overloaded with statistics. Now lets get overloaded with the case studies.
Dilemma- I never hear anything about parent involvement when a child is disciplined. I checked and found out their is little data or statistics or accountability around making sure that the parent has all the communications, tools, support and education they need when their child is being disciplined.
More often the teacher or the principal does not have a clear understanding of this process and exactly how to include the parents and in my opinion sometimes hide behind this excuse to do what they want. Across the board the inconsistencies have been devastating to students of color. In hearing the family stories their is a common concern and that is families often feel like the principal, teachers and staff are all in it together and will do everything they can to protect themselves at the expense of their children. Families often feel ganged on. Please try to figure out how we can help these families now! when we identify the schools we want to work with lets identify the families we need to wrap around immediately!!
Date Friday, 16 Oct 2009 12:06:07-0700
My story Sheila Warren, Grandmother (to present at meeting today with Xavier Botano) As some of you know I am a champion of case studies. We need the data but folks need help now! Yes the work we do is imperative. We need to have rules and policies, even laws changed, but this takes time. I sometimes sit at the CEP table and wonder why with all our expertise we have not formed an intervention team. We have talked many times about an independent review/accountability committee. This needs to happen now!!
Tracking the schools that have to many disciplines starting with referrals. I believe we need to start a clean slate program. Demand that referrals and other disciplines be expunged when appropriate. We need to encourage parents to review their children's records just like they do their credit report. Some of these actions will help to detect what could be really going on. This would step up accountability!
I have told stories over the year of families that have been referred to me at the 11th hour. Most times I can give my support, but am helpless when it comes to making it go away. Recently I received a call from a colleague letting me know that another black male is expelled. I mourned the rest of the day. It was like telling me he had been shot. I was able to call the mother and of course she was like "a deer in headlights". what a place to be in "helpless". She did admit some of this he brought on himself but was trying to wrap her head around him not being able to go to school. Trying to figure out next steps. I did not get to go to the hearing with her. I got sick There wasn't anyone else I could call to fill in for me. An intervention team would have been great.
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