October 13, 2007

School Violence

Received via email:

Another child has taken his life and 4 others wounded in the recent Cleveland School Shooting and as, I believe, a direct result of maladministration in school districts and the State Education Departments in general. Under reporting violence is gross negligence and compromises the safety of all district students. Yet, it continues unchecked. Case in point, North Tonawanda High School.

I would like you to visit http://www.theeleventhdistrict.blogspot.com. If you think that this is a matter you would like to address on your blog, please feel free to do so. I have been following the "Mess In North Tonawanda Schools". It is clearly apparent that the majority of individuals are not interested in solving the serious issues in this school district or willing to embrace the truths.


Larry Castellani said...

The unwillingess and disinterestedness in addressing the downspiral in educational quality and the increasing contagion of violence in school environments, seems to reflect our utilitarian, self-serving neglect of any institutional issues or community concerns that do not directly or immediately hinder market efficiency and prevalent political and pedagogical ideologies. Insofar as the usual crop of graduates seems not to stall productivity in the private sector, and insofar as further meaningful increase in educational investment is not seen as improving economic productivity nor securing political advantage for the power elite, the necessary revaluations of and improvements in the educational arena will not be forthcoming. Secondary education in particular will continue to graduate the usual batch of non-problematic students while some 30% of "problematic students", in conservative estimates, will fall by the wayside, dropping out, or at worse, being victims of student-on-student violence. Administrations will continue to play the role of ‘violence managers’ allowing teen culture to work out many conflicts in schools through a policy of “survival of the fittest” or, failing that, imposing various punitive measures which, though merely repressive, serve the purpose of controlling some of the unruly and rebellious. It’s kind of a penological approach to institutional education. The real issues of educating youth about the reality of the world in which they live are systematically denied or distorted. Thus students are “educated” in formal skills of questionable value in the real world and in social issues that are whitewashed in censored, sophomoric curricula that are embarrassing at best and insulting at worst. I’m personally no longer really sure whether more violence is done to those students forced out of the system by bullying or boredom or to those who remain and are brainwashed into mindless conformity and social acceptability.

Rhonda Joy Mangus said...

It was brought to my attention that I stopped "mid-air" so to speak regarding under-reporting by the City of North Tonawanda School District for the 2005-2006 school year.

According to WBEN 930 Dave Debo's Online Extra: Violence in WNY Schools, it appears the City of North Tonawanda School District under-reported its violent incidents by at least 50% for the 2005-2006 school year.

According to a SWORN Affidavit of Principal James V. Fisher, NTHS, there were six (6) or seven (7) bomb threats during the week of October 7 through 12, 2005 alone, not 3 as the analysis indicates. And, as I mention on my blog, I was only aware of one, the one on October 12, 2005.

Interesting as well, it does not appear that City of North Tonawanda School District indicated any incidences of bullying, intimidation, or harassment.

I don't think I need to tell anyone that under-reporting violence in schools is dangerous, is known to occur frequently, and compromises the safety of ALL children. It is a serious issue in New York State, where under-reporting is as high as 60%, according to an audit by former State Comptroller Hevesi.

The idea that New York State Commissioner, Richard P. Mills, is aware and clearly has failed to act effectively to address school districts who under-report, is disturbing as well.

As a member of this community and one whose child was removed for initial reasons of escalating violence and mal-administrative responses, I would urge parents to maintain a strong presence in their children's lives while they are attending North Tonawanda High School.