How About Zero Tolerance for Stupid Administrators?

Originally published July 10th , 2007

This article in the Houston Chronicle [link expired] on Saturday really frosted my pumpkin. A sixth grade (!) girl wrote, “I love Alex” with a baby blue Sharpie on an already graffiti-laden wall in a gym. Dear God.

The Katy Independent School District unleashed the hounds of hell on the poor kid.

From the article…

The graffiti offense is a Level 4 infraction in the district’s discipline plan, along with making terroristic threats, possessing dangerous drugs, and assaulting with bodily injury. Only a Level 5 — for murder, possessing firearms, committing aggravated or sexual assault, arson or other felonies — is more severe.Alex, the love object, must be one mean bad guy to inspire that kind of overreaction, don’tcha think? Could he be a wanted gangster or a terrorist?

I’m all for protecting the homeland, sans violating the constitutional rights of citizens, but I’m adamant about protecting school children from the whims of doltish administrators (and teachers).

This piece of the article says it all…

“Stanford [district spokesperson], who said he could not discuss the specifics of the case because of privacy laws, defended the punishment, saying the district had no choice.

But Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, disagreed. Eissler co-authored House Bill 603 in 2005, which gives administrators more latitude to consider disciplinary history, intent, whether a student has a disability that would impair judgment or acted in self-defense in deciding punishment.

“They have all the leeway they want,” he said. “They didn’t have to hammer this young lady the way they did. That’s why I wrote HB 603 — to give school districts authority to back off the black-and-white justice.”

Stanford said he is confident the district is following the law.”How does Stanford think the district is following the law when a lawmaker is setting him straight?

In another life, I’d have been a lawyer who specializes in education justice for children.

UPDATE Friday, July 13, 2007

Find out who Alex is and watch the Katy Independent School District backup after setting off a firestorm of criticism for its crude handling of student discipline.

The superintendent meets with the board in closed session (generally permissible in student discipline cases) July 18. Let’s hope Shelby gets a little in-school suspension, no big gaps in achievement opportunity, and retained eligibility for sports and clubs.

And let’s really hope that the superintendent follows through with the analysis of student disciplinary policy.

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2 thoughts on “How About Zero Tolerance for Stupid Administrators?

  1. Throw the book at ’em! That’ll teach that out-of-control, love-struck kid a lesson…

    You have to wonder what was going through the guy’s head when he addressed that one.

  2. Thanks for an admin perspective Scott.

    (Unabashed and unpaid endorsement: stop by Scott’s blog. It’s the real deal.)

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