‘No surprise the school behavior plan failed’

A young man reached out to the Policy Werkes to relate his involvement in crafting the Madison school district’s Behavioral Education Plan. He asked that his name not be published as he wishes to have a career someday in Madison. This is his story:

As a Memorial high school student in the summer of 2015, I was approached to join an advisory committee on the Behavioral Education Plan’s classroom implementation plan. There were four meetings on the issue.The meetings’ goals were to simplify the BEP’s 20-something pages and nuances into something easy to adhere to by teachers and faculty whilst making decisions on the fly in the classroom. …

At one of the four meetings, there were was another student present although he was quiet and did not really share insight. One teacher was present for about 30 minutes at one of the meetings, but that was the only time an educator was ever present. Myself (a student in the district) and “community stakeholders” were the people who really were making up this committee.

… They were all lovely people to share insight with and they were generally interested in what I had to say. However, it became readily apparent that many of them had not had an honest view of a high school since the days when they themselves were students.

Playing hide and seek with school security

Some of them took part in the principal-for-a-day program the district runs which is not an accurate view of how our high school operated. This program specifically visits higher performing classes — honors or AP — and at that the classes were given a heads up to be on their best behavior.

… Students who were asked to leave the classroom and go to the office (either the dean or principal)  … did not hesitate when given the opportunity to leave, which was a little bit of surprise to the stakeholders. But what really came as a surprise to them was the fact that the student did not actually go to the office.

These students would instead roam the hallways, mess around with their friends and create noisy distractions for students in classrooms actually trying to learn.

One teacher I talked to when trying to get insight for these meetings described incidents of these students practically playing hide and seek with school security for fun and to avoid going to class or to an administrators office.

The lack of follow through on disciplinary measures was another shock to them. I think my gym classes were by far the best indicator of this (as everyone was required to take gym classes and it’s not like there’s an honors gym). Fights, skipping, disruptive behavior, harassment, etc. were the norm. …

‘Even when one student struck our gym teacher …’

I can not tell you the number of times a student would be removed from class for poor behavior and then be sent back before the period was even over and continue the behavior. Even when one student struck our gym teacher because the teacher tried to simply calm the student down, the student was back in class a few days later after an in-school suspension. Not to my surprise, the student continued rude, dangerous, and disruptive behaviors. No matter how many times security was called, students were sent away, or in some other way punished, the poor behavior continued.

Teachers did not have the power to actually suspend or discipline students, so whatever threats they made of punishment lacked the follow through with the administration.When I shared these experiences at the meeting the stakeholders were shocked but the administrators quickly came to the defense of the BEP by saying that students were “punished” and then “worked back into the classroom.”

I’m sure by now that you’re aware of several incidents of staff and faculty being harmed by students but I can say from first-hand observation these are not even close to all actual incidents of staff taking blows from students. What I found is that the community stakeholders were all too willing to assume that these incidents were incredibly rare, or that the staff must have provoked the students in some manner. I imagine if staff were actually present they would have … been able to share all sorts of horror stories.

Administrators ran the show

This leads me into my last observation: I firmly believe the lack of students and staff at these meetings was intentional. It’s a lot easier to get “feedback” from community stakeholders who have absolutely no idea what’s occurring at these schools and does not truly affect them. Especially with how MMSD sold the BEP to the public, it was never going to get any objection from someone who is not in a school day in and day out. It’s a lot harder to confront all the issues the BEP created or exacerbated when you give a voice to your students and faculty.

… The administrators, although polite and kind, seemed more interested in sticking with their agenda. The following years at my high school continued with the same issues and resulted in some of the finest teachers I’ve ever had fleeing to other districts or retiring early.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for all the teachers and principals I had throughout my time as a student with MMSD, and I want to make it clear that I firmly believe that what I witnessed and experienced was not poor teaching, but poor administrating from the district.

No surprise the BEP failed

After sitting in on these meetings and seeing how the district operates in order to execute their agenda, it should come as a surprise to no one that the BEP failed, and whatever they construct to replace it will fail as well.

About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in Madison schools, Progressives, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to ‘No surprise the school behavior plan failed’

  1. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    ”a student would be removed from class for poor behavior and then be sent back before the period was even over and continue the behavior.”

    This has been going on for looooong time!

    To wit: Spring of 1971 (JMM sophomore/GO SPARTANS) I threw a book to a guy, he didn’t catch it, and it hit a teacher.

    3 day vacation AND my Dear 94 Year old Father (a Parole Officer at the time) had to go in for a sitdown with the Vice Principal, and yours truly, to get back in; I didn’t have told be told twice.

    A friend (couple of years older) with whom I played FB, later became a teacher at Jefferson MS. He said he retired because he was afraid he was going to get physical (“before I killed someone,” if memory serves) with some of his students. He could have, he was one tough SOB; played MLB with a certain…um…edge, might I add.

    They’d tell him to GET F****D he’d kick them out, they’d get sent to the Principal’s office, they’d be given candy and a time out, and were back shortly thereafter.

    Bear in mind, these is 8th grade and under AND he retired over 10 years ago!

    Ask yourself; have things have gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse?

    We spend our lifetimes teaching others how to treat us. Where do you think these kids learn how to act, where/how do they learn what they can do and get away with?

    I’d say can or CAN’T do or get away with, but thanks to coddling Lefty administrators & Jenny (Cheat’em) from the CELL block, they’re in school without any semblance of proper, acceptable behavior because being told NO would bruise their self-esteem.

    Lefty just doesn’t get it; the permissive/hand’s off attitude guaran’damn’tees that the School-to-Prison pipeline is ALWAYS filled, and will remain so.

    12-15 year-olds don’t start out stealing cars and viciously attacking innocent citizens (as Madison’s Gang of 30 is wont to do), they graduate to it.

    Guess where they do their undergrad work?

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      Since Madison liberals are utterly incapable of admitting that any of their policies could possibly be flawed or ethically challenged or ill-considered, their only recourse is to slap on another band-aid and pretend everything is hunky-dory (and do everything in their power to convince everyone else that the system is humming along just fine). My fear is that under the oh-so-diverse new school board, the sacrifice of a child’s life is the only wake-up call that will catch their attention.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

      Erratum:

      Between “it hit a teacher” and “3 day vacation,” should have included:

      Instead of going to the Vice Principal’s office as instructed, I went to the cafeteria (the class I was kicked out of was last period) and hung out with my peeps until the end of the school day.

      The next day, a note awaited me in home room to visit VP Mr. Patterson’s office tout suite. He and I got along pretty well, but this was, in no uncertain terms, ALL business; he informed me that not only what I did (hitting teacher with book) but didn’t do (see him immediately yesterday as ordered) was unacceptable PERIOD.

      BOOM: with all deliberate speed, he assigned me a three day furlough. With no buses to convey me mid morning and no cars to steal, I walked the ~ 2 miles/3.22 kms home, beset by acute disquietude and left to ponder what fate awaited my facing my Dear Father, whom I knew would never buy my spin.

      (snip)

      The Gotch

      Liked by 1 person

      • Batman says:

        Gotch, your comments provide a stark contrast between then (functional school) and now (dysfunctional school).
        At least you had a caring responsible father at home.
        Makes just a wee bit of difference…

        Why is it that nearly everything Lefty controls turns to $#!t.

        Like

        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          @Batman;

          You got to JMM one year later after “graduating” from Orchard Ridge, am I right?

          I remember talking with a former substitute teacher client in her mid 70’s (daughter similarly employed) in rural NW Washington County about classroom comportment and not believing my ears.

          She went on about unruly students flitting about whenever they took a notion and, seeing what must have been poorly masked incredulity in my eyes, said: “Gotch, when’s the last time you were in an EL/MS/HS classroom?”

          I told her it had been quite some time, and that was ~ 25 years ago.

          When I lived in Middleton (1986-95) I’d occasionally run through the JMM grounds. From ~ 1988 on, I saw a gradual change with increased “tagging”…I mean Urban Artistic Expression, and a LOT more trash blowing around; my take was the school buildings/grounds were slow decline, to say nothing of what was going on inside.

          I won’t waste my time asking Righties, but my question to Lefties: MMSD facilities, and the responsibility of both teachers/administration and students (teaching and learning), indoors and outdoors; are they getting better, staying the same, or getting worse?

          Perhaps Li’l Jeffy might weigh in and tell us how great things are?

          The Gotch

          Like

  2. Ana says:

    Like Blaska and a brave journalist, this eye witness student should be applauded for telling the truth about what is going on in our schools, rather than knee jerking an unworkable concept like the BEP. Why are our leaders so unscientifically rigid? Either/or thinking is called”splitting” by psychologists..and it is considered an emotional illness. Madison’s educational leadership held on to a failing reading program, called Whole Language, much longer than other districts..ones who know how to assess programs, admit failure and quickly move on. Why hold on to BEP?
    People suffering from either/or thinking should not be in position of leadership. If zero tolerance was cruel to some students, it doesn’t mean “anything goes,” even repeated violence, is the better way. Rational leaders can embrace nuance..such as some students benefit from restorative justice, and some students must be removed from the regular classroom. Tax payers are very tired of funding schools whose leaders suffer from “splitting”.
    If our present leaders keep up their strangle hold on restorative justice for all misbehavior including violence, we must assume that they do not care about teachers, children who are able to behave well, or academic achievement. I repeat myself, citizens should make educational leadership afraid of being sued for unsafe schools. At present, they only are afraid of being sued by parents of repeatedly violent children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      A very astute analysis of the mindset of Madison’s civic “leaders.” Either/or thinking is also readily apparent in the Democrat/Socialist party, where either you spout the approved slogans of their fanatical ideology or suffer the opprobrium of being called a racist, a hater, an elitist, a misogynist, an Islamophobe, a homophobe, a transphobe, blah, blah, blah. Ever wonder why the Democrats have such an ever-expanding arsenal of slurs and epithets and why they take such glee in employing them? Something to do with insecurity stemming form the paucity of their ideas, perhaps?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Batman says:

      “Madison’s educational leadership held on to a failing reading program, called Whole Language, much longer than other districts..ones who know how to assess programs, admit failure and quickly move on. Why hold on to BEP?”

      Perhaps you are being rhetorical here Ana but just in case not; the radical regressive Left fiercely adhere to their political/social ideology because it is their religion, their identity, and we all know how open minded and flexible those folks are.

      Like

      • Ana says:

        B,
        I share your rage. (I know some progressives read this blog). My hope is to nudge a few knee jerk progressives out of over using the primitive, emotional section of their brain and tap into the rational part. I attempt to do that through the Socratic method…questions that make one think. Maybe batting my head against the wall?
        Ana

        Like

        • Batman says:

          Ana,
          Blaska received 21,230 votes in uber lefty liberal Madison. You are not wasting your time and you are not alone. Planting viable seeds usually bears fruit…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Tom Paine says:

          A,
          Seems you haven’t read my posts here. Socratic method for 30 years……..and concluded from direct experience that it was only an existential act. Others simply could not understand, even if they wanted to.

          Teaching staff that I knew had “skulls of mush,” the legendary characterization of John Houseman about law students series: The Paper Chase. Reality was more depressing than TV. At least, Houseman could claim success with a few members of each class.

          The notion that Socratic reasoning could force dialectical contradictions of educrats to a higher level of awareness, sadly, is mistaken.

          Like

  3. Batman says:

    This just in:
    Word on the street is the ongoing chaos, violence, dysfunction within MMSD is an incubator for a frustrated, angry, bullied student(s) to commit a mass school shooting.
    This really should be obvious to those in charge.

    Misguided, naïve, timid, and woke Madisonians will have plenty of blood on their hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sprocket says:

      Like Parkland, liberal discipline policies and disdain for law enforcement will keep the trash from being taken out, despite obvious signs exhibited by the defective. Also like Parkland, after the little degenerate shoots a bunch of people, lefties will demand the rights of everyone be restricted to make up for their failed policies.

      Like

      • Batman says:

        WORD

        Like

      • richard lesiak says:

        By “rights” do you mean unregulated access to ever conceivable weapon of mass destruction known to mankind?

        Like

        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          @richard lesiak;

          Oy! THAT makes everything else you’ve ever posted seem absolutely brilliant.

          Considering your body of…um…work, let that sink in!

          The Gotch

          Like

        • richard lesiak says:

          I asked a simple yes or no question gotch. Considering YOUR body of work let that sink in. FOOL.

          Like

        • Sprocket says:

          Now that we’ve confirmed it’s safe to ignore Comrade Lesiak in regard to firearms, due to his complete ignorance, we can move along to more productive things.

          While I disagree with the application, in principle there is common ground. If we accept that rights must be restricted in the interest of public safety. I think it best applied narrowly, to retain the most freedoms for the most people. In this case, if we look at the numbers, homicides with firearms are a phenomenon of young black men. In fact, blacks commit murder at over 700% the rate of whites. I would suggest the Constitution was not written in a time when crime of this scope existed and is outdated. It’s clear if we were to reinterpret 4th Amendment protections to apply only to low crime communities many lives would be saved. I think limiting the rights of a small percentage of the population is a small price to pay public safety.

          Like

      • richard lesiak says:

        I asked a simple question that requires just a yes or no answer gotch. Considering YOUR body of work let that sink in.

        Like

        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          @richard lesiak;

          Au contraire, it (“unregulated access to ever (sic) conceivable weapon of mass destruction known to mankind?”) was an inane question, something for which you’re well known.

          It wasn’t expecting an answer as much as designed to emulate a common fishing technique where a baited line is dragged behind a moving watercraft.

          A humble suggestion; not hittin’ the sauce so early might prevent duplicate nonsensical posting.

          And < 4 minutes apart?? Sheesh!

          The Gotch

          Like

    • George's Son says:

      Agree bigtime. However, “Dysfunction” seems to be supplanted today by a newer descriptor, concerning the Jefferson School kerfluffle. Local news: “Principal Dr. Tequila Kurth sent a letter to Jefferson Middle School families Wednesday saying school staff tried to calm the “DYSREGULATED student”. Just sayin’

      Like

      • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

        12 year-old female injures not one, but TWO LEO’s???

        Feral Thugs-in-Training do NOT belong around other children and the MMSD Superintendent need to be FIRED!

        Oh to be a fly on the wall as the newly installed DIVERSE school board decides how to spin this.

        The Gotch

        Like

        • richard lesiak says:

          A fly on a wall runs the risk of getting SMACKED.

          Like

        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          Commenting on this blog provides a far GREATER risk than that of getting SMACKED.

          It supplies an opportunity for a moronic, off-topic, bespawling, slobbering reply. An example of which is provided directly above.

          The Gotch

          Like

        • richard lesiak says:

          ping

          Like

  4. madisonexpat says:

    Dear MMSD teachers, one thing is certain, you will get your ass kicked by students, the school board or both.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Larsen E. Whipsnade says:

    When I was a high school teacher years ago, the only ones who tried to push me around was the Laurie Wynn WEA teachers union. I refused to join. I might have if they hadn’t tried to intimidate me into joining. As for the kids (students), they were actually very civilized, and as a recently-returned Vietnam vet, it wouldn’t have gone well for them if they tried anything uncivilized/physical.

    Like

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