MMSD ‘took the progressive approach’
It is fair to ask, if a school resource police officer had been patrolling the halls at Madison East high school would the school have erupted into yet another episode of rolling brawls? The latest, Monday 11-08-21 required a dozen police squad cars, two ambulances, a fire truck and pepper spray. Five kids taken to hospital. Two charged with misdemeanors. More fair questions:
- How many of the combatants will be disciplined?
- What will those disciplines entail?
- How many have been involved in the earlier fights?
- What is the district doing to stop them and make our schools safe?
“My school. It’s not a safe place for a lot of people.”
Calling all police cars
Madison Police have been called Madison’s four main high schools 185 times between September 1 and October 21. (The complete list here.) It’s not just East High. A teacher at Sennett middle school reached out to Blaska to report:
“I’ve been teaching in Madison for 23 years and have seen the steady decline of hallway and classroom behaviors and the increasing tolerance for bullying by students … at the expense of the victim’s rights to a safe and sane learning environment. … The staff that I work with, a strong majority who feel the same as myself, need an alternative voice to bring change to our “woke” school board.”
→ Three of seven school board seats are up for election next April. Candidates must file by January 4. (Here’s how.)
Expelling police in summer 2020 was only the most recent and visible trophy in the Madison school district’s campaign to abolish discipline, itself.
The district behavior plan adopted six years ago actively discourages out-of-school suspensions. The school board this autumn outright banned suspensions through fifth grade. Result? Fewer suspensions but more behavior incidents. Should that surprise anyone?
- Out-of-school suspensions dropped from 2,905 in 2013-14 to 2,521 in 2017-18, the last year we were able to find. (Which is telling in itself!)
- Behavior incidents nearly doubled from 35,460 in the 2013-14 school year — the year before the BEP went into effect — to 69,279 in 2017-18.
“Six years ago we made a major shift. Our community consensus was a zero policy toward discipline wasn’t working, that it was having a disproportionate and negative effect on students of color. … We took a step into uncharted territory — to embrace a restorative and progressive approach, one that aims to keep students in school.”
Time and again, the school district has pulled the rug out from under disciplinarians. The most tragic example is the “positive behavior coach” at Whitehorse middle school in 2018 who did everything by the book and still got the hook. As it did the principal at East High.
In Madison’s public schools, principals no more control their schools than teachers rule their classrooms. It’s all done by remote control from Doyle admin. Which is to say, it is not done at all.
It’s not just Madisons schools. Katoine Richardson walks free today after causing the shooting of a Madison police officer on State Street. Afer blowing ridiculously low bail three times earlier. Madison as a whole practices critical race theory — the myth that America is institutionally racist, white people are guilty of unconscious bias, that gang bangers are actually victims dating from 1619.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: The odd thing is that the East high school brawls were not Jets versus the Sharks. Which suggest the problem isn’t race, it is behavior — because discipline has been outlawed.