Archive for September 16, 2010

Thursday Night Dance Party

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What (Some) School Administrators Consider Important

At my granddaughter’s elementary school (third through fifth grade), the teachers have to have their blinds at the window lined up in a uniform fashion. If one teacher has the blinds open, ALL the teachers have to have the blinds open at the identical level from room to room. If the blinds are down, they ALL must be down (and, you guessed it, at the same level). If not, the offending teacher is called in and bitched out.

That’s certainly not the most chickenshit thing I’ve ever heard of out of administration, but it comes close!

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More Unintended Consequences, or Sucks To Be Me!

You know, I’m simultaneously amused and appalled by rules that are written by clueless people that have never been in our situation (i.e., classrooms with behaviorally and/or mentally-challenged children).

The state restrictions are fairly reasonable and we can live with them. The county folks then go completely nuts in their interpretation and get much more restrictive to the point that, if we follow their guidelines to the letter, we’d be immediately fired. If we don’t follow their guidelines, of course, we could be immediately fired. So, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Especially since they say orally that the written restrictions are a guideline and we should use our own judgment, which is bureaucratese for “If the parent sues because you went contrary to our written guidelines, you will be unemployed AND have to defend against an expensive lawsuit and perhaps prison time. Sucks to be you!” If a child is injured because we followed the guidelines to the letter, then “But obviously this was a judgment call, and you were supposed to exhibit good judgment! Therefore, you are unemployed and will face an expensive lawsuit. Sucks to be you!”

Sigh.

Every kind of restraint* that we employ has to have several copies of documentation about the incident sent out to all sorts of bureaucrats on the local, state and Federal level, as well as to parents documenting the incident(s). Long, long forms. If there are several incidents in a day, well, there goes the day (and the evening). You think the school/administration isn’t going to penalize a teacher (with a lot of demon-infested children dumped in the class) that has to do a lot of restraints to keep them from murdering each other? If the teacher decides to ignore the behavior so that he/she isn’t in form hell with administration, parents and lawyers scrutinizing the paperwork for possible violations and lawsuits, there goes learning for the rest of the class. Then it is basically a daycare center for large, LARGE children. Of course, if learning gains do not take place, they’ll be (wait for it!) fired. If the teacher doesn’t restrain a violent student and another student is harmed, he/she will be fired and no doubt will face a juicy lawsuit.

The teachers are divided on what to do. The ones without a lot of time invested into the field are looking into career changes; the ones with lots of time in that are getting close to retirement are basically saying “I’m too old for this shit, I’m gonna let the police handle it”.

Letting the police handle it is probably the best option, but it sure is going to piss off the parents.

And lest you think that I’m kidding, there actually are parents that pick their child up from daycare or a babysitter, then take their children home, take their clothing off, and photograph the child for any unexplained marks. Kids run and play. We just don’t know where every mark came from, since we don’t strip ‘em down and photograph them at any time of day. We don’t KNOW what the kid was doing at the daycare center.

*A “restraint” can be as complicated as a person with specialized training holding an extremely violent child who has been hurling computers and desks gently and securely against a well-padded mat on the floor with the assistance of two other certified and trained people, to a simple thing like catching a child’s hands that are in the process of striking another child and removing him/her from the scene, to using one’s hands on one child to release another child from an overenthusiastic hug that is choking him/her. They all have to be painstakingly reported. In the past, we’d only report the first incident. Things like the second and third incident happen multiple times per day.

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