Much of Ms. Lorene Carey’s thinking behind the revised code of student conduct (re “New code of conduct…”  by Kristen Graham; August  17, 2012) is as philosophically immature as it is administratively unreasonable.  Community organizers believe that suspensions don’t address the causes of minor infractions like dress code and chronic lateness.  The “one size fits all” approach of zero tolerance does not work.

Building principals need wider latitude to address these concerns. Flexibility to duly redefine or reclassify elements of crime when needed, for example, is desirable but should not become a pretext to accommodate misbehavior. Whatever is laid down should be enforced 100%.

The reportage in the liberal press is remarkably silent about the lack of parental involvement when it comes to teaching their children basic social skills.  Punctuality, preparation, proper attire and most importantly, a willingness to do one’s best are the keys to success in school as they are later in life.  These fall squarely in the purview of
parents, the child’s first teachers and especially, the students themselves.

Parents need to be involved in and attentive to these fundamentals.  Sadly, many are not.  The problem for school staff, then becomes one of initiating parental outreach.  This can be done effectively by leveraging technology the district now has through automated calls, letters home and so forth.  From these, conferences may be scheduled and parental involvement initiated all while minimizing tedium, distraction and active teacher intervention.  Additionally, parents should be afforded electronic access to their children's records in both attendance and class grade systems so they can stay informed and remain accountable.

Cheerleading for students who misbehave will not avail.  Neither will tolerance nor accommodation. While children have a right to an education, they do not have a right to disrupt the educational process.  Those who do and will not comport, eventually must be removed. Ms. Carey must be made to understand this universality and be understood by it.
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