Education

Teacher struck by student at McLane High, heightening concerns over discipline approach

Fresno Police were called after a teacher at McLane High School was hit by a student in class.
Fresno Police were called after a teacher at McLane High School was hit by a student in class. ezamora@fresnobee.com

A teacher at McLane High School was struck by a student in class Tuesday, the latest incident amid concerns from teachers that the school’s restorative discipline policy has led to numerous on-campus fights and disruptions.

Police and campus safety were immediately called after Tuesday’s incident, which is under investigation, according to an email sent to McLane teachers by principal Scott Lamm. There is no Fresno police report on record yet of the altercation, which happened during fifth period.

Fresno police Capt. Mike Reid said Wednesday afternoon that his officers are waiting to interview the teacher to determine what charges, if any, will be filed against the student. He said the student has been suspended.

Lamm says the school nurse attended to the teacher, and “as an added safety precaution, the teacher was seen by a physician.” The teacher is taking a few days off work “to rest,” the email said.

In the email, Lamm asked teachers to post the main office’s phone number above the telephones in their classrooms and commended students for calling the office to report Tuesday’s incident.

This is not representative of McLane – it is not who we are, and not what we are about.

McLane High School Principal Scott Lamm

“This is a good time to discuss with your students about what to do in the event of an emergency where a teacher is not able to make the call themselves,” he said in the email. “Please know that McLane High School and Fresno Unified takes these incidences very seriously and will be taking appropriate disciplinary action. This is not representative of McLane – it is not who we are, and not what we are about. We have care and concern for one another, and when something like this happens to one of us, it affects all of us.”

In December, a majority of teachers at McLane signed a petition demanding a stricter and more consistent student discipline policy, as well as more say in how students are punished for their actions.

Starting in 2014, schools in the McLane High region became the first in the district to implement restorative practices: strategies that aim to fix issues at the heart of student misbehavior, instead of merely kicking students out of classrooms.

While suspensions and expulsions at Fresno Unified have dramatically decreased since then, some teachers say the pressure to curb disciplinary action has led to zero consequences for students, and out-of-control classrooms.

“This is unfair to students who come to school ready to learn and the teachers who are ready to engage them,” the petition stated. “Our students are losing valuable classroom instructional time, which is depriving them of their right to an education, decreasing their chances at success in college and careers, and affecting the morale of staff members. These are not new concerns, as they have been raised by staff and dismissed by administration for years.”

Staff writer Jim Guy contributed. Mackenzie Mays: 559-441-6412, @MackenzieMays

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