Regarding your Dec. 10 article on McLane High School discipline, the vast majority of teachers and administrators strive daily to make a positive difference in kids’ lives.
I was surprised, however, that a trustee, quoted in the article, thought that data showing a decline in suspensions and expulsions was an indicator that discipline must be improving. A drop in suspensions and expulsions is only proof that the school is not suspending and expelling at the previous rate. It doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about classroom environment.
That 70 of 85 teachers signed a petition complaining about school discipline is a red flag deserving action. If you really want to know how discipline is faring, conduct a confidential survey of students and teachers. They know.
Students can tell you if classroom climate is better, about the same, or if it’s worse. They can cite the things they see and hear each day in their classrooms. Share the results with all stakeholders, including the students.
Interventions and placement of some students in alternative programs is essential, because the other 95 percent of kids come to school each day wanting to learn.
Ronald Bohigian, retired teacher/principal, Fresno