Letters to the Editor

Dollars, not safety

The apparent student violence at DeWolf High School (editorial Jan. 26) should be no surprise to anyone familiar with the philosophy of the Fresno Unified School District.

If you merge Susan Smith's letter (Jan. 25) to the trouble at DeWolf and other Fresno Unified schools, a disturbing pattern emerges. Ms. Smith summarized Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson's article on education as skewed toward being a business rather than for the education of students. Fresno Unified's decisions seem to revolve around and prioritize average daily attendance, the formula through which school districts receive funding only when a child is in school.

There appears to be an unwritten administrative directive to keep off-campus suspensions down and student expulsions nearly impossible, regardless of the offense. Keeping students, even those with a history of violence, on campus at all costs has given rise to former "opportunity" classes, and now "transition" classes on secondary campuses.

Trouble on academic campuses will continue as long as the leadership of Fresno Unified is steered by dollars instead of student and teacher safety, and as long as those in charge remain reactive rather than proactive.

Steve Nahigian