I was contacted by another concerned, irate parent yesterday afternoon about school violence. The issue, incessant bullying and violence directed at his 7th grade son. "I'm worried my son will snap, I'm worried he will go off on these students that are harassing him, and this is going to be really bad if it happens!" he stated to me in our long phone conversation yesterday afternoon.
"I've never ever dealt with such an incompetent response to a significant problem---what can I do, what should I do to ensure this does not happen to my son any more at Escambia County Schools?" was the question from this concerned father.
"It has been on-going ever since elementary school, and nothing ever changes and students are bullying and harassing my son and other students as well-- and it is getting to a point where I will consider pressing charges!" he continued "Last week, my nephew that attends the same school with my son was attacked, he was punched in the face and he was badly injured!--when will the employees of this school control this situation?"
I have received numerous complaints about violence in this school over the last three years. I am going to follow this particular incident very closely to ensure that our board policy is being followed with respect to the students who attacked other students at this school. There must be swift punishment for violent, aggressive and/or abusive misconduct at our schools. If the school only gives a weak consequence or worse yet no significant consequence for this sort of assault, I believe this parent will press charges. And I don't blame him.
The parent asked if he could take a couple of days to get the whole story out of his son and call me back on Sunday; additionally, he said he is going to talk to the school principal to see what is being done to correct this misbehavior. If the issue is not fixed, he reiterated the idea hat he may call the police and file a report.
Sad as it may sound, with all of the chances we give, sometimes and not infrequently it takes a parent pressing charges to permanently remove some predatory students from some of our schools. This is sad but true. Just last year, at a different middle school, we had a 6'1" 270lb 15 year old 8th grade student, on his 15th referral( with a previous record of several violent/aggressive incidents), punch a 6th grade girl in the face and injure her. In that case, that student received an anemic punishmnet--a week out of school. When he came back (which he should not have been allowed to do, in my opinion) he eventually ended up sexually assaulting two different female students on a bus, their
parents pressed charges, and he was arrested and removed from that middle school. True story, and sad.
We have got to get this under control. We have to remove violent, abusive students from the regular schools, and into alternative settings where they are not a danger to other kids. The political correctness must end or my standing advice to the frustrated parents of these vicious assaults will be simple: Press Charges,
Bending over backwards to appease social justice groups does not work, appeasement does not work anywhere ever; not in a war, not in a negotiation, not in operating safe schools, and not in dealing with the school-yard bullies in our midst.