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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Louisiana Fed Up with Unruly Students?

Gov. Bobby Jindal will push legislation to give teachers more authority to remove troublesome students from their classrooms...

Did you know that it is against the law in some places for teachers to send misbehaving students to the principal's office?

Currently, teachers can remove students only when the behavior is deemed to prevent teaching or poses an immediate safety threat. Jindal wants to add new circumstances for removal,
including unruly behavior, threats to teacher or students, inappropriate physical or verbal conduct, property destruction or harassment.

Is anyone else surprised that the idea of teachers removing unruly students from their class should be a legislative issue? It seems to me the current law is satisfactory. When students are disruptive, they are by definition preventing teaching, usually by exhibiting unruly behavior and verbal conduct. What specific disruptive behavior could possibly be acceptable under current law?

Everyone knows that teachers have little respect and esteem in American society. Many teachers are actively discouraged from sending students to the principal's office. The administration construes an office referral as prima facie evidence that the teacher is unable to maintain control in the classroom. We need to change our attitude. Education in the context of a classroom is a group activity. Education is a right and a privilege for all. If a student cannot appreciate class, even a boring class, even a class with a less than stellar teacher, simple respect and courtesy would demand that the student be somewhere else, like the principal's office. Students should not be permitted to disrupt class and interfering with their classmates' right and privilege to an education.

One tangible way school administrators could support the teachers and promote higher levels of respect is stand fully behind the teacher's decision to remove disruptive students rather than hold it against them. Teachers soon learn that their best strategy is to stay out of the administrator's radar. Teachers and students should not be punished with having to put up with misbehaving classmates.

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