Friday, December 7, 2012

I guess it depends on what the definition of a "hostile learning environment for students" IS

 Grissom High School JROTC cadets, instructors, and parents showed up in full force to defend their instructor against charges of bullying two female cadet members.

Yesterday I wrote about the legal lynching of  Shirley Taylor, the University Place Elementary School teacher who was fired by the superintendent after she was accused by the former principal, Towana Davis, of mistreating students, thereby creating a hostile learning environment.
Davis accused Taylor of creating a "hostile learning environment for students," in part by telling one boy in November 2011 that "he wasn't going to amount to anything or make anything of himself." The boy's mother wrote a letter to the school to complain after her son came home in tears.
Davis also received a letter from a HEALS health clinic staffer who complained about two incidents with Taylor that she witnessed. In one incident, when students were being dismissed for the day, she allegedly heard Taylor screaming at her students, among other things, that they'd "never amount to anything" and "can't do anything right."
In the second incident, when the HEALS staffer went to pick up a child in Taylor's classroom, Taylor allegedly humiliated the boy in front of his classmates by calling him "sick" and in need of medicine. With "more malice in her voice than I can describe in words," the HEALS staffer wrote, Taylor insulted the boy several times while he sat hunched over at his desk, crying.
When a female, Grissom High School, JROTC cadet complained to school officials after being verbally abused by the male instructor, which is currently under investigation by the Feds, school officials said when teachers verbally abuse students it's not Bullying.
An attorney for the Huntsville City Schools had this to say about a bullying incident at Grissom High School earlier this year:  "While you and I may agree that preaching at school that homosexuality is sinful and against the Bible, is not appropriate, this is not bullying."  Really.  How about when it's a teacher berating a student on the topic to the point that she leaves the room in tears? 
Then there is the case of the 15 year old Butler student who was beaten and striped in the schools bathroom, and who initially was denied an emergency school transfer for her safety.   In this case the superintendent and the school board called the incident horseplay, and placed the blame on the victim and the community.  To my knowledge, neither the principal ,or any teachers have been reprimanded, much less fired.
The student claimed she was beaten in the school bathroom by three female students. She said she had her shirt and bra stripped off and had to walk the hallway topless looking for help.
Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski said her transfer being denied was not accurate. He said in order to transfer a student for a safety reason, there must be proof of two things. There must be proof it was a violent crime and that the harassment continued afterwards, which, at the time, he didn't have either.
Finally, there are the public accusations of privatized abuse/torture at the Pinnacle Schools, a private, residential, drug treatment, program contracted by the school board, after they closed and sold the public Fletcher E. Seldon Alternative School.

“The academic programs of The Pinnacle Schools are designed to support students therapeutically by providing a safe learning environment in which their self-esteem is positively impacted by success in school.”
In my opinion, all three of the above incidents are more conducive to creating a hostile, unsafe, learning environment, than a teacher being overheard telling a student they would never amount to anything, or, for telling a sick child they are sick and need medicine.  Sounds like the HCS BOE has a different definition of a hostile learning environment for students for different folks.

Today's Must Reads
Time to End Zip Code Education
NAACP seeks to mount shakeup in U.S. Education
Mississippi school-to-prison pipeline continues to outrage

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