I had an paranoid schizophrenic that refused to take their medicine in my class for a few weeks because nobody on campus could figure out the best way to help this kid. Not a good situation for anyone involved and the kid got put in ISS or was outright suspended multiple times until the school could come up with a plan.
We’ve written about it before, and, in fact, it’s the reason why we’re the only Dallas education blog currently blocked over DISD internet. (Yes, we’ve confirmed off the record that we upset someone and got blocked.)
As far as labeling goes, these students are either labeled incorrectly as discipline issues or problems students and that impedes the ability to provide the services that our students need. Compounding that issue is the assumption that these students are incapable of learning or succeeding that often comes with modifications and related labels.
There’s a solution to this, and no, it’s not “more training.” Part of fixing the problem is admitting one exists. One of the problems that sometimes accompanies a focus on data is the temptation to fake the data rather than changing behavior to improve the data. We have a lot of fake data floating around in DISD. Teachers have been trained to death. It’s much easier to just pretend to do things differently than to actually change behavior.
So what? Is the solution to start firing the fakers and bringing in new people? Also no.
It gets back to the question of why things are faked in the first place. Our teachers that work with our modified students and provide those much needed services know, without a doubt, that the district, state, and even the country doesn’t actually care about their job or what they do. Many of them feel like babysitters meant to cage the kids that disrupt the general population and move them on so they don’t linger too long.
The solution is, in short, care and respect.
We have to start caring about our students and our teachers. We have to start talking to our teachers about the realities they face. We have to stop labeling these students and the teachers that serve them as unimportant. The systems are in place, the trainings have happened, and the part that’s missing is the full implementation, on every campus, of these practices and policies that we’ve spent time and money crafting for the benefit of our students.
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