Or is it “The Secular Humanists are Ruining Education”? Either way, an apt cliche.

Part 1 is about an article, Part 2 is commentary from other sources, and Philadelphia is not unique with this problem.

Today’s example of Government Incompetence is from Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

There are continuing problems with violence in Philadelphia public schools where a teacher suffered a broken neck after being attacked by a student last month.

Burd’s injuries drew national media attention and ignited complaints from Philadelphia teachers and their union, who contended that violence against teachers was on the rise in the 174,000-student district and underreported by some principals who want to make their schools look good.

Ugh. Principals selling out the teachers so the school “looks good”. So, just how many assaults are happening, and by what age group?

District numbers show a 4 percent increase in assaults on teachers and administrators this school year, many of them committed by children in kindergarten through fourth grade.

On average last school year, three or four of the district’s more than 11,000 teachers and administrators were assaulted on any given school day.

Philadelphia has had a slightly higher victimization rate than the national average for urban districts. In 2003-04, 5.5 percent of urban public school teachers reported being assaulted, compared with 8 percent in Philadelphia that year.

Three or four assaults a day. Many by kindergarten through fourth graders. Has it always been this bad? Not necessarily, but it has been bad for a long time.

Assaults on teachers, though rarely serious, have plagued the district for years, drawing public attention only when a particularly egregious attack or series of attacks occurred.

Six years ago: A second grader threatened to bring in a shotgun and kill his teacher. A high school teacher was out on workers’ compensation for months after being jumped from behind, punched and kicked while trying to break up a fight. A chair was thrown at a middle school teacher, and weeks later she was threatened by the same student, who said she would pour gasoline on her and set her afire.

But certainly, all the assaults are being reported, right?

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers says the numbers are higher than the district is reporting – an accusation [District CEO Paul] Vallas disputed.

“The reason they are not accurate is that people are being discouraged from reporting,” said Ted Kirsch, president of the union.

He said the union was looking into reports that teachers at one West Philadelphia elementary school must obtain permission from school officials to fill out a discipline slip. “You can’t do that,” he said.

If you guessed that the union leaders would recommend hiring additional staff to help fix the problem, YOU WIN THE PRIZE!!! Specifically hiring “non-teaching assistants” to help police the hallways. They would also be dues-paying union members. The District has been using volunteer trained help.

As the district has tried to fix the problem, it has gotten worse!

Within two months of his arrival in July 2002, he announced a “zero tolerance” crackdown on violence and disruption in the schools and threatened to fire principals who failed to report incidents. The policy, embraced by the union and parents, led to a large increase in reported incidents in the 2002-03 school year.

But it was no panacea.

Problems persisted: Shootings outside schools that claimed the lives of students. Large-scale fights in the big neighborhood high schools. Loaded guns found in lockers and hallways. A rape committed by a middle school youngster while classes went on around him. A kindergartner who punched a pregnant teacher in the stomach.

Each major incident prompted a new reaction from Vallas.

More security cameras, including high-power models expected to capture the scene around schools’ immediate neighborhoods. More metal detectors. Special classrooms for young offenders. A more than threefold expansion of the district’s outside-managed disciplinary schools, which as of Friday had 3,279 students enrolled. New schools for students who are older than average for the grades. And smaller high schools, which have shown better attendance and grades and fewer suspensions for disruptive behavior.

Vallas tried to put armed city police officers at the high schools, but Mayor Street rebuffed him.

The district also took steps to streamline its disciplinary process, hold monthly meetings to analyze attendance and school crime data, and beef up violence prevention and intervention programs – all points that drew praise from consultant Ellen Green-Ceisler in a report released March 1 that was largely critical of the district’s disciplinary process.

Last week, Vallas announced a new teacher safety hotline – 215-400-STOP. It had received nearly 50 calls as of late Friday.

If the new hotline received 50 calls in 10 business days, that is 5 per day, and with 3 to 4 assaults per day, the violence may be keeping pace. There have been a lot of structural changes to address the problems, including 10 day suspensions and felony charges to be filed against students who attack teachers. Everyone agrees this is a good thing, right?

Others, however, said the move would further criminalize youths, many of them troubled and hurting.

“We’re turning our schools in a lot of ways into pathways to jail,” said Howard Stevenson, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Adults, who have “emotional power” over youth, sometimes provoke a child who already is troubled, he said.

“There are things that lead up to those aggressions. Very rarely do you have a kid who has no concern for human life or dignity that would act out,” he said.

Stevenson called for a “tribunal” of adults to evaluate assault cases before punishment is meted out.

A “tribunal of adults” is already in place. It is called a court of law, the police, the District Attorney, etc… Also if the case is not that bad, the teacher can refuse to testify. After the new policies were put into place, a ninth grade student pushed an Assistant Principal which would have resulted in a ten-day suspension. The adult, the Assistant Principal found out that the student was released from a psychiatric hospital five days earlier after having been kidnapped and raped. The Assistant Principal let it slide. No need for a separate tribunal.

But how do you fix the problems on the inside? A person can try to make their house break-in proof but it is far better if the burgla
r doesn’t want to commit the crime in the first place. How does the administration suggest they fix the problem? Why, by teaching the Ten Commandments again, and prayer in schools, and teaching traditional values that have been passed down through the ages and the common values that hold a civilized society together.

— GOTCHA!!! Not really, here’s the real suggestion:

Shelly Yanoff, executive director of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth, called for more counselors, psychologists and personnel. Her plea comes as the district, which operates on a $2.04 billion budget, faces a $37 million deficit this year and much larger shortfalls in subsequent years unless cuts are made or revenue increases.

“You can’t police your way out of this. The kids are coming into the schools with issues and problems, and you need enough people there to deal with these problems,” she said.

No doubt the counselors, psychologists, and personnel would be prohibited from teaching religious values of any sort. Simple appeals to etherial concepts of humanity and playing nice, and other such nonsense will fill their minds. Another problem is that they are acting like the state can fix the problems when the families need to fix them. Tough stuff.

There’s an old joke about a young man arrested for stealing money donated to a church. The young man was in a room being questioned by police regarding the location of the missing cash. The minister was waiting in the hallway and a while later the police reported that they were making no progress, the young man was not talking. The minister asked if he could speak to the young man in private and five minutes later the minister had the information. The cops asked him what he said. The minister replied: “I told him that the police can send you to jail, but I can send you to HELL.”

Too many youth don’t believe in heaven, hell, the devil, or God. As long as kids don’t understand that their actions have eternal consequences, they will refuse to be governed.

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