Friday, November 16, 2007

Discipline Policy would permit Bad Discipline

I was chatting with C-J's Toni Konz about the school board on Wednesday when she told me she was working on a new story. Apparently, a Jefferson County principal had issued a directive to his faculty that they could no longer have students removed from class for failure to follow directions, profanity or vulgarity...and more; the kind of discipline policy that permits poor discipline.

When I saw the photo of the principal in her article this morning, I was surprised. Then I wasn't.
Louis Hughley Jr is a former Lexington school administrator who once accused former Superintendent Robin Fankhauser of having a systematic racist plot to eliminate black administrators. This, after his position was eliminated under a district plan to move more resources from the central office to instructional areas.

Branded a "bad apple" by his father, Hughley grew out of his street gang to get an education and become a teacher and school administrator. "He was a bad kid. A smart kid, but bad," Margaret Edwards, who grew up with Hughley told the Herald-Leader. "Let's just say I never thought he'd be my supervisor. Not ever."

A former Mayor of Micro-city Government, he stood by Ron Berry after his 2000 conviction by a Louisville jury on 12 counts of sodomy with boys under 16 years old. Hughley wrote to Judge Lewis Paisley, "I strongly encourage you to weigh the positives against the negatives. I am sure his good traits will outweigh his bad traits. He has suffered enough and deserves no further punishment."

In the early 90s when he was in charge of Fayette County's summer school programs, I had occasion to complain to former Deputy Superintendent Edythe Hayes about shortcomings in his department.

On the other hand, I have rarely heard anyone with a singing voice as smooth and buttery as Hughley's. I'm talking serious chops, here.

After his stint in Lexington, Hughley served as principal of Knight Middle School which at the end of his tenure in 2005 posted a CATS Accountability Index of 63.6 with 30% novices.

The 2007 CATS Accountability Index for Western High School sits at 56.1 with 41 percent novices and an equally dismal NCLB result.

Here's Toni's story from the Courier-Journal.

Principal rescinds new discipline policy
Western teachers objected to rules

A day after Western High School teachers were ordered not to kick students out of class for nonviolent behavior such as swearing, using cell phones and plagiarism, their principal rescinded the policy after teachers complained.

But principal Louis Hughley Jr. said the problem that prompted his short-lived policy remains -- too many teachers are sending too many students to the office for disciplinary problems they should be handling themselves.
...Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, said Hughley went too far with a blanket edict that undermined teachers' ability to control their classrooms.

"If a teacher has a problem and they need to call security, the teacher should have the right to call," he said. "If they are calling for questionable reasons, it should be dealt with individually between the administrator and the teacher."

The issue illustrates some of the frustrations that principals and teachers are experiencing as they try to keep order in the classroom....
...Hughley's initial memo to Western teachers said they could no longer have students removed for the following: failure to follow directions; failure to remove or put away electronic devices (such as cell phones); profanity or vulgarity to other students; horseplay; gambling; forgery; and plagiarism.

The memo said teachers could have students removed for: verbal abuse or profanity toward staff; intimidation, harassment or striking staff; arson; assaulting or fighting other students; bomb threats; pulling fire alarms; theft; and any kind of drug-related infraction.

No comments: