I submitted a Letter to the Editor tonight in response to a NG
Saturday Monday Editorial (“New approach on suspensions“). My challenge for Jim Dey and the rest of the Editorial Board is to go hang out with some of the kids that are suspended (past or present) and learn a little more about who they are, their circumstances, and the classroom environments in which they “misbehave”. I am bothered that editorials can be so “off the cuff” and written without much substantiative backing at all. And I do not understand how Mr. Dey can proclaim to be in support of the program when his article drips with “good luck with that”. Nobody said it was going to be easy. In fact, I can guarantee it will be difficult and laced with trials. As Jamar stated at the Board Meeting on April 8th, it is all about relationships. And that is another thing; Mr. Dey was not at the board meeting and did not watch the video of it. I am now curious if he even read the materials on BoardDocs? Or talked to Mr. Orlando Thomas directly?
I emailed Mr. Thomas and requested student responses to his questions. He wrote back with a small list of replies to “What do you need to succeed?”:
- A job
- A tutor
- More time do to my homework in school
- More help from my teachers
- Another resource period to complete my homework
- More clubs, activities and sports
- More school dances
- A job for my mom
- Somewhere to go after school
- Cable tv at home
- Longer hours at Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club
- More black male teachers
- Ms. Lane-Rose (AP on active duty)
- Someone to help me to get into college
- A stable house, tired of moving
Wow! Some of those really tug at my heart. Obviously, “cable tv at home” kinda sticks out like a sore thumb (*grin*), but I give the kid kudos for being honest. Some of those other ones… I just have to ask, what can we do to provide those things? Perhaps TALP addresses some of those needs. I will remind you that these are responses from kids who have already been suspended at least once. I cannot help but wonder what would happen to these 15 students if they received what they said they needed. If you had the power to provide for these needs and you had the knowledge that it would counteract a suspension, would you consider that a fair trade?
No, seriously, I am asking. Even if you only chose to do, say, five from the list.
What’s stopping you?
EDIT: I said Saturday’s Editorial. *facepalm* I meant Monday’s Editorial.