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Principal threatens to give students detention over parents' no-show at open house

Published: Saturday, September 30, 2017 @ 9:59 AM



KIRO7.com
(KIRO7.com)

An elementary school principal in Washington wanted to give his students detention because their parents did not show up to an open house.

The Bethel School District apologized on behalf of the principal, who has since retracted his statements in an email sent to parents.

Thompson Elementary School Principal Ralph Wisner wrote an email to third-grade parents this week about low turnout at an open house.

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Wisner wrote that it was “unacceptable” only 18 families showed up to the event. He wrote it was “inexcusable” and that they represent only 19 percent of parents of the grade, who attended to listen about homework and requirements for students to be ready for higher education.

The principal said that there would be a re-do of the parents’ night, and if families couldn’t attend, there would be consequences for students.

“To best communicate with me, I want you to write a note and send it to school with your child,” he wrote. “In the note, please explain why you were not here and let me know that you will be at the Parent Night on Monday. If your child comes to school tomorrow with no note, they will serve a double detention (recess and lunch). If they do not come on Monday with the note, they will again have a double detention (recess and lunch). If there is no note and you do not come on Monday at 6 p.m., your child will have double detention all week next week,” the email said.

After hearing from parents who were offended, Wisner wrote in a follow-up email that his message was flawed. Wisner said he retracted his order on detention, which he claimed was an “initial error” on his part.

KIRO 7 News reached out to the Bethel School District about the email. They sent this statement: 

“In writing his email, the principal’s passion for parent involvement got the better of him, and the email should not have been sent,” wrote Bethel School District Director of Communications Doug Boyles.

“As soon as the district became aware of the situation, we were in contact with the principal. He drafted a second email, apologizing to parents, that was also sent last night. The new email states that no students are receiving detention because of parents’ absence at the open house. The new email also invites every parent who wants to further discuss their concerns, to contact the principal today.”

Wisner spent Friday reaching out to parents and talking about the emails.

Ohio lawmakers could mandate students learn cursive handwriting again

Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

VIDEO: Ohio Students May Soon Have to Learn Cursive Handwriting Again

Some Ohio lawmakers want elementary school students to be able to print letters by the third grade and write documents in “legible cursive handwriting” by the time they finish fifth grade. The Ohio House could vote Dec. 5 on a bill to require a return of teaching cursive writing

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In February, Ohio House Education Committee Chairman Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, introduced a bill to mandate that kindergarteners through fifth-graders be instructed in handwriting.

RELATED: Cursive returns to Louisiana schools with new law

Schools have dialed back handwriting instruction to make more time for core academic requirements, such as helping struggling readers in first through third grades.

RELATED: What happened last time lawmakers tried to bring cursive back?

Cursive instruction is included in the state’s “model curriculum” for grades 3 and 4 and the State Board of Education passed a resolution in early 2014 in support of teaching cursive. But it isn’t a hard-and-fast requirement.

RELATED: Other states have mandated cursive for public schools

The same bill was introduced in 2015 but failed to pass before the two-year legislative session ended. Advocates of mandating cursive instruction say it helps hone fine motor skills, is needed for signing important records , and comes in handy when reading historical handwritten documents.

Substitute teachers accused of forcing students to crawl on asphalt track as punishment

Published: Saturday, December 02, 2017 @ 3:06 PM

The hands of one of the children allegedly injured during a physical education class in Florence, Texas.
Courtesy of Nancy Gonzalez
The hands of one of the children allegedly injured during a physical education class in Florence, Texas.(Courtesy of Nancy Gonzalez)

Police are investigating reports that two substitute teachers at a Texas middle school caused children to injure their hands Thursday by forcing them to crawl on an asphalt track during a physical education class, said Florence Police Chief Adam Marsh.

Charges have not been filed, Marsh told the Austin American-Statesman.

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Marsh said he has seen blistering and bruising on the hands of four children, who were in a sixth-grade class at Florence Middle School. He declined to release the names of the two teachers being investigated.

READ: Georgetown preschool teacher accused of slapping 4-year-old

Marsh said two sets of parents filed complaints with the police at 6 p.m. Thursday saying their children were forced to do bear crawls around the track. A bear crawl is done on the hands and feet without the knees touching the ground. The exercise is used for endurance and strength-building, Marsh said.

Police are continuing to investigate the case, which involves many children, he said. They will submit their findings to the Williamson County District Attorney’s office to see if charges should be filed, Marsh said. He said Child Protective Services also is involved in the investigation.

He declined to comment further on the case.

Lisa Block, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the state agency is working with the police to investigate the incident.

One of the parents who filed a complaint with police, Nancy Gonzalez, spoke through an interpreter during a phone interview with the Austin American-Statesman Thursday.

Gonzalez said that when she picked up her 11-year-old daughter from school Thursday, her daughter had bruised hands. Gonzalez said her daughter told her that two substitute teachers forced her and her class to run and do bear crawls for half an hour around an asphalt track as punishment for what another student had done.

Gonzalez said she was “horrified” to see her child’s injuries and went to the school office to talk to someone, but that an official there wouldn’t talk to her.

Florence School District Superintendent Paul Michalewicz said Friday school officials are cooperating with police and also are conducting their own investigation. He declined further comment.

Teacher told student to 'go back to Mexico,' protesters say

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 1:24 AM

School bus (stock photo). AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo
AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo/Austin American-Statesman
School bus (stock photo). AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo(AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo/Austin American-Statesman)

4 p.m. CST Wednesday: Several students who walked out of Fulmore Middle School in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday told the Austin American-Statesman they were protesting because a teacher in a Social and Emotional Learning class told a student, who was speaking Spanish at the time, to “go back to Mexico.”

The teacher made the statement about two weeks ago, according to students who were in her classroom at the time, and some Fulmore students felt that administrators did not adequately address what this teacher said.

In a letter to the school’s community, Fulmore Principal Lisa Bush acknowledged that "an adult staff member made an insensitive statement to a student. Comments such as that are not tolerated at any level and appropriate actions were taken."

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Bush’s letter did not specify what was said nor what action was taken.

Multiple students said the school building was damaged during the protest. Students mentioned a window was broken, part of a fence was knocked down and a ceiling tile in a hallway was punched.

At least one school board member commented on the situation. 

“I am confident the superintendent and his team are gathering the facts and responding appropriately,” said school board member Geronimo Rodriguez, who represents South Austin. “I expect a quick response. This is a teachable moment for our diverse community regarding our culture of treating people with dignity and respect.”

ORIGINAL STORY: A group of students walked out of the Fulmore Middle School building as part of a protest Wednesday, according to school officials.

School officials said students are now back in their classrooms.

Related

District investigating after school video mocking slavery goes viral

Published: Saturday, November 11, 2017 @ 1:46 PM



KIRO7.com
(KIRO7.com)

A senior at a high school in Washington state is upset about a video featuring her classmates that she says mocks slavery.

Michelle Boyd told KIRO7 she recorded the video this week at Lindbergh High School. For a school project, students performed a song  during which they changed the lyrics to a well-known nursery rhyme.

"Old MacDonald had a slave," the students sang. "E-I-E-I-O. And with that slave he worked all day. E-I-E-I-O."

Boyd explained why she found the video offensive. "I mean I don't think it was necessary for them to make a mockery out of it. Because people did die in slavery. They were raped and beaten and stuff like that. I don't think that is a joke at all," she said.

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Boyd confronted the students, but she claims they told her that the teacher gave them permission to perform the song.

Boyd showed the video to her mother, Charrita Tatum, who posted it on Facebook.

Tatum said she learned almost immediately she wasn't the only one who found the video offensive.

"Anytime there's a question, it should have just been nipped in the bud," Tatum said. "I do feel like the teacher's judgment call on this was absolutely incorrect."

"It's disturbing," Renton school district spokesman Randy Matheson told KIRO7. "It's inappropriate and it needs answers."

Matheson says with school out for Veterans Day, the teacher will have to answer for this Monday.

"A teacher should certainly know that checking with students to find out if it's OK is not the way you go about making sure something is appropriate in the classroom," Matheson said.

Michelle and her mother say they want the district to talk to the teacher and the students, three of whom are African-American, to make sure this doesn't happen again at Lindbergh or any other school.

A person named John Snarski on Facebook who claimed to write part of the song said the entire thing has been taken out of context and blown out of proportion. He also said he’s black and alleged Boyd was laughing during the performance.