LEVY: Elementary school teacher would 'feel safer as a prison guard'


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LEVY: Elementary school teacher would 'feel safer as a prison guard'
Sue-Ann Levy
More from Sue-Ann Levy
Published:
July 15, 2018
Updated:
July 15, 2018 6:22 PM EDT
Most days over the past year, Brookhaven public school teacher Shawn Goldman felt like he was a prison warden.
Only at his Black Creek Dr.-Lawrence Ave.-area public school — nicknamed Millhaven by staff — the inmates have been running the asylum while teachers stood by helplessly, rendered defenseless by the Toronto District School board’s (TDSB) lax discipline policies and complete denial about what’s truly happening in the trenches.
“There’s physical assaults, verbal assaults … It’s like working in a prison that is out of control,” he said. “I’d probably feel safer as a prison guard.”
During an interview earlier this week, the courageous nine-year TDSB surplus teacher said he felt it was crucial that he step forward because he’s just plain sick of what’s happening — the almost daily chaos and screaming and the physical and verbal assaults on fellow teachers, 50% of whom took a leave of absence this past year due to the stress.
Goldman himself, suffering from the untimely death of his 19-year-old son from brain cancer, took a leave in February before things got “really bad.
“People are not feeling safe working in schools these days,” he said. “It’s disgusting that the board will not step forward and say to teachers, ‘we’ve got your back.’”
He said it’s not just the administration that has turned a “blind eye” to the chaos but their union, too.
The former Israeli army soldier, who fought on the frontlines in the West Bank in the late 1980s, feels the violence he lived with during his time in the military is comparable to what some teachers are dealing with in TDSB schools today.
Goldman said he couldn’t believe it when he heard a kindergarten student scream at her teacher in front of the educational assistant, the vice principal and his entire Grade 5 class: “You f—— bitch, lick my p—-.”
He said the most violent incident occurred last fall when a female Grade teacher was accosted by four students in her classroom, two of whom grabbed her and slashed her across her forearm with an x-acto knife, drawing blood. They also ran the knife across her throat, he said.
Teacher Shawn Goldman (Jack Boland, Toronto Sun)
Goldman said when the teacher went to the principal’s office, blood dripping from her arm, she was told to “fill out paperwork.
“There were no consequences … this was a physical assault on a teacher and there were no consequences for what happened,” he said, noting the teacher went on leave of absence when she realized the board would not help her.
He’s seen kids punched in the face and head and dumped in garbage cans by other kids, bullying in the schoolyard, fights in the halls and in the lunchroom and has had to deal with kids rolling around on the floor, throwing books, throwing chairs and going in and out of his own classroom without permission.
Throughout it all, he said the principal they had for most of the year — until she herself took two stress leaves — opted to “coddle the kids, give them lollipop and send them back to class.”
Goldman said teachers were told they had to deal with the problems even if a “violent event occurred” and the principal’s office became a kind of “lockdown facility.”
“Kids are learning that they can assault an authority figure and there are no consequences … that’s what we’re teaching them,” he said.
When I met Goldman at the school last Friday to shoot video, a caretaker on site spoke of the countless metal doors (at $1,500 a pop) and windows that needed to be replaced through the year, along with a long list of other repairs that were required due only to the repeated vandalism by students.
While Brookhaven is in an impoverished area, Goldman added he also saw the same out-of-control behavioural issues in his last two schools.
He places the blame squarely on the former Kathleen Wynne government’s “progressive discipline” policy that “utilizes a continuum of interventions, supports and consequences to address inappropriate student behaviour…but must take into account the needs of the individual student by showing sensitivity to diversity … (blah, blah, and more blah.)”
To Goldman it basically means teachers “can do nothing to these kids.”
In fact, he said the principal told them at the beginning of last year that the head of the TDSB and Wynne’s friend, Dr. John Malloy, will not support student suspensions.
Malloy denied that in a series of e-mailed responses late last week, saying some suspensions are “mandatory as per the Education Act while others are at the principal’s discretion.”
But here’s the kicker. Malloy went on to say “discretionary suspensions are used as a last resort within a spectrum of progressive discipline.”
There you have it: Lollipop discipline in a nutshell.
Goldman also says Malloy’s nutty (my word) equity and inclusion policies have forced the behavioral problems into the same classrooms as the bright kids and the 80% of the kids who truly want to learn.
In fact, last year he suggested he take the dozen Gr 5 kids (2 girls, 10 boys) who were behavioral problems and work with them separately so the others can learn without disruption.
But when the idea was presented to Malloy and other board bureaucrats, the school was informed that they can’t “stream kids … they want inclusion.
“Their (the board’s) strategy is equity and inclusion, getting behavioural kids they know are disruptive and putting in the same classrooms,” he said. “The kids who are doing really really well are being ignored.”
Asked about the disruptive nature of troubled and violent kids on those who want to learn, Malloy insisted the TDSB is “committed to maintaining the safety of classrooms.”
Not so, said Goldman. He believes the strategy of inclusiveness is a deliberate effort to dumb down the curriculum
And it’s working, he says.
Most of the kids he taught last year were not performing at a Grade 5 level.
“This liberal attitude of touchy feely… we’re doing nothing…our standards are falling in the classroom for the bright kids,” he said. “The entire school system is broken and nobody is doing anything about it.”
But there may be hope on the horizon with Doug Ford as Premier.
Asked about the situation, education minister Lisa Thompson had this to say: “Together with our education partners, we will work around the clock to ensure students and teachers are safe, and that classrooms are places of learning, not chaos.”
SLevy@postmedia.com
Here’s the school’s Code of Conduct which seems to have been long forgotten:
BROOKHAVEN CODE OF CONDUCT:
I will speak and behave with respect to everyone
I will work and play with everyone in a fair and safe manner.
I will keep my hands, feet and objects to myself.
I will be responsible for my actions and reactions.
I will focus on my learning and do my best.
I will follow the routines and timetable of my class and of the school.
I will follow instructions.
I will solve problems in a peaceful manner …
I will take care of Brookhaven and help keep it clean and safe.
TDSB suspension and expulsion data for 2016-2017 (last available)
Number of elementary students suspended (across the system): 2,304
Number of suspensions (across the system): 3,570
Suspension rate: 1.3% (across all elementary schools)
No. of elementary students expelled: 1
Suspension rate in Grade 5: 1.5%
Incidents leading to suspension occurred 26.4% of the time in the classroom followed by 23.6% of the time in the hall
Police involved only 20% of the time in suspensions and expulsions
Number of students in Brookhaven: 430
Number of problem students in Grade 5 alone: 12 (or nearly 4% of the school)
TDSB PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE POLICY (handed down by the Liberal government and adopted by the school board in May 2013)
Discipline interventions include:
Discussion with a teacher, support staff, vice-principal or principal
Attendance/performance/behaviour contracts
Time Out
Reflection sheet
Parental contract and involvement in applying an appropriate remedy
Loss of privilege to participate in specified school activities
Peer mediation
Individual or group counselling
Detention
Restitution for damage or stolen property
Community service
Restorative practices
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http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...a-prison-guard
 
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spaminator
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LEVY: High School Hell
Sue-Ann Levy
More from Sue-Ann Levy
Published:
July 18, 2018
Updated:
July 18, 2018 8:25 PM EDT
Bendale Business and Technical Institute (Chris Doucette/Toronto Sun files)
Auto shop teacher Rob Ball used to enjoy his time teaching at Scarborough’s Bendale Business and Technical Institute — until two years ago.
The population of “tough” kids at this Toronto District School Board (TDSB) technical high school used to know “not to cross a certain line,” he says.
But in the last two years the “line doesn’t exist any more,” kids have “cussed him blind,” threatened to “slap” him out, hurled obscene epithets at him and other teachers, come and go as they please — with few to no consequences due to the board’s Progressive Discipline policy, handed-down by the Kathleen Wynne government in 2013 and embraced wholeheartedly by equity-obsessed TDSB education director Dr. John Malloy.
Ball, who’s taught for the TDSB for 17 years, was one of dozens of teachers and custodians — some retired, some not — who contacted me in response to my Monday piece on courageous elementary school teacher Shawn Goldman, who told the Toronto Sun he’d feel safer as a prison guard than teaching at Brookhaven Public School, where violence, physical and verbal assaults and obscene language are a daily occurrence.
Like Goldman, Ball agrees that the lunatics are running the asylum and administration has turned a blind eye to the problems.
In the fall, he’s moving to Maplewood High School, a high school for special needs students who he’s been told will appreciate being taught.
“I don’t see the progression (in the discipline) … there’s no discipline…,” he said. “Suspensions don’t happen.”
Malloy has denied that the board won’t support suspensions — noting that some are “mandatory” under the Education Act. However he did qualify that the rest are “discretionary” and “used as a last resort within a spectrum of progressive discipline.”
Too much violence in schools: teachers’ union
LEVY: Elementary school teacher would ‘feel safer as a prison guard’
Student charged after Ontario school hit with threatening graffiti: police
LEVY: TDSB wants to axe successful cops-in-schools program
School Resource Officer program axed by TDSB
Over coffee Wednesday, Ball said the school’s trustee David Smith came to his auto shop during the last few weeks of school in June to have his SUV repaired and did not ask anything about the school or seem to have much knowledge of what’s truly occurring within its walls.
Smith didn’t respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Toronto District School Board trustee David Smith. (Jack Boland/Toronto Sun)
Ball says in the past year, a pregnant teacher had chairs thrown at her. He’s also observed a young lady of about 15 scream at a supply principal of Asian origin, “You fat old Chink…”
One student told a female teacher: “Lick my f— p— you b—.”
He’s watched kids buying drugs in the field outside his auto shop and smoke weed in the hallways and under the stairwells.
Two years ago, administration told Bendale teachers not to insist students take off their baseball caps and hoodies in class because “it’s part of their uniform.”
Some girls come to class with their body parts showing, but many teachers are afraid to say too much because vexatious students will report them and administration will send the teachers on “home assignment” without even checking if the student stories are truthful.
“It’s letting them do whatever they want,” he said. “Now you have to be very cautious of what you say.”
He said meetings were held between representatives of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) and the principal and superintendent, but issues were never resolved.
Efforts to reach an OSSTF spokesman were unsuccessful Wednesday, despite promises that I would get a comment.
He said the School Resource Officers (SROs) — which were eliminated by the nutty trustees on the TDSB this past year — were the “best thing” for the school and the school was “much safer” when they were there.
Ball makes it clear that there are good kids in the school.
“When you have bad kids in the class and the good kids are trying to learn something, it takes away from their education,” he said.
The standardized test results from Bendale speak for themselves. Literacy averages at about Grade 5 among students and math skills are even lower, he said.
He feels the general decline in society starts in the schools and is carried out to the streets, noting that the violence this summer on Toronto’s streets is a consequence of that.
SLevy@postmedia.com
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...gh-school-hell
 
spaminator
+1
#4
LEVY: High School Hell
Sue-Ann Levy
More from Sue-Ann Levy
Published:
July 18, 2018
Updated:
July 18, 2018 8:25 PM EDT
Bendale Business and Technical Institute (Chris Doucette/Toronto Sun files)
Auto shop teacher Rob Ball used to enjoy his time teaching at Scarborough’s Bendale Business and Technical Institute — until two years ago.
The population of “tough” kids at this Toronto District School Board (TDSB) technical high school used to know “not to cross a certain line,” he says.
But in the last two years the “line doesn’t exist any more,” kids have “cussed him blind,” threatened to “slap” him out, hurled obscene epithets at him and other teachers, come and go as they please — with few to no consequences due to the board’s Progressive Discipline policy, handed-down by the Kathleen Wynne government in 2013 and embraced wholeheartedly by equity-obsessed TDSB education director Dr. John Malloy.
Ball, who’s taught for the TDSB for 17 years, was one of dozens of teachers and custodians — some retired, some not — who contacted me in response to my Monday piece on courageous elementary school teacher Shawn Goldman, who told the Toronto Sun he’d feel safer as a prison guard than teaching at Brookhaven Public School, where violence, physical and verbal assaults and obscene language are a daily occurrence.
Like Goldman, Ball agrees that the lunatics are running the asylum and administration has turned a blind eye to the problems.
In the fall, he’s moving to Maplewood High School, a high school for special needs students who he’s been told will appreciate being taught.
“I don’t see the progression (in the discipline) … there’s no discipline…,” he said. “Suspensions don’t happen.”
Malloy has denied that the board won’t support suspensions — noting that some are “mandatory” under the Education Act. However he did qualify that the rest are “discretionary” and “used as a last resort within a spectrum of progressive discipline.”
Too much violence in schools: teachers’ union
LEVY: Elementary school teacher would ‘feel safer as a prison guard’
Student charged after Ontario school hit with threatening graffiti: police
LEVY: TDSB wants to axe successful cops-in-schools program
School Resource Officer program axed by TDSB
Over coffee Wednesday, Ball said the school’s trustee David Smith came to his auto shop during the last few weeks of school in June to have his SUV repaired and did not ask anything about the school or seem to have much knowledge of what’s truly occurring within its walls.
Smith didn’t respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Toronto District School Board trustee David Smith. (Jack Boland/Toronto Sun)
Ball says in the past year, a pregnant teacher had chairs thrown at her. He’s also observed a young lady of about 15 scream at a supply principal of Asian origin, “You fat old Chink…”
One student told a female teacher: “Lick my f— p— you b—.”
He’s watched kids buying drugs in the field outside his auto shop and smoke weed in the hallways and under the stairwells.
Two years ago, administration told Bendale teachers not to insist students take off their baseball caps and hoodies in class because “it’s part of their uniform.”
Some girls come to class with their body parts showing, but many teachers are afraid to say too much because vexatious students will report them and administration will send the teachers on “home assignment” without even checking if the student stories are truthful.
“It’s letting them do whatever they want,” he said. “Now you have to be very cautious of what you say.”
He said meetings were held between representatives of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) and the principal and superintendent, but issues were never resolved.
Efforts to reach an OSSTF spokesman were unsuccessful Wednesday, despite promises that I would get a comment.
He said the School Resource Officers (SROs) — which were eliminated by the nutty trustees on the TDSB this past year — were the “best thing” for the school and the school was “much safer” when they were there.
Ball makes it clear that there are good kids in the school.
“When you have bad kids in the class and the good kids are trying to learn something, it takes away from their education,” he said.
The standardized test results from Bendale speak for themselves. Literacy averages at about Grade 5 among students and math skills are even lower, he said.
He feels the general decline in society starts in the schools and is carried out to the streets, noting that the violence this summer on Toronto’s streets is a consequence of that.
SLevy@postmedia.com
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...gh-school-hell