Monday, February 21, 2011

The students are running the show at Pinellas Park Middle School

A recent fight at Pinellas Park Middle School courtesy St Petersburg Times

This week Pinellas Park Middle School, in Pinellas County, Florida was in the paper reporting 50 arrests since September. This is in addition to almost 466 suspensions, making it a very violent school. There is still another ½ year of school, so one wonders what those numbers will be at the end of the school year.

Hubby was a substitute math teacher, and he saw firsthand the discipline problems. Things got so bad that he refused to work at several schools, and Pinellas Park Middle was one of them. Students would often swear at teachers and disrupt the class. It was extremely difficult to teach. The administration at this school does nothing to help their teachers.

Now, according to Chris Schafer, former president of the Schools Advisory Council for Pinellas Park Middle School, he is aware of;

This is not the only violent school. It’s just the school that currently has the highest arrest numbers currently.

Last year this time John Hopkins Middle School, also in Pinellas County, Florida had similar arrest/suspension numbers to Pinellas Park Middle. By the end of the school year this school had 1192 suspensions at 122 arrests. The school has 1209 students in grades 6 to 8. That’s almost the entire student population.

Almost all of the schools in Pinellas County have a high number of student arrests and suspensions. Are schools like this elsewhere in the US or is it just Florida?

Something is definitely not working. Why are so many children being arrested? Why is there so much violence? Many school administrators simply have the school resource officer arrest and take the child to jail rather than deal with the issue at school before it gets out of hand. How can any child get an education with all the classroom disruptions?

Compare to local schools in Ontario, zero arrests. I believe suspensions are also low. I have asked the children what happens at school, and apart from children sometimes being chatty in class when the teacher is trying to get their attention, they are not aware of their classmates being sent out of the classroom or disrupting lessons.

Why is there such a difference between Florida schools and Ontario schools? I wish I knew, but it seems that American children also deserve to go to a safe school where they can learn.


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