NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- In a letter to Isaac E. Young Middle School parents dated January 29, 2018, Assistant Principal Tawanda Robinson warned that as all students have been taught the Tier 1 expectations over the first two marking periods that school now reserves “the right at this time of year, to implement second stage consequences or higher.”
Students have been warned about “disrespect towards staff, lateness to class, loitering in the hallways, use of foul or inappropriate language, horseplay/rough play, running and screaming in the hallways, fighting, and bully behavior”, said Robinson.
The Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports “pyramid” describes three tiers and says nothing about waiting until the second half of the year to go beyond Tier 1.
The letter lists 5 “consequences”:
- First Consequence: Verbal warning and or act of restoration
- Second Consequence: Lunch detention and or act of restoration
- Third Consequence: 2-hour after school detention/2:30-4:30
- Fourth Consequence: Loss of privileges such as field trips and end of year activities
- Severity Clause: Suspension out of school for up to five days for severe acts such as fighting
The letter indicates that there have been no disciplinary “consequences” for any students during the first half of the school year just “warnings”. Even if this made sense, and it does not, shouldn’t it only apply to “new” students, primarily 6th graders, and not students who have been in the school for two or three school years?
Principal Dr. Anthony Bongo disclosed recently that last week he suspended 10 students and filed for expulsions for two students. What is not clear is whether those are the only “Second Consequence” or above issues during the current school year.
In a recent exchange with faculty members, Dr. Bongo raised concerns about students wearing hats, hoodies, and ear phone buds in classrooms. He said some teachers condone this behavior, noting that rules on mobile phone use are “fluid”.
Teachers at the school have complained about what they perceive to be an edict “from above” meaning the Central Office, that the policy is simply “no suspensions” in an effort to lower the count of suspensions.
Robinson continues her letter by saying “We will notify you should your child receive an administrative office referral, detention, or suspension in or out of school.”
The Code of Conduct for any public school in New York State contains a “due process” section for a student just like an adult accused of a crime: notification of intent to suspend, hearing, facing accusers, calling witnesses and so on. A school cannot notify a parent AFTER a suspension; it is a violation of the student’s civil rights.