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Old 11-13-2009, 03:46 PM
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Default Combating violence in the classroom

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...CLES/911119872

Montgomery High School Assistant Principal Mitchell Carter was performing his usual lunchtime supervision when a sophomore ran at him from behind and began swinging.

FOUR INCIDENTS, FIVE RESTRAINING ORDERSSept. 1: Piner High Assistant Principal Steve Mizera and campus supervisor Matthew Dold diffuse an argument between a 17-year-old student and his girlfriend. But the boy swings at Mizera, pushes Dold three times and attempts to head-butt him.

Sept. 2: Montgomery High School Assistant Principal Mitchell Carter suffers a bloodied face and dislocated shoulder after a recently suspended 15-year-old student attacks him.

Sept. 9: Cook Middle School teacher Tina Geffner is attacked after asking a 14-year-old to put away his iPod. The student stands, punches her in the face, tears her shirt and chases her into the hallway before fleeing campus.

Oct. 2: Lewis Opportunity School teacher Patrick Houlihan is threatened after questioning a student about deep gashes in his arm. The threat: “If you snitch on me fool, I'm going to come back to school and f--- you up, I'm going to kill your family, and I'm gong to blow up the school.”

Source: Sonoma County Court records

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The recently suspended 15-year-old student, whose arm was in a cast, began hitting Carter in the head, bloodying his face.

Another student pulled the boy off of Carter, but not before the assistant principal had sustained a dislocated shoulder in the Sept. 2 incident.

Santa Rosa City Schools filed a restraining order, preventing the student from coming within 100 yards of Carter until 2012.

While restraining orders to protect teachers and staffers from violent students remain rare, the Santa Rosa district has successfully sought five orders, all within a four-week span in September and October.

Typically, only one or two are sought during an entire school year, said George Valenzuela, the district's attorney.

Carter, whose experience is described in an affidavit filed in support of the restraining order, said that in two decades as a school administrator he had never been assaulted.

“It's an unfortunate situation when adults are getting assaulted or when students are getting assaulted. It's symptomatic of ills in our culture,” Carter said. “One is too many, particularly if it's you.”

The five restraining orders, which all prohibit the students from coming within 100 yards of the district employees for three years, stemmed from four incidents at four campuses between Sept. 1 and Oct. 2.

In addition to the Montgomery incident, the others occurred at Piner High, Cook Middle and Lewis Opportunity schools. Two restraining orders were issued in the Piner case.

“It's an unusual year,” Valenzuela said. “I wish I had the answers. We have always had kids that misbehaved. I guess this year is different. Maybe it's the economy, maybe people are indigent, maybe there are more broken homes, maybe it's the marijuana use by a kid or alcohol.”

Alcohol was involved in at least one case, and marijuana use might have been a factor in another, said Santa Rosa Police Officer Alan Rosenthal who works as a school resource officer at Piner High and Comstock Middle schools.

While restraining orders are up over last year, the number of expulsions year to date has not increased significantly.

Last year, about 200 referrals for expulsion were filed in the district, Valenzuela said. Through Oct. 26, about 70 students were referred for expulsion.

Not all referrals result in an expulsion. Getting suspended and referred to an expulsion hearing does not necessarily mean a student is barred from returning to school in the interim.

In the Montgomery High incident, the boy was back on campus and awaiting a hearing for swearing at school staff members and banging his fists on the windows of the main office when he attacked Carter.

Montgomery Principal Laurie Fong, citing student confidentiality, would not comment specifically on the incident in which Carter was injured. But she said each case is handled individually as to whether a student is allowed to return to school while awaiting a hearing.

“It depends on the case, and the case depends on the egregiousness of the attack,” she said. “Every student is different and every circumstance is different.”

At Piner High, Assistant Principal Steve Mizera and campus supervisor Matthew Dold were attacked by a 17-year-old student who had been arguing with his girlfriend on campus after school before turning on the staffers, according to court documents.

The 200-pound, 6-foot-1 student tried to head-butt Dold and made a running swing at Mizera. Dold was pushed three times by the student and Mizera was uninjured, , according to court documents.

A week later, a 14-year-old Cook Middle School student punched teacher Tina Geffner after she told him to put his iPod away in class.

The student, who is more than 6 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, hit Geffner in the face, tore her shirt and chased her into the hallway while Geffner called for help, the affidavit said.

At Lewis Opportunity School, a student flew into a rage after veteran teacher Patrick Houlihan asked him about what looked like a series of fresh knife wounds on his forearms.

The 15-year-old student, in a profanity-laced tirade, threatened to hurt Houlihan:
Santa Rosa police made assault arrests at all four campuses on the days in question, but Sgt. Lisa Banayat would not confirm who was arrested because the cases involve minors. Officials at Sonoma County's juvenile hall also would not comment on details of the cases.

The Press Democrat generally does not name minors unless they are charged as adults or are suspected of committing particularly heinous crimes.

All staffers, except Geffner, have returned to their schools.

“The main thing for us, the incidents have occurred and the administrators have acted very, very quickly,” said Superintendent Sharon Liddell.

“In this day and age, when threats are made and things happen, people take them very seriously,” she said of the restraining orders. “In an instance when we feel that is needed, we do go to that extra step.”

District officials and educators on the four campuses maintain the schools are safe.

“I don't believe it's a reflection on the school at all,” Rosenthal said. “We had four situations on four different campuses. It doesn't happen that often. It's a random thing.”

Wayne Sakamoto, executive director of the California School Resource Officers Association and director of Safe Schools for the 21,400-student Murrieta Valley Unified School District in Riverside County, said aggressive acts at schools are on the rise.

“We are mirroring the same issues,” he said of his school district. “I think it's multiple layers. One is the issue of the economy and the issue of aggression or anger seems to be almost the norm for this younger generation.”

The economy could play a factor in forcing students' families from their homes, a parent's job loss or families breaking up under stress, Sakamoto said.

“Because of what may be happening at home, students will go off on the first authority figure they see,” he said.

Montgomery High is a safe campus, Carter said. But even the safest places can be affected by violence, he said.

“There is a lot of violence in our society. Schools are a reflection of the community,” he said. “Yes, Montgomery is a safe school, but even in safe environments, there are breakdowns. Even in the safest neighborhoods, it's the same things.”


Nice Kid, eh?
"“If you snitch on me fool, I'm going to come back to school and f--- you up, I'm going to kill your family, and I'm going to blow up the school,” Houlihan's affidavit said."

CB.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:01 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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They listen to rap music, they're given excuses for their behavior, they're given 'their rights' and entitled to do what every they want basically. Now there's a question as to why this is happening? This is not the first time our country has seen hard times. Did students attack the school faculty during those other recessions/depression? Is this 'financial difficulty' excuse the faculty gives the exact reason these students are acting up? How many more excuses can these educators come up with before they'll face up to the truth and come up with the cause instead of giving excuses. The problem or "cause" is that they let our schools become student empowered instead of the other way around. They teach that all authority is wrong and we are a horrible society, and they need to change it. What's the problem now? They don't like the change that its become? How long can you teach disrespect for our foundation as a society and not expect someone to act on it. Well hows that for change!

Last edited by Jeanfromfillmore; 11-13-2009 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:17 PM
Don Don is offline
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you can't have a first world society with a third world population. Their behavior in school matches their behavior on the outside. Why is anyone surprised.
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:55 PM
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Commander Bunny Commander Bunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanfromfillmore View Post
They listen to rap music, they're given excuses for their behavior, they're given 'their rights' and entitled to do what every they want basically. Now there's a question as to why this is happening? This is not the first time our country has seen hard times. Did students attack the school faculty during those other recessions/depression? Is this 'financial difficulty' excuse the faculty gives the exact reason these students are acting up? How many more excuses can these educators come up with before they'll face up to the truth and come up with the cause instead of giving excuses. The problem or "cause" is that they let our schools become student empowered instead of the other way around. They teach that all authority is wrong and we are a horrible society, and they need to change it. What's the problem now? They don't like the change that its become? How long can you teach disrespect for our foundation as a society and not expect someone to act on it. Well hows that for change!
Two words: Sanctuary County.

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