By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
OPB interviewed a former Hazlebrook teacher and equity coordinator over the two school fight videos for which she offers many problems with the school — the main problem being a lack of” restorative justice” teaching in the school.
OPB reports, “Julianne Ackerman worked at Hazelbrook Middle School for the last two years as a seventh-grade language arts teacher and the building’s equity coordinator. She still works in the area but has left Hazelbrook, in large part, due to what she described as staff’s resistance to equity work … she said, the problem is an embedded culture at the school … Many teachers there, she explained, want to “stick to what they know.” … Few people showed up to equity meetings … “It was so hard that I (had) to leave,” she said. “It was a really unsafe situation for the kids.” … Ackerman said middle schools have seen an increase in fights across all socioeconomic factors. And she claims the majority of Hazelbrook teachers aren’t actually implementing restorative justice. When used correctly, Ackerman says restorative justice is supposed to prevent violence from getting out of hand and help restore student relationships if it does.”
Portland area schools are seeing a increase in violence.
Yet, liberal teachers blame the lack of liberal programs on the violence, even though they are occurring in the state’s most progressive school districts which have the most implemented progressive policies. Part of that policy is a campaign to not discipline students for acts of disruption. A former Hazlebrook teacher commented on how students in the school were allowed to get away with bad behavior and breaking the rules on a regular basis. Portland policies have included removing police officers from providing security in the school. Oregon passed a rule making it harder to fire a failing school superintendent. The Portland school district office saw a 67% increase in staff in five years while schools within the district saw a 15% decline in enrollment, yet this newly-hired army of new government employees responsible for a shrinking population of students can’t control the increase in violence. By one measure , it costs taxpayers $40,000 per student to teach them.
The message coming out of this is “If only the progressive school districts were more progressive, then violence would be reduced”. That statement betrays itself.
We think schools should follow the non-violent school models, and that requires more discipline, more local control, less bureaucracy, and more teacher control over their classrooms.