Today the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a ruling that a 16-year old student is guilty of misdemeanor stalking for yelling at another student almost 200 times:
According to court documents, the teen identified only as Jeffrey K. yelled at the girl close to 200 times over two months in 2004 at Omaha Westside High School. He shoved a chair directly into her path, causing her to stumble, repeatedly called her a “whore” and threw food at her, yelling “eat some more, fat ass.”
… and where was the discipline? Educators tout “behavioral interventions” [a phrase popular enough to be the title of a journal] designed to deal with “a multitude of dispositions” to create a “safe school environment” where a student can pursue an education without harassment, intimidation or any other artificial obstacle.
I’ve prepared the following test for those educators:
Q: How many times should you allow one student to harass another [physically or verbally] before dealing with the situation effectively?
We know that Omaha Westside High School chose A – you don’t have to. [Hint: Westside High failed.] Others can e-mail me their answers or leave them in the Comments section.
Disciplining students involves not only dealing efficiently and effectively with the offender, but also focusing primarily on the victim’s [and other students'] rights to a free environment. The issue here is liberty; the victim’s freedom from harassment is more important than the offender’s freedom to behave like a jerk and get away with it over and over again.
Students hardly report harassment of any kind. The onus is on staff to see the offense – and with 200 offenses, there were opportunities to catch at least a few – and involve the administration to handle the situation effectively. That administration also needs to have the resolve to remove the offender from the school environment instead of wringing their hands over the sad exclusion of a miscreant. My guess is that the time for removal came well before incident #173. Maybe even before #100.