Student/Teacher Confrontation at Southeast H.S.

This is the kind of incident that I’m really hoping this new “blue-ribbon task force” on school discipline will address.

A published report in the News & Record says an assault took place last Friday involving a teacher and student at Southeast Guilford H.S. According to reports, a teacher was initially struck in the face by a 15-year-old male student, and then was struck repeatedly. The student was arrested by the school resource officer (gee, can you imagine what would have happened if that SRO wasn’t there)  and was charged with assault inflicting serious injury, disorderly conduct and assault on a government official.

An excerpt:

Michael E. LaRocco, 55, was struck in the face by a 15-year-old male student shortly after 2 p.m., said Maj. Tom Sheppard. The blow caused LaRocco to fall to the concrete walkway. The student then struck LaRocco several more times in the face, Sheppard said.

We wish a speedy recovery to LaRocco. Again, this incident only heightens and stresses the urgency of the rampant discipline problems we have in some of our schools with some of our children.

********************************

UPDATE 4/30/07, 1:17PM: The N&R updated the story and it is actually worse than originally reported. See this excerpt:

In an interview Monday, LaRocco said the student had been disruptive and sent to an assistant principal’s office, where school officials were unable to reach the student’s guardians. The student was then escorted by school personnel to LaRocco’s classroom for additional assistance. LaRocco’s classroom is the designated time-out room for students with emotional and behavioral problems and it is school procedure to bring a disruptive student to his classroom, LaRocco said.
After entering the mobile classroom, the student began beating on the walls. Several students were in the classroom and LaRocco escorted the student to take him to the in-school suspension office.
“All of a sudden he jumped me,” he said.But Mr. LaRocco becomes very candid later in the article, look here:LaRocco, a 23-year teaching veteran, said he’s seen in increase in problems among students with behavioral and emotional problems as the school system has moved more of those students into the general population.”I’ve been saying for a while that there are some kids in a school setting that should not be,” he said. “The system knows it, but for whatever reason they let them back in.” LaRocco said the incident has made him want to take another position with the school system outside of the classroom.“I’d like to do something different,” he said.The system has failed this child, but it has also failed this teacher tremendously. Someone needs to step up and claim responsibility for this incident by day’s end if there’s any ounce of credibility left.

*************************************************

UPDATE 4/30/07, 11:34PM: see Fox-8 story here and link to photo of Mr. LaRocco.

*************************************************

 UPDATE 5/1/07, 7:58AM: The more I read about this incident, the more angrier I get. See today’s N&R story, LaRocco wants out. But I give him credit, for he’s talking…and willing to talk candidly about this incident and about the issues surrounding behavior and discipline.

An excerpt:

Michael E. “Rocky” LaRocco, a 23-year teaching veteran , works with disruptive students every day. But the 55-year-old educator is rethinking his job after a student knocked him unconscious and beat him Friday at Southeast High School , according to a sheriff’s department report.

On Monday, LaRocco said his eye was swollen and he was unable to walk. Several doctors’ appointments this week will determine the extent of the injuries to his knee and eye. He also said his ribs are sore on his right side.

This is also very interesting:

The district reported 71 assaults on school personnel last year, according to a state report. Thirteen of all assaults in the district resulted in serious injury, the report showed.

In the 2004-05 school year, the district reported 63 assaults on school personnel. There were 29 assaults that resulted in serious injury. Three principals trying to break up fights that year were injured within a span of about a month.

LaRocco said he’s seen an increase in problems among students with behavioral and emotional problems as the school system moves more of those students into the general population.

“I’ve been saying for a while that there are some kids in a school setting that should not be,” he said.

“The system knows it, but for whatever reason they let them back in.”
******************************************************************
Get well, Mr. LaRocco.

E.C. 🙂

DPI Officials Testify on Capitol Hill

From a State Department of Public Instruction (DPI) update:

On Monday, State Board Vice Chairman Dr. Jane Norwood testified before the
US House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor hearing on
NCLB: Preventing Dropouts and Enhancing School Safety. North Carolina New
Schools Project President Dr. Tony Habit testified the next day before the
US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on
NCLB Reauthorization: Modernizing Middle and High Schools for the 21st
Century. Both presentations highlighted successes, challenges, and future
directions for North Carolina public schools. Dr. Norwood’s closing remarks
included this statement, Effective, meaningful and rigorous high school
reform policies are needed at the local, state, and federal levels in order
to increase graduation rates, prevent dropouts and raise overall student
achievement.

E.C. 🙂

Top Teachers Issue Call for Revamped Pay Plans: Wash. Post

Teachers have their own ideas on how they should be paid.

Tired of reports by business executives and Cabinet officers on how to fix U.S. schools, several award-winning teachers produced their own recommendations this month, starting with a major overhaul of how teachers are paid, according to a Washington Post article today.

An excerpt:

The report, sponsored by the Hillsborough, N.C.-based Center for Teaching Quality, said teachers should be able to advance through three tiers — novice, professional and expert — and schools should stop paying teachers more just because they have more years on the job.

“If you don’t have a career ladder that encourages teachers to advance in their profession — and be paid accordingly as they advance — tinkering around the edges by providing $2,000 bonuses for a handful of teachers will not secure the stable, high-quality professional workforce we need,” the teachers said.

In particular, the group said, pay plans should “reward leadership, not seniority.” It said that “qualified teachers who take on additional responsibilities — mentoring novices and peers and preparing new teachers, creating family- and community-outreach programs, serving on advisory councils and the like — should be paid for their time outside the classroom.” And the jobs should go not to the oldest teachers but to the ones with the best classroom results, the group said.

Taking North Carolina as an example, the group suggested an annual pay scale that started at $30,000 for a novice and climbed to $70,000 for an expert. But an expert with extra school improvement responsibilities could make as much as $130,000.

The full report can be found here.

E.C. 🙂

Principal Shortage?

Did you know we had a shortage of qualified principals in North Carolina? News to me…and a consortium is trying to address this new shortage; take a look at this story from News 14 Carolina (watch the video too).

An excerpt:

Organizers say the program fills a critical need — there’s a shortage of principals in North Carolina and more than half of all principals will be eligible to retire this year.
“When you’re looking at 1100 principals can leave because they’ve completed 30 years or more of experience or work, we have a significant issue here,” said Brad Sneeden, director of the Principals’ Executive Program.

E.C. 🙂

Gradfest seeks funding: HP Enterprise

It’s time to start thinking about GradFest again. For those who don’t know, it’s the annual High Point extravaganza that brings together graduating seniors from Andrews, Central and Southwest H.S. See today’s HP Enterprise as the coordinators are seek­ing funding to ensure it’s still on this year.

An excerpt:

Graduating high school seniors from the three High Point high schools will get to party the night away June 9 as the 2007 Gradfest contin­ues an 18-year tradition.
But coordinators say they need additional funding to help pay for things like priz­es, food and entertainment that are a major attraction for the all-night, alcohol- and drug-free party.
Marchelle Fairley, a parent and coordinator of the event, said it takes about $17,000 to put the party on each year. Local businesses and organi­zations typically provide do­nations for the annual event. “We run off the donations we get and we put everything back into food, entertainment and prizes,” said Laura Vera, who is helping organize this year’s party.
Fairley said donations are “really low right now.”
Gradfest was started in 1989 and brings together seniors from T. Wingate Andrews, High Point Central and South­west Guilford high schools in a fun and safe environment on graduation night.

E.C. 🙂

2nd Bond Referendum Forum is Monday Evening

7pm in the auditorium at Penn-Griffin Middle School in High Point.

E.C. 🙂

Rookie teachers receive recognition: HP Enterprise

Finalists for the rookie teacher of the year for Guilford County have been named, according to an article in today’s High Point Enterprise.

An excerpt:

Eric Lyons, a rookie teacher at Florence Ele­mentary, says the most rewarding thing about teaching is when students accomplish some­thing they’ve set out to do. “When the kids are successful,and they seethey aresuccessful and they are happy, they are successful … that’s the most rewarding,” said Lyons, 31, a finalist for the Rookie Teacher of the Year award.
The honor is presented each year to a first­year teacher in Guilford County. Lyons, a University of North Carolina at Greensboro graduate, joins five other finalists for the honor, including Katherine Finch, a new teacher at Ferndale Middle School.
Building relationships with students, Finch said, makes her job worthwhile. “With the daily interaction …when you spend all day with a kid, you really get to know each other,” said Finch, 25, a graduate of the University of North Caro­lina at Wilmington and Campbell University.
Both rookie teachers say building trust and serving as role models for children are the best ways to connect with them. “Even with the ones that act up, I know deep down they really care. They are sweet kids and I tell them all the time I love them,” said Finch, who teaches middle school English.

Congratulations to you all.

E.C. 🙂