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.

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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.

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

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 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.”
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Get well, Mr. LaRocco.

E.C. 🙂

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