Unforced errors by administration

Print Article

Do school officials want to solve problems, or hide them?

CALL IT ANOTHER self-inflicted wound on the part of management in the School District of Beloit.

Apparently, administrators took it upon themselves to roll out a form for when and how the police officers assigned to certain district buildings - called school resource officers, or SROs - would be notified of student behavioral situations. The forms would have to be filled out and turned in, then reviewed by top administration, where the decision may be made whether to handle the situation in-house or involve the cops.

Obviously, all that could add bureaucratic muddle, take extra time and potentially place the judgment of teachers and staff crossways with administration. What impact that might have - positive or negative - on student behavioral issues is at least debatable.

THERE ARE LOTS of problems associated with how this matter appears to have been handled. For starters:

• A little over a year ago, at a full-staff town hall meeting between teachers, staff and board members, front-line workers made clear they believe behavioral issues regularly interfere with learning. They also revealed an apparently widespread belief among staff that administration does not have teachers' backs. Our guess is those same teachers see this latest notion as further evidence administrators just don't get it.

• With discipline becoming a hot-button issue with staff and the general public, it is astonishing administration would move ahead with a plan like this without the due diligence of involving the school board in the decision-making process. Board members found out through an anonymous email from a teacher.

• Remember, those SROs are police officers, not school employees. This is stunning: Police Chief David Zibolski told the paper his department just learned of the plan, had not approved or agreed to it, or even engaged in full discussions. In our view, nothing illustrates the half-cocked nature of this administrative strategy more than that.

IN PAST COMMENTARIES, we have made our position clear on the district's serious disciplinary challenges. Teachers are there to teach. Students are there to learn. Misconduct strategies must focus first and foremost on clearing obstacles to the teaching-learning process for the majority of kids who want - and deserve - to get a good education, particularly when safety issues exist.

In our view, this is further evidence administration is not committed to that proposition.

This is the bottom line. Soon, kids will leave school and have to find their way in the adult world. They will learn immediately that skills are indispensable. They will find out employers do not want and will not hire troublemakers. They will learn the adult world has no use for them unless they bring marketable value to an organization.

Harsh? Maybe. But true.

Print Article

Read More Editorials

Truth can survive 'fake news'; it cannot survive disinterest

August 16, 2018 at 9:55 am | THOSE of us in the field of journalism value independence above all, so it takes a lot to get reporters and editors from across the spectrum to lock arms and stand together. But that's what is happe...


Read More

The value of independent reporting

August 16, 2018 at 9:55 am | The Boston Globe - which has served since 1872 the city that is the cradle of American liberty - initiated a "call to action," asking journalists to speak as one voice on Aug. 16 to defend fact-based...


Read More

Develop better vetting process

August 13, 2018 at 10:13 am | Leadership determines everything, so clean up the background checks. WHEN IT COMES to hiring key personnel in leadership posts, the best surprise is no surprise. The School District of Beloit nee...


Read More

Tell the Founders to just shut up?

August 13, 2018 at 10:13 am | Too many Americans are edging toward embracing authoritarianism. AT THE TOP of this page is the text of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Read it, please. Then think about th...


Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2018 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy