Tuesday, March 25, 2003

More Education Brickbats

Here's some Brickbats from the last couple of weeks.

The Blackboard Jungle (3/10)
Teachers at Houston's Fondren Middle School say they are being terrorized by some of their students. "They walk the halls, curse the teachers, hit the teachers, and disrespect authority," said Gayle Fallon of the Houston Teachers Union. "It's a powder keg waiting to happen over there." One student reportedly brought a gun to school, but he got just a 10-day suspension. Indeed, that seems to be the harshest punishment ever dealt to these students. Why? They are special education students, and federal law makes it difficult to remove them from school, even if they are violent. "We do have a process that we have to follow, also recognizing that we continue to keep people safe as the process is carried out," school system spokesperson Heather Browne told KTRK-TV.

Ghost Pupils (3/6)
In England, East Sussex education officials send out a notice each year reminding parents when school is about to start. This year they sent notices to the families of at least 17 dead children. The error arose when local officials obtained the birth records of area children, which included the names of children who later died, and used those records for the mailing.

Bad Loans (2/26)
Two students from the Y'Hica Institute for the Visual Arts in London recently received student loans from a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Not bad for a school that doesn't actually exist. The school was created by the General Accounting Office to see how closely the Education Department monitors student aid programs. The answer, apparently, is not very.

Fake Firearm Nets a Year Suspension (2/12)
Mitch Muller is in the seventh grade at Colorado's La Salle Middle School. He had never been in trouble at school. But then he played with a friend's laser pointer in class. First, his teacher took the pointer, which looked like a miniature gun. No problem there. But what happened next stunned the Muller family. The principal sent the boys home, then suspended them for a year for having a "firearm facsimile" in school.

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