Thursday, November 8, 2007

Survey on School Safety

*Teachers Unite and NESRI invite you to take the survey on school safety!*

You will find the link to the survey at:

Documenting the views of NYC public middle and high school teachers will support advocates in their efforts to:

1) learn about the impact of current school safety and discipline policies on education, and

2) explore alternative approaches to discipline that teachers believe are effective.

Please take the survey and forward the link to your colleagues today!

If you can distribute and collect the paper version of the survey to teachers in your school building, please contact me as soon as possible (contact info below).

Sally Lee
Executive Director
Teachers Unite

1 comment:

  1. I tried to take the survey but stopped at 73% because so many of the questions were too vague and there was no room to explain why I couldn't answer. Sorry.
    PS: I'm at a big High School with lots of agents and scanners. I think my input would have been useful.

    Some of the exx. I can remember...

    Does scanning make them late to first period? Everyone who wants to miss chunks of first period or can't "get it together" or has responsibilities at the house (like taking a sibling to school) will be delayed by the lines at the scanner. Those who WANT to come in on time make adjustments to their commute (15 min. earlier) and DO come in on time. It is not a simple question of being late or not. Obviously, some cut lst and 2nd period altogether.

    Armed or not armed: I don't know, because I don't look for "arms" -- I look at the uniforms. I think the ones inside the building don't have weapons at their hips, but when they all dress alike, in blues, isn't the effect rather similar? Don't we associate ALL blue uniform agents as armed?

    Who sets school policies for safety: I don't know. I thought it was admin, but if parents are involved, it can't be many of them. A representation by a parent or two does not make up REAL representation in my opinion.
    Same for kids representation. They may "sit" on consultation committees, but I am sure what they say has NOTHING to do with the policy admin finally comes up with.

    Respect at the scanners: the agents are respectful, but the kids are scanned and wanded all over their bodies. This is a demeaning process, day in and day out. How would you like to be wanded every time you walk into your school. They have to hold their arms up in the air, and the procedure is done out in the open, not behind a curtain. I'd feel exposed and miserable if I had to be subjected to this daily. I guess they get numb to it, but isn't that a BAD thing? To be numb to being treated like a 2nd class citizen?
    AND.... they all bring their i-Pods and cellphones in anyway!!! The girls put them between their legs in their pants. Half the school has gotten through the scanners this way.
    AND .... they have to put their belts back on. There is no area to put themselves back together in, so they have to walk down the hall dressing themselves , carrying their bookbags, coats, etc. It's truly inappropriate to have anyone dress themselves out in the halls. But the agents themselves are respectful.

    When asked if I ever call them into the classroom: I call security when there's a disruption, but that's the A.P. of Security. Whom he sends is his choice. They've been great at coming fast and and acting well, but sometimes he sends deans and sometimes he sends agents. Depends who is available.

    Does race/religion figures in how agents react to kids. I would say not at all. They are even-handed.
    But if you ask if certain vulgar, loud, offensive, and defiant behavior may be associated more with certain cultural groups than others, I'd have to say I think it is. The agents are reacting, as instructed, to bad behavior, generally only when it is very bad. In fact, they let a lot of this stuff go, because there's just too much of it and it would be impossible, and perhaps inappropriate for them to be telling every 4th kid to tone it down. They system stinks altogether, but it's not the agents that do this. It's the political will that does not put resources into lowering class size and giving the kids the attention they need.

    I didn't finish the survey, as I said, because I was unwilling to enter Yes and No answers for some of these questions, but I hate seeing uniformed presence inside schools, hate seeing kids wanded (demeaned in front of our eyes as if they are prisoners or did something wrong), hate seeing them dressing themselves back up in the hallways, and hate seeing kids break the rules so flagrantly, sneaking iPods and cellphones through the detectors.

    There must be a way out of this madness.


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