Down The Rabbit Hole.
Yesterday, I spoke at length about my relatively complex feelings related to a student who got seriously busted for many serious infractions. Heck…a few of them were felonies. I was torn about his lack of understanding, i was upset over the idea that he just didn’t seem to get what had happened, and that might JUST be the fault of the educational system.
I also think that I was clear about the following list of things that he was busted for: Possession of marijuana on campus, use of marijuana on campus, distributing marijuana on campus, vandalism, and threatening both students and staff. Much of this was actually captured on security video, and all of it can be pursued in a legal sense.
You would think that there would at least be a day’s suspension. All of those can be suspended, in fact many draw an expulsion from the district.
Honestly, my feelings became MORE complex, because exactly none of the actual consequences of this young person’s actions were pursued by the school. Our principal, who was involved in the bust, simply…backed off. More or less said that it got a pass, despite having said to me (and others) who were concerned that this was a “high priority” to pursue. the message sent to the student population was…very clear. It basically said, “do whatever…there are no penalties.”
In fact, the dean of discipline came by looking for one of this student’s compatriots, and I called him out on the matter. The teachers did everything we were supposed to in terms of documentation, and in fact, I helped to set up the bust. With all of that on the table, the current leader of the Edu-Mountain failed to move in a strategic and intelligent fashion.
Right now, the complexity of my feelings is directly related to feeling like we have completely undermined anything like a consequence structure, and further, we have sent a bad message to students.