- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Most teachers at a Fresno high school have signed a petition demanding a stricter and more consistent student discipline policy and more say in how disruptive students are punished.

The Fresno Bee reported (https://bit.ly/2hvTmmo ) Monday that at least 70 of the 85 McLane High School teachers signed the petition calling for changes to a new “restorative justice” policy focusing on fixing issues at the heart of student misbehavior instead of kicking students out of classrooms.

Teachers said McLane has constant disruptions, numerous on-campus fights and verbal abuse of teachers by students.

They also cited an incident this year in which the school resource officer was severely injured while breaking up a fight among students.

The teachers in the petition said the situation at the school is now “unfair to students who come to school ready to learn and the teachers who are ready to engage them.”

McLane High teacher Jessica Ketchum she heard one student tell another “Don’t worry, they won’t do anything” last week when she called for a resource officer to help deal with an alleged theft.

Ketchum said she also called four times in one hour for students to be removed from her class but none were disciplined.

“Students have little to lose, and it would appear that they have become skilled at making the system work for them,” she said.

The newspaper reports Fresno Unified administrators defend the restorative programs and say they are working, with one trustee citing lower numbers of suspensions and expulsions as proof.

“The concept of restorative justice is supposed to have students make it right by their victims,” said Fresno Unified Trustee Carol Mills.

Fresno Unified officials praised McLane High School’s restorative justice program this month at a California School Boards Association conference.


Information from: The Fresno Bee, https://www.fresnobee.com

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