Wrong all over doesn’t make right

I have written in the past about incidents and experiences my children have had in their schools. I want to make clear that my children do not attend schools in the district for which I work, but rather, attend school in neighboring Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD (HEB ISD).

Recently, my 14 year old son was disciplined for coughing during a test by having his grade reduced from an 83 to a 40. The teacher claimed that he laughed and distracted the class (students I talked to said he cleared his throat). After talks with the teacher, the principal, and other students in the class, it was revealed that the teacher’s rule about test-taking is that any noise coming from a person will result in the test being taken up and being graded to the point at which the student was finished at that time. This means students who are sick, sneezing, coughing, hiccuping, etc, better not come to class during test day.

The principal upheld his teacher’s policy, so we had to take it up with one of the assistance superintendents at the district. She agreed with us, and left it up to the principal and teacher to come up with alternative discipline for the coughing. His grade did get restored, and hopefully other students who have had this same thing done to them this year will have theirs restored, as well.

Today we learned that the alternative discipline is to be In-School-Suspension. ISS was created back when I was in high school to be a more acceptable alternative to suspending a student from school entirely. It was meant to be used for those infractions that are serious enough to warrant suspension. My son coughed during a test and now he is suspended for a day.

Progressive discipline is clearly called for in this case. After interviewing other students in the classroom, it is clear my son did not intentionally distract the other students and that classroom management in this particular teacher’s classroom is poor, at best. As the assistant superintendent herself said, this teacher’s very strict rules only serve to encourage students to disrespect their teacher.

This incident, unfortunately, is not the first evidence of an embedded problem throughout this district. I have five children who have attended schools in this district over the past 12 years, and there have been repeated instances of teachers giving students failing grades for not bringing in signed progress reports, or giving “free 100s” for bringing in a box of tissues. This abuse of grading power has got to stop.

Further, going from zero to in-school-suspension – without stopping off at detention or parent conferences, and the like, is unacceptable as well. This practice discourages students to behave well in school because they know if they make one mistake (such as coughing during a test), they will be suspended. The assistant superintendent made the comment that ISS is “no big deal” – it IS a big deal to students who haven’t become accustomed to it.

I had to write this post to vent a little. I would love to hear your thoughts on these issues – does your district have similar policies? Is it time for a change?

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12 responses to “Wrong all over doesn’t make right

  1. Im reading this and can’t believe what I’m reading. I’m mortified and horrified that not only a teacher would do this but be backed by the principal. I really hope this gets resolved for the better. I wish I could do something to help!!!

  2. I love that their response is it’s no big deal. Tell me… was it a big deal to them as students? I’m sorry, but nobody I can remember in school ever considered it an option!

  3. I would question the legalities of those practices. Here in Wisconsin, we have been warned that any grading practices not related to measurable achievement, (kleenex boxes or behaviors) have been challenged in the courts and won! I doubt this is just a WI ruling. I am curious what a local news media would make of that practice….

  4. What a ridiculous classroom policy! If that had been the policy when I was in school, I would have been a total failure. I had asthma and allergies which caused me to have a runny nose most of my high school years. I was constantly blowing my nose and wheezing when I took a breath! Would this teacher expect me to just stop breathing so I didn’t make any noise? It is teachers like this that give the good teachers a bad name! I’m so glad you protested. Until more and more parents stand up, usually policies won’t get changed!

  5. I think RachelY has a marvelous suggestion. I think you should contact the local media. And although I’m a teacher and have never gone to NEA over an issue that involves the infringement of students’ rights, I imagine it IS done.

    This is utterly ridiculous. The administration and the teachers should be ashamed and embarrassed…

  6. I think in the work place, I think your son’s situation could be considered harassment due to a hostile work environment. This teacher should be fired. I have had several experiences in the HEB school district that demonstrate abuse of power. One in particular that I will gladly share with you, but not where it can be read publicly, because of the embarrassment it might cause someone close to me (very close to me). It will make your blood boil.

  7. I appreciate all of your support and reinforcement that I’m on the right track here. We continue to fight the issue, and plan on requesting amendments to both the district grading policy and the district discipline policy so that things like this won’t happen to other students in the future. My son is serving a day of ISS today with kids who have done really bad things to get there – we will never get that day back for him, but we might be able to keep others from having to serve ISS for minor infractions in the future.

  8. fedup with HEB ISD!

    This sounds EXACTLY like Hurst Jr High! Probably is! Regarding ISS – Well that is given out for ALL MINOR infractions at the school. My child got ISS for saying bless you to a student who sneezed… Teacher does not like religion therefore child got punished and admin stood behind the teacher!

  9. This continues to this day… Please forward to everyone you know that HEB ISD continues to bully students and parents and to look for a facebook page that will be created shortly that will better educate parents to protect their children and themselves from the constant abuse of power.

  10. Please share this Facebook page to better educate parents in the HEB ISD and create power by numbers who stand to stop the abuse…

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parents-Against-HEB-ISD-Abuse/520409594689721

  11. This is continued and common practice within the HEB ISD… There is a law suit against the school district going on now.

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