A Fall River mother is outraged after video emerged of her 8th grade daughter being assaulted in a staged attack caught on video and posted to Tik Tok outside of Morton Middle School. The student who led the attack was given just 3 days of suspension as a result of “restorative justice” policies now used in schools, which seek to lower suspension rates amid calls of systemic racism in schools. The mother sent a message to Mayor Paul Coogan talking about the effect it’s had on her daughter’s mental health.
Here’s the video.
That was a premeditated attack, and every student involved, including the girl holding the camera, should be expelled. The public schools should be safe for everyone, and clearly they are not for the girls who were assaulted in this video. The girl with the corn rows eyed up the two much smaller girls as they came out the door.
She then ran up on the woman’s daughter and sucker punched her in the head.
Then the girl in the brown boots punched the other girl with her in the back of the head.
Even more disturbing is that the other students who weren’t involved stood by and laughed. This is why anti-bullying policies in school are the biggest joke. How many hours of taxpayer money were wasted on administrators developing this 17 page bullying prevention policy in 2017?
Nothing but lip service. The policy states the Principal Sheryl Patterson can take whatever action she deems appropriate.
The policy also states that suspensions and expulsions are possible punishments for bullying.
And what you witnessed in that video is the worst form of bullying.
However, the policy also says that schools can “adopt behavioral plans to include a focus on developing specific social skills” for kids who violate the bullying policy.
This is “restorative justice” – a communist buzzword brought to us by BLM and the ACLU. In 2012 the ACLU sued the Fall River Public Schools because they were suspending too many students of color.
But schools don’t suspend kids because they enjoy it. They suspend the kids who break the rules in order to create a safe learning environment for everyone. If a disproportionate amount of those students are children of color that doesn’t mean the schools are racist. And if schools fear the ACLU and are afraid to suspend violent students because they are students of color, then the schools become less safe for everyone.
In 2014 the Fall River Public schools changed their code of conduct to adopt new “restorative justice” policies.
The Superintendent basically said that they don’t like suspending problematic students because then they miss school.
“It really came out of the fact we don’t want students missing school,” Mayo-Brown said. “When you talk about suspensions, it’s learning lost, because students are out.”
Mayo-Brown said school officials are looking to employ a consistent and progressive approach. “Our goal is to always help students make good choices; have them reflect on why they’re there, what choices they made.”
Up to this point, Fall River schools have used a “punitive” model to varying degrees in each building, Mayo-Brown said.
A punitive model is exactly as it sounds: students break rules, then get punished. For example, students act up in class, they get pulled out of class, sent to the main office. If they continue to act up, disrespect teachers or peers, or get into fights, they receive suspensions — either in school or out of school.
Now school officials are looking to augment that punitive system with another approach, called “restorative justice.”
It’s an educational approach that experts say allows students to learn from their mistakes. If they are involved in an incident that normally would have resulted in a suspension or other punishment, in a restorative justice approach, students are asked to take ownership for their actions, learn about the harms they caused, and then begin the process of restoring relationships with those whom their actions may have harmed.
How do you learn from the mistake of punching a kid in the back of the head? Spoiler alert – she already knew that was wrong, and she did it anyway because she’s an out of control brat.
Why are the school focusing so much on the needs of students who don’t follow the rules, while neglecting the effect that these students have on their peers who do follow the rules? How many hours of class time were wasted because problematic students were sent back to class instead of home for a week? How many children have to be physically assaulted in the name of “restorative justice?”
The teachers union is fully on board with this practice as well.
They’re advocating for a practice that makes it harder for them to do their job because out of control children don’t get suspended. There is no union that actively works against the best interests of its members more than the teachers union.
This is what the Fall River Public Schools were focused on over the summer.
Working to make sure more teachers “looked like” their students in order to achieve “equity.”
The district’s newest assistant superintendent, Charisse Taylor, recently launched groups meant to provide informal spaces for educators of color to network and build support systems for themselves within the district, as a way of retaining those employees. Pay increases for teachers could also help with retention, Malone suggested.
“I think it’s very important that we do have faculty and staff who look like the students we have in front of us,” he said.
This is what they were wasting their time on instead of preventing bullying in their schools. Maybe if the schools spent more time keeping kids safe and less time focusing on how close their skin pigmentation resembles that of the teacher then kids wouldn’t be afraid to go to school.
The former Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Fall River wrote a very good op-ed in 2019 about why she changed her mind about restorative justice once she saw how it manifested in schools.
In addition, I read of districts that had substituted restorative justice for punitive consequences as a way to reduce their overall suspension numbers. In a district next door to mine, district leaders bragged about their huge reduction in suspensions because of their restorative justice, only to see the program fall apart as disruptive students were continuously returned to class without any actual change in their behavior. It was clear from my research that if a school or a district was not 100% committed and fully trained in the program, it could not succeed.
Feel free to reach out to Principal Patterson to let her know that 3 days of detention is an unacceptable punishment for what you saw in that video: [email protected].