Delaware School Safety Report Shows Severe Limitations In Our Schools For Controlling Violence

If we are to have a chance to reduce and reverse this type of behavior, it is necessary to begin early and to start in the home. Efforts must be made to reach out students and to provide them with positive new directions in elementary school. Several committee members pointed out that “middle school is too late.”

“If joining a gang is the only way to survive, the kids will join gangs,” one committee member said, adding, “A lot of teachers don’t know who gang members are. You, as a teacher, should know how to interact with kids and parents because kids and parents may not have the ability to interact with us.”

The committee discussed the possibility of cell phone bans in schools, but public schools in Delaware have not done so because parents want to be able to reach their children by phone.

These were just a few of the topics discussed in the Special Committee on Public Safety.

School safety.  Two words that mean so many things to so many people.  To some, it means making sure every single student and staff member is protected from violence.  To some it means reporting requirements.  Many think of Sandy Hook or Columbine.  Others think of a mounting problem that can never be corrected.

Earlier this year, in the wake of two very violent deaths in Wilmington, a group was formed by Senator Robert Marshall.  Marshall is the Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee.  He formed a group that met twice to discuss school safety issues with various topics introduced.  Out of these meetings, Senate Concurrent Resolution #83 formed a Special Committee on School Safety.  The final report was given to the President Pro Tempore of the Delaware Senate and Governor Markell yesterday.

The below report has a great deal of information.  It is very long but it is worth the read.  Take the time to read it.  Every single word.  Whether you are for or against School Resource Officers or Constables in Delaware schools, it is important to know what is happening out there.  It affects every single citizen of this state.  Issues in schools can explode outside of schools often, but issues outside of schools are brought into schools all the time.

The one thing I took out of this report is there are no easy answers.  Issues around funding and legality are some of the biggest obstacles to making schools safer.  Trauma plays a huge role in our high-needs schools.  Family issues outside of school are one of the biggest obstacles to safe schools.

There was one recommendation coming out of the final report that I didn’t see discussed anywhere in the meeting minutes.

Provide funding for the Delaware Department of Education to conduct a voluntary, statewide survey among students, parents, and teachers to get their thoughts on improving the learning environment and ways to make our schools safer.

It can’t be a report on education in Delaware without the Delaware Dept. of Education inserting something they want, which usually involves them getting more money.  One important thing to take note of in this report is that Delaware Senator David Sokola and State Rep. Earl Jaques were both listed as members of this committee but neither went to any of the meetings on it or bothered to assign a designee to attend in their absence.

The parts about Senate Bill 207, which I also issued severe problems with, were echoed by many in regards to future under-reporting of incidents in schools.  I thank God the House added an amendment to the bill that still requires mandatory reporting to the Delaware DOE.  But there is one line about Senate Bill 207 in the final report which will give any Delaware citizen severe anxiety.

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7 thoughts on “Delaware School Safety Report Shows Severe Limitations In Our Schools For Controlling Violence

  1. Even in the military, there are safety issues. One can never guarantee someone doesn’t go berserk. But in the military, when you do have them, you take the perpetrator out and shoot him. Consequently there are fewer acts of violence among men whose sole purpose is to kill, than there are in our middle schools of kids grades 6-8…. We should learn from our military.

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    1. ???. As you know I’m a bit slow, so I’m going to need your help understanding what appears to be a complete apples vs oranges comparison. So…we should compare how the military deals with grown men to how schools deal with kids?

      The problem IMHO is the ideal that one troubled kid’s right to a proper education trumps all the other well behaved kids rights to a proper education, and this is the crux of why most charter school parents put their kids in charter schools. Unfortunately, all too often charter school parents are painted as racist and selfish for doing what any good parent would try to do for their kids: put them in a school environment free of distractions where they can learn. Nowhere else in society do we allow the dynamic that plays out in TPS, but somehow we are supposed to accept it in TPS because “it’s the right thing to do”. I don’t agree. Let me know when someone proposes a solution to fixing Delaware TPS that doesn’t involve perpetuating a broken system with zero accountability and zero consequences for unacceptable behavior. And instead of the predictable response of “We can’t just get rid of troubled kids like charter schools do”, why don’t we work on a solution that allows for these kids to receive an education, just not at the expense of all the other kids.

      P.S. I think what you meant to say was “We should learn from our charter schools”, lol.

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      1. Weighted funding, as proposed by WEIC, would help. Schools with more challenging students need more staff, for social services and smaller class sizes. Schools with largely well-supported, reasonably behaved students (generally from better-off families) can provide an adequate education with larger class sizes and fewer support personnel. DE is one of four states not to acknowledge this in its state funding formula.

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        1. I think weighted funding makes a lot of sense and is something I would support with proper controls and accountability. We provide bailouts and tax incentives to corporations in struggling industries, so why wouldn’t we stratify educational funding to the areas of greatest need? CSD may be doing this with their local funding exclusions, but the problem is it appears they are doing it outside the parameters of the current law. I think it makes a lot more sense to work together on issues like this (i.e. supporting weighted funding legislation) than arguing about a taxpayer’s right to choose TPS or charter.

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          1. A simple solution for enforcing discipline in public schools could be designating a school for unsocial students. Collect them, send them there. Most likely such an experience would be beneficial for those students who go, as well as for the rest who stay behind.

            Then we can close down charters.

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  2. I suspect that if DE were to implement a well-considered weighted funding policy, a lot of the current conflict about district vs charter would disappear. Much of the frustration on the district side (legitimate, in my view) is that they handle more challenging students, with decreasing resources, and then (adding insult to injury) are compared to charters enrolling better supported students–and told to up their game, despite insufficient resources. I’ve spoken to many teachers and principals who prefer to teach struggling students (it’s a sort of calling–more power to them!). But naturally they don’t want to do that in overcrowded, undersupplied classrooms, or to be asked why they can’t get the same test results as a teacher with fewer students in a better resourced school. That’s where a lot of the animosity comes from. I still object to socio-economic segregation, but that dynamic is made worse by our refusal to direct funds where they’re most needed. (It’s nice to be in agreement on something, Patriot!)

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