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Proviso Probe

Thursday, January 18, 2007

ED, discipline at Proviso Township High Schools [D209]

Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) has an article that opens the door to discussing student safety at Proviso East.

Forest Park resident Joe Burdett is the father of a Proviso East senior and had another daughter graduate from D209.
"We have not found the schools to be unsafe," Burdett said. "I think the school is suffering from the reputation it got in the 60s."

I'm skeptical of Burdett's anecdotal take on the situation.

Burdett has had daughters in the school system. So female honors students of European descent probably have a different experience than male students, Blacks & Latinos and non-honors students.

Also, I've heard anecdotes from students, ER physicians and members of the security staff that contradict Burdett's anecdotes.

A Proviso East student told me that he avoided certain hallways because of concerns about physical safety. He portrayed it as being an unwritten code of where certain students could and couldn't go.

I talked to a Westlake Hospital ER physician who was appalled at the number of students who got in fights at Proviso East and went to the emergency room.

And about six weeks ago a group of students (6-8) engaged in a coordinated attack against a member of the security staff. Superintendent Stan Fields did not notify the entire board of this immediately or at the December board meeting. Was he trying to cover-up the incident? Was the attack so routine that it didn't stick out from the other disciplinary issues?

I don't know.

My recommendation would be for District 209 to create some sort of standard reporting criteria so parents and taxpayers can evaluate the conduct and discipline at the schools.


  • Standardized incident reports are common and ought to be standard in the schools. They represent a starting point and not a final goal for review and improved prevention and practice.

    By Blogger Pastor Nancy, at 9:57 AM, January 18, 2007  

  • Dave says: Tho Dist. 209 may have its share of fights, I'm not so sure that all the dirty laundry needs to be aired. Every school has fights. Proviso may have more than other schools. You hardly ever hear about fights in the local high schools. Proviso already has a bad reputation. Publicizing the number of fights will just make matters worse. Proviso tries to keep fights to a minimum, but there are lots of factors. There are several gangs at East and West. There are fights because somebody said something about somebody else. There are also racial fights. If parents read about ALL the fights (and there are many), they probably would not want to send any of their children there. Actually, about 90% of the students are never or hardly ever affected by these disruptions. It is relatively safe in the schools.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • How many problems fix themselves in life?

    If we ignore or avoid the discipline issue, why should we expect it to get better?

    The taxpayers are paying a bunch of money for security personnel and off-duty cops. Don't the taxpayers have a right to know if they are getting positive results for their money?

    And how much would education improve at Proviso East if the disciplinary situation improved?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 1:55 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • Dave says: Oh, now you're talking about a different thing. If Proviso East and West went back to the old days discipline and attendance policy, there would be fewer fights. In the old days if you missed 12 classes, you failed. If you got into a fight you got suspended 10 days, so there was little wiggle room. When that policy was enforced, there were fewer fights. Also, since the last regime, very few kids are being expelled. I think the idea is to keep them in school and not on the streets. This idea sucks. What about the 90% of kids who are there to get an education? Don't they deserve an orderly school?
    As to the many security personnel. We all know that the presence of security or police does not altogether stop crime. Some security people do their jobs. Others walk tthe halls and socialize with the kids.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:18 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • I'm not a fan of failing students for missing a certain number of classes or being late too many times.

    The best discipline systems impose consequences swiftly and surely.

    If a student is late then s/he stays after school that day. If s/he skips class then the parents are contacted that day. And the next day the parents are contacted to inquire to what disciplinary action was taken.

    If students know there will be swift and sure consequences then they will conduct themselves appropriately.

    Unfortunately there's a culture at the schools from the school board, administrators, teachers and disciplinary personnel that accepts students behaving badly.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 3:47 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • Old Proviso teacher says: Discipline this year at East is a joke. Hallway fights are a common occurence (one recent day saw 11 fights; a fight yesterday resulted in blood all over the walls and floor in the Biology area). What is most upsetting about this is that the consequences for even a blood-shedding fight are a pittance: a 5-day supension or a 10-day suspension if the fight is considered "a mob action fight". (Suspensions can't be any longer due to state law). But things get really appalling: students who are involved in even a mob-action fight are seldom, if ever, brought to the next disciplinary step that Proviso's student handbook covers: a disciplinary hearing that could lead to expulsion. Instead of having a hearing, students get put on probation, then double probation, then double-triple probation and so on. The result? The safest place in Maywood to have a gang fight is in the hallways of Proviso East where you won't get arrested and where some adult is willing to risk injury to jump in and save your butt by ending the fight. This doesn't affect just the gang-bangers. It affects honors students who are late for class because they had to swerve around the fight to get to class. And,especially in the freshmen classes, it affects all students since it takes 10-15 minutes of class time to calm the kids down and get them to stop doing instant replays of what happened in the fight. How to make things better? Have the guts to expel (to an alternative school, which we don't have) the several dozen wimps who engage in these fights and send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated. Until then, "thugs rule" at Proviso East.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:20 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • New teacher at East says: There was a teacher who broke up a fight in the classroom between two female students and was hit several times in the eye and nose by one student. She had to deal with that student in her classes until three months later when she was finally taken out of her classes. Funny that the district wasn't even aware of it until she got her ER bill.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:26 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • I think the number of expulsions has increased this year over the previous years. What needs to be addressed is the stuff that lead up to these knock-down, all-out riots that may end in someone getting seriously injured or, god-forbid, killed. Suspensions at the schools mean nothing anymore. Students don't serve In-School Suspensions because they know the next day they are suspended out of school. It's a day off. The fights don't happen in the community anymore - they wait until they come to school.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • I get sick of hearing about how we need to keep these kids in school. Did it ever dawn on anyone that the only reason they come to school is to socialize and fight? That should be the lowest thing on their agendas. I believe we should go back to the old policy where if you were late or missed ten or more classes (remember we are talking about unexcused, if kids are legitimately out and called in by parents they were not affected)and get rid of the 20% that don't come to school for schooling. I think the community has it twsited. They want to say keep them in school so they don't have to deal with them on the streets, then they get mad when the schools are not performing up to par. Maybe it is because jail is where some of these thugs need to be. a cell not a classroom. I love kids and i believe we all deserve a fair chance, but enough is enough. These kids come to school to refine their street skills because they know there is little to no repurcussion for their wrongdoing. Why not have an attednace policy that has consequences. At some point we have to acknowledge that every student does not have education on the mind and cannot be saved. Instead of wasting teacher time, taxpayer money, ruining the schools, and putting teachers, students and staff in danger, let's make a clean sweep and let them be street thugs where there street thug ways wold be more appreciated...in the streets. I am sure that this entry will get repsonses from do gooders sying kids belong in school, but those people probably have students in Proviso who spend more time walking the halls than sitting in a class. Those people who think i am worng in my opinion proabably are parents of the 20% who make our schools so street like. Those people may disagree and push to keep the kids in school because that way teachers and others have to deal with their little troublemakers and not themsleves. Things that make you go HMMMMMMMM

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • Proviso got worse with Welch. When Welch became President the academics and school environment got WORSE. IT IS THE PITS. THE TEACHERS DON'T CARE AND THE STUDENTS DON'T CARE. Under WELCH'S leadership, the district has had 3 superintendents in six years! What a turnover rate!

    When Proviso was under Manzo Proviso did not even have half as many problems. Welch is the nucleus of Proviso's problems. He wants to be the Board President, Superintendent, Business Manager, Human Resource Manager (his favorite of all) , and the Principals. The guy has put Proviso back 50 years.


    By Blogger 209sucks, at 10:59 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • I know this will make a lot of education majors upset but the problem with proviso east and west is one thing. The "good" deans and teachers have been ran out or replaced with patronage administration workers. Lets face it people. Ms. wallace should never have been a principal at Proviso West high school. not to mention Milton Patch who was fired from SD88 as a principal and you turn around and make him a principal at East. there is no teeth in the diciplinary process at SD209. I have been working here for over ten years and this is the all time low. there have been dozens of complaints from the security officers about the fights and drugs in the schools but they go ignored. there has been several incidents where the Principal has caught students with Marijuana and simply ignored it and flushed the dope down the toilet just to keep the school out of the news paper during the election period!!!( yes we know who you are)!!There are also a lot of union issues where the security is not being paid at the rate of pay as in the contract. The district makes the truant officwers work security but lowers the pay when they work the job of security. This is crazy, and you expect them to do a job well done? I dont think so. What ever happen to the days when the security was out in the neighborhoods talking to the residents and business owners. Thats how Dr. montoya had it set up and it was very effective. Why dont the securty go to the trains anymore to catch students comming in from chicago to go to our schools.? why dont security go to the local Mcdonalds in the am to snag the truant students who skip school daily? Lets clean it up proviso and keep it real. THE PATRONAGE BULLSHIT HAS RUINED THE CHILDRENS SAFTY AND SECURITY.

    By Anonymous READY TO RETIRE, at 4:43 AM, January 19, 2007  

  • I allowed two comments under "anonymous" b/c they contribute to the discussion.

    However, don't post under "anonymous" in the future. I enforce this b/c the discussions become hard to follow if more than one person posts under "anonymous".

    Refer to Anon at 7:33 PM as "knock-down, all-out riots" and Anon aat 10:57 as "I get sick".

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:14 AM, January 19, 2007  

  • I'm sure there are, what the administrators believe to be, good reasons for the current disciplinary policies and procedures at the Proviso high schools. However, the fact remains that there are a core of possibly disenfranchised and certainly troublesome students who pollute the waters at the school and disrupt the learning environment for those students who are truly there to learn. Lenient disciplinary policies and procedures, in part, serve the function of either tacitly tolerating such inappropriate behavior or reinforcing it.

    It galls the hell out of me that certain District 209 administrators and board members conceived, pushed very hard for, and brought to fruition PMSA when, it seems to me, some form of alternative school or program for troublesome and/or disciplinary-problem students should have been the focus of major expenditures. So, now we have, what on paper looks to be, an elite school for outstanding students while Proviso East and West students are in war zones. Can someone please show me the logic in this? I think that the logic had more to do with the narcissistic and self-serving personalities and interests of certain school administrators and board members than it did with the concern for the overall betterment of the learning environment for District 209 students.

    Hopefully, Dr. Fields is aware of and attempting to effectively deal with the problems that recalcitrant and aggressive students pose to other students, staff, and the learning environment in general. Hopefully, Mr. Welch, other board members, and/or district administrators aren’t concocting some scheme to contract with inexperienced local ministers, relatives, friends, or political hacks --- who are just chomping at the bit to get a piece of the action --- to develop and implement a program such as anger management to address this core of troublesome students.

    By Blogger Steven, at 10:15 AM, January 19, 2007  

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