• The Teachers’ Lounge

The Teachers’ Lounge

The Collapse of the Classroom

Not long ago, a query to a teacher about his or her greatest concern in the classroom might have been a lack of supplies or something similarly benign. A response from a teacher today might refer to problematic student behavior and instances of violence that are increasing in the classroom. This phenomenon is no longer relegated to gritty urban school districts. Suburban and rural districts are having the same unfortunate problems.

I read a recent article printed in the USA Today that outlined a California school district in what they stated as a “crisis” of students “raging” because of a lack of discipline in its schools. Valley Oak Middle School located in Visalia, California is one of many schools facing increasing student behavior and decreasing student discipline. Located in Tulare County, a rural but growing city of about 130,000 residents, Valley Oak Middle School seems to be juggling behavior common in much larger school districts.

The Visalia School District follows a behavior plan that is supposed to provide interventions, counseling or other alternatives before suspension is considered as discipline. At Valley Oak, it is not working. Teachers at Valley Oak report regularly being cursed at by students, evacuating classrooms when one student throws a tantrum, a student urinating on another student’s lunch all with no consequences levied against students. One teacher shared that she and her colleagues are often asked by administrators why they cannot handle the behavior themselves.


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