Kids Beg TUSD Board To Protect Teachers, Students

Booth-Fickett students address TUSD Board

At the April 5, meeting of the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board a mother and her children, who attend Booth-Fickett Magnet School told of the extreme bullying taking place in their classrooms during the Call to the Audience. The mother began by advising the Board that “it is difficult for the kids to be coming before the Board.”

However, the students were compelled to address the Board due to the “bullying of not only the students, but the teachers has gotten to the point where my children do not feel that they are safe in class or that the teachers are safe in class. There have been a number of times where my eldest has stayed after school because there were teachers in tears and he wanted to make sure that they remained safe. The teachers do not fell that they have the protection they need and that they should be afforded and I realize that a lot of it has to do with resources that are available in order to address however the environment is not conducive to learning.”

“When you have substitutes and teachers that have their cellphones being stolen, and stuff is being thrown at them, students are being hit with books,” the mother stopped mid-speech as her son whispered in her ear. She turned back to the Board, “My son is upset at the language being used. It is very, ummm bad.”

The students then each spoke as President Adelita Grijalva sat stoically. “Well, I am concerned about all of the kids at the school,” the first young man stated. “They are getting bullied, or pushed around and no one can do anything about it.” Signaling to another young man, the student continued, “Me and Robert were getting bullied by some kids – like on St. Patrick’s Day. A huge group came after us. They tried to throw rocks at us and hit us with anything they could find on the ground – and food. Although thankfully, we were able to get to the teachers and to the principal to talk to them and the monitors too.”

Another young man stated, “Many of my teachers have had these problems and they try to solve them and they ask you guys for help and they never get any good response. There are patrol officers that come to my school and they are never able to control the kids. There are too many bad kids in my school to handle all at once. The rules that are set in place have punishments for kids that are good, but these animals – I mean kids are like animals – and it is really upsetting to see my teachers cry in front of me after school because of the vandalism and bullying that is going on.”

Another young man advised the Board, “I actually heard about a fight today that happened because of bullying and teasing and vandalism. One of the kids actually pulled the fire alarm and that upset everybody and everybody started running. So, I think somebody should do something about it.”

The Board quickly moved on to other speakers.

The next day, the Board received notice of the following telephone message regarding a parent at Soleng Tom Elementary School:

Ms. XXXX has filed a complaint with ADE. Her son is continuously being bullied (bloody noses, violently punched, most recent was he was hit in the head that it cracked his forehead – student was suspended for one day and at the end of the day was placed in the same room with her son.) She has met with his teacher and the principal numerous times. The Principal recently told her son to let the other student beat him up two more times so that the student can be expelled. The son’s comment to his mom was “I should just let him beat me up two more times.”

Ms. XXXX has contacted the following people:

Anna Gallegos Office – called yesterday and was told she was not available and would hear from her today. When she called again today, she was told that Ms. Gallegos couldn’t do anything and to call the Superintendent’s Office.

Dr. Sanchez’ Office – called today and was told he was not available and took her information down.

Parent wants the Board members to be aware of what is going and is requesting to hear from at least one Board member.

Board member Michael Hicks says he isn’t surprised by the reports that are pouring out of schools. Teachers are not only bullied by students, but by an administration more focused on creating good publicity than safe learning environments. Hicks points to the various reports of abuse by the group known as the TUSD Whistleblowers. Over and over again, the group of TUSD teachers, administrators, and parents has tried to bring to light the abusive environment, but the majority of the Governing Board refused to listen.

Related article: Secrist Students Speak Truth To Power As TUSD Administrators Spin

In December 2015, parents, teachers and students at Secrist Middle School begged for help. Instead of dealing with the failing discipline code and the resulting chaos, TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez moved Secrist’s principal, David Montaño, to Pueblo Magnet High and assistant principal Lupe Duran to the district’s Science Center.

At the time, a meeting was held at the school. Students pleaded with the adults to protect them and teachers (many who are substitutes) from the abusive environment created by a lack of discipline.

Related article: TUSD’s Sanchez Scores White House Invite To Talk Discipline

Sanchez has taken great pride in the fact that he was invited – with the help of Congressman Raul Grijalva – to “a national convening and conversation on improving school discipline policies and practices, to be hosted at The White House on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. At this meeting, you will join a select group of educational leaders, advocates, researchers, state and community officials, and others to share your experience working to reduce school disciplinary incidents and to foster safe and supportive school climates,” read a letter from Roberto J. Rodríguez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education.

Sanchez, who first hit the national scene when he called Arizonans “disposable wealth” a bunch of bigots who must be convinced “to educate kids who don’t look like their kids,” was barely coping with the turmoil created with the implementation of “restorative circles” as a method of discipline.

The District operates under a Post-Unitary Status plan which includes “Restorative and Positive Practices.” The plan reads in part: “the District shall hire or designate an employee to serve as the District’s restorative and positive practices coordinator (“RPPC”). The RPPC shall be responsible for working with school sites to assist in the ongoing implementation of Restorative Practices and the implementation of PBIS, including: (a) developing model behavioral assessments and interventions; and (b) assisting school sites in developing systems and structures to use data for self-monitoring practices.”

Since 2013, Board members Dr. Mark Stegeman and Hicks have been concerned about the declining safety for teachers and students as a result of discipline policy. Because they are in the minority on the Board, their concerns have been dismissed.

27 Comments on "Kids Beg TUSD Board To Protect Teachers, Students"

  1. In this case, TUSD is simply following the national norm. Teacher and students both are in danger in schools today. Public schools have become a dumping ground for kids that have no support at home and education is not a valued commodity. Bad behavior is being rewarded by policies to keep these kids in school so that they can be socially promoted and thus make the schools graduation rate look great. Until the parents demand excellence from themselves, their children and the schools, nothing will happen and this situation will continue to get worse. Why do you think kids take guns to school and kill other kids. Simply for reasons like this that are now being brought to light but will not be covered by the MSM or addressed by any school board or administration because of the PC crowd. SSDD in the world of public education.

  2. jdfast you nailed it, the parents are the problem! Anyone with half a brain can see that but it would be politically incorrect to bring the obvious to the forefront! Liberalism is killing us!

  3. Get your kids out and let the system implode like it should. No more money. EVER

  4. joohn dough | April 15, 2016 at 7:58 am |

    Our once great country needs to go back to the days when it was legal to give “swat’s” to misbehaving children, and then the child would get more discipline from the parents when they got home.

    This is happening because of the “Political Correctness”, and ridiculous laws that has been FORCED on the parents because of the RADICAL pacifist’s, AKA, Demoncratic Liberals, that are stupid enough to believe that “spare the rod and spoil the child” really work’s, which has been proven it does not.

    I am not a Racist or a Bigot, two terms that the Liberal Demoncrats use all of the time as they have NO OTHER Logical or other answer for the problems that they have created in our once great country, so I have to point out the fact that if you look closely at all of the video’s shown on the news you will see that all of these attacks that are committed on people in our schools are by Black Student’s, mostly attacking White student’s and teachers.

    The reason for this is that the Demoncrats and Repulsivecains are afraid to offend the Minorities as they are afraid of losing the votes that they get from them and have gone WAY TO FAR in appeasing them and letting them get away with just about whatever they want to do. It is plain to see now during our current presidential process by the way Hitlery and sanders are going after the Minority vote by promising things that they know they can NEVER DELIVER.

    Saw both of them on the news yesterday sucking up to al sharpton, one of the biggest RACIST, BIGOTS in the black lives matter Terrorist movement, that riot and cause disruption at Mr. Trumps gatherings.

    People have a RIGHT to “peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”, per the 1st amendment, but this is NOT what they are doing and act more like a MOB.

    I do not expect the ADI to let this comment stand. But there is nothing inappropriate in it as I am just repeating what is public knowledge.

  5. The Evil One | April 15, 2016 at 8:23 am |

    Common People. Start filing the lawsuits. If you are hurt at a store, and it is the stores fault, you expect to be compensated for it. But when it comes to your children being hurt on school property, and this definitely is the schools fault, you choose to do nothing. Except maybe writing an angry letter. These people only listen to Lawyers.

  6. The above comment by Evil One is absolutely right! How outrageous the school board is. A bunch of self serving idiots. I for one would go to 9 On Your Side, get a group, go big public! Get the lousy school board morons off, replace them! Damn, this whole thing makes me furious. To suggest a kid get beat up again and again is beyond comprehension. If that were my son, you better believe I’d start something, get a group, Hire a lawyer, make waves. Who in the hell do the people on the board think they are? Not to call a parent back??? Not to address the problem?? Kick em off!

  7. Sregeman and Hicks, while in the Minority on the TUSD Board, could have/should have file Suit on the part of these Parents/Students. As such, they are Complicit.

    • Common Sense, Please | April 15, 2016 at 10:07 pm |

      “They are complicit ”

      Oh, no they aren’t! Look, why are you placing blame on the only two on the board who care for the students and teachers?

  8. TUSD has been destroyed. Nice work Adelita.

    • You are partially correct, Rat T.

      The Voters in TUSD that re-elected Grijalva share the responsibility for the Academic Destruction of the District. The situation, in my view, will NOT change via the Electoral Process; a process Controlled by the “Grijalva Political Machine”.

      Change will come, if Laws have been broken by the Board/Administration such that they are forced to resign with the attendant consequences. Maybe…I say Maybe…the Voters will WAKE-UP and elect Community Members to the Board that are NOT Self-Serving…but..will actually service the Educational Interests of ALL the Children of TUSD.

      • I don’t think the voters in Tucson wake up any more for much of anything. That’s why these entities are getting away with murder. Metaphorically speaking, so far.

  9. joohn dough | April 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm |

    It makes me feel good to see that the ADI, on this issue, will not be Politically Correct and shy away from, and censor, my comment that is based on the facts, that can be seen all over the social media and reputable news channel, AKA, Fox news.

    Thank you ADI for having the courage to allow the truth to be revealed.

  10. Lillian Fox | April 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm |

    Three TUSD Board members are up for re-election, Dr. Stegeman, Ms. Foster, and Mr. Juarez. Ms. Foster and Mr. Juarez are part of the Board majority that votes for TUSD’s current contradictory, ineffective discipline policy. At a recent meeting, when Ms. Foster was asked about TUSD’s discipline problems, she said, teachers needed more professional development training on discipline!

    TUSD’s current discipline policies go far beyond anything required by the USP (desegregation plan). Furthermore, TUSD’s discipline policies are confusing and contradictory. Some principals game the present system of tracking suspensions, by simply not suspending students regardless of their behavior. The consultant hired by TUSD claims too many students are getting suspended!

    Mr. Hicks has spoken repeatedly in favor of consequences. Dr. Stegeman has (1)providing principals with more discipline options and (2) supporting teachers’ statutory right to remove disruptive students in his campaign literature. TUSD appears to ignore Arizona law that gives teachers the legal right to permanently remove disruptive students from their classrooms.

    Many eligible voters don’t vote in the TUSD Board elections. This time, pay attention and vote!

    • Arizona Revised Statutes: 15-841 (A 1,2), gives the Classroom Teacher the Authority/Responsibility to remove a Chronically Disruptive Student from the Classroom; NOT an Administrator BUT the CLASSROOM TEACHER!! It is NOT being implemented.

      Teachers in TUSD have allowed themselves to be Professionally Emasculated by the TUSD Administration. If the TUSD Teachers, and the TEA, were truly Professional and Dedicated to Academic Success of their Students, they would NOT tolerate this and STRIKE!!!!

      • Frustrated | April 16, 2016 at 8:10 am |

        And then those teachers would be retaliated against and all would be their fault. Currently, teachers are being blamed for lack of curriculum knowledge, or lack of knowledge on restorative practice. The problem that TUSD has is lack of true discipline. Students can miss class, wander around campus, run from adults, and say whatever they want. They can get straight Fs and are passed on despite reccomendstion of the teachers. The rights of the students who follow the GSSR are being infringed everyday by students who are not; yet still, no decision making body is helping them. Instead, teachers are being told to keep kids in the classroom at all cost. When students are disruptive, it is because the teacher doesn’t have engagement or is not culturally responsive. Cultural responsiveness doesn’t mean consequences go away. It means to be understanding of where these kids are coming from and work even harder to help them understand that their actions have consequences and the older they get the harder the consequence. The problems in TUSD schools are not bullying its complete lawlessness void of consequence and full of blame.

    • What Dr. Stegeman is now apparently doing in his Campaign for Re-election to the TUSD Board, is too LITTLE…too LATE. The TUSD Administration, with the support of the Board, is in VIOLATION of Arizona Law, specifically: 15-841 (A 1,2).

      A Group of TUSD Teachers, Dedicated Professionals, as a first step, must Organize and File Suit, ASAP, against the TUSD Board and Administration.

  11. Get yer kids outta “public school”–NOW. “Frog”: yer right; “john dough”; social media end fox news are not reliable sources of info.

    • joohn dough | April 15, 2016 at 5:33 pm |

      It is apparent Bill that you do NOT watch the same Video’s that I do on Fox News and the social media. These video’s are NOT faked and are actual video’s take at the point of the ASSULT’s in “real time”.

      Try to keep up with current affairs so you are knowledgeable on what is taking place in our school’s as they are becoming some of the most dangerous places for our children and teacher’s to be.

  12. There are tons of issues and reasons as to why the schools have allowed the kids to rule the roost. Deadbeat parents are the first ones that hire lawyers to sue over everything and nothing. If kids are not in the seats, schools do not get paid so they will take whomever. The state is starving public education and then have the gall to complain about how bad it is getting. Administration doesn’t want to hear about discipline issues within the classroom because then it goes against the teacher for not having any management skills; which is not true. When you put all kinds of students with different learning levels and different ways of learning in an over crowded classroom with one teacher; it is a travesty. They are trying to make regular teachers become Special Ed teachers without the training by doing inclusion without the proper staff. Social Promotion has been the worst guinea pig failed experiment forced on education which has produced lazy, irresponsible, uncaring, students who expect high grades for doing nothing. If a child cannot do the work at grade level, that student should never be passed on to catch up later. They never catch up and then you have high school students who can’t read nor write in complete sentences. What is a high school teacher suppose to do with students who have been passed from grade to grade and is not ready for their subject matter? The teacher gets penalized; not the student. They used to track students, now they track teachers. When students were tracked, kids were in different levels of classrooms, (high, medium, low) and they learned at their own level. They were not stuck in any level depending on how they were doing. Some moved up or down depending on the type of help that was needed. Now teachers are tracked to punish the teachers because they throw everybody in a classroom and expect the teacher to perform miracles while their pay depends on student performance. Teachers can not effectively review work or reteach material to students who are struggling because they have to be at a certain point in the curriculum on any given day. Teachers are physically and emotionally abused on a daily basis and cannot say anything to the student for fear of reprisal of not being professional. Not all liberals believe in sparing the rod; I for one would welcome swatting a kid with permission from the parent; suspending the student everyday until their parents make their kids appreciate what it means to have a free education. Cell phones should never be used in the classroom unless it is part of a lesson. If my parents had received a phone call from the teacher saying that I was giving attitude and lip while they were trying to teach class, I would have had a fat lip and deservedly so. If you don’t learn something from being punished the first time; whose fault is it? I don’t believe in beating a child to death, but a swat on the butt to remind you of what you shouldn’t be doing is fine with me. As for Booth Fickett, at one time it was a premier math and science magnet school to where there was a waiting list for years to get in. Mr. Michel and his sister who was the office manager ran a great program and the school was the envy and pride of TUSD. Then they started letting in students just to fill a quota who were not ready nor able to do the work needed at that level. It takes parents and students who are responsible when it comes to doing the homework, science projects, etc. at a school like that. It has gone downhill ever since. The same thing is happening with University High. I don’t care what color you are or ethnic background that you come from and if you have the brains and temperament to do that kind of high level expectations; you have every right to be at a University High. But if a student is just filling a quota; it only brings down the program.

  13. Listen to a Mom | April 15, 2016 at 8:25 pm |

    On July 22, 2015, the White House hosted an event to Rethink School Discipline. I wasn’t able to post the link of the press release but it’s an easy search. It’s worth your time to look for it and read it. One of the big topics discussed was the amount of school suspensions being “too high” in certain areas.

    Are schools getting an implied or specific directive coming from above that there are “too many” suspensions, so that’s no longer an option or a last resort option to temporarily remove kids from the classroom?

    What can a teacher really do to keep a student from behaving badly or harming another person? Are schools afraid the Feds will come down on them for removing a dangerous student from the classroom?

    Safety always matters. It is disturbing that kids and teachers are in fear daily.

    Thank you ADI for shining light on this.

  14. I believe there should NOT be ANY SUSPENSIONS! All who cause trouble should be put into a school which has tough teachers and aids as well as security, much like mary meredith and some of the outlying middle schools. Many want to get suspended, they just dont care and as a result you end up with the type described above. No take a school or schools in each area and that is where trouble makers are assigned. PARENTS are responsible for transportation to and fro not the transportation system. About 10 years ago a trouble make was killed in a drive by because he was ‘suspended’ and out on the streets, poor little darling was totally innocent!

    So get teachers who will be willing to work with these thugs and grade them as appropriate. Doing failing work, they fail is the result, then tie the results in to CPS, welfare etc and let them then suffer the consequences of no education! AIds and tusd/security will be available at all times and they will be authorized to use force as needed. Dont want the little darling to have to do this well take em home and make them toe the line as a parent should. Corporal punishment needs to be explained to all. BEATING is not corporal punishment but most seem to think it is. No just like you train a dog or cat, a rolled up newspaper across the butt is all that is needed in most cases, sometime a leather strap, if applied correctly the individual will learn. My dad gave me 4 whippins I can still remember and beleive me that is all it took to learn right from wrong. But the PC community and all the do gooders have ruined the concept, maybe they need a few lessons themselves:)
    ————————————————————————————–
    My kind of teacher (I’m still laughing!)

    This one is dedicated to all my friends who ever taught school, parented children or served their country.

    A former Sergeant, having served his time with the Marine Corps, took a new job as a school teacher, but just before the school year started, he injured his back.

    He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn’t noticeable. On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school.

    The punks, having already heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him and decided to see how tough he really was before trying any pranks. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window wide and sat down at his desk.

    When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he picked up a stapler and promptly stapled the tie to his chest…!!!!!

    There was dead silence.
    He had no trouble with discipline that year.

  15. It is not just the parents. It is the lack of discipline/consequences or follow through at the schools. Sometimes, parents are not even called if their child ditches. The kids are at our schools almost 8 hours a day. They have learned that they can bully, act out defiantly, ridicule sub’s to get attention from their peers and receive NO consequence. These behaviors existed 20-30 years ago, with the difference being parent notification and a school imposed consequence. Bullies are therefore empowered and bad behavior is tolerated. This is not going to benefit the victims or bullies. It is truly sad. Parents and students like the ones featured in this article need to continue to speak out.

  16. Libby Wiley | April 17, 2016 at 8:33 pm |

    I’m a retired TUSD teacher of 14 years. I always said, it’s gonna bite them in the butt, and it is. You can’t treat/pay teachers the way they have done and not expect to run them off. So we don’t have enough teachers and now the students have no stability in their classrooms and are not learning near enough. Oh but look what our superintendent makes for a paycheck. How does that man live with himself???? I’m so glad I got the hell out when I did in 2014. I don’t think I could have done it anymore.

  17. FYI:….Report: Bullying is a serious public health problem

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Zero-tolerance policies are ineffective in combating bullying, an independent government advisory group says in urging schools to take a more preventative approach that includes teaching tolerance to address this “serious public health problem.” In a report released Tuesday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said bullying should no longer be dismissed as merely a matter of kids being kids. “Its prevalence perpetuates its normalization. But bullying is not a normal part of childhood,” the report said. Schools, the researchers concluded, should end zero-tolerance policies that automatically suspend students for bullying. “There’s no evidence that they are impactful in a positive way,” said Catherine Bradshaw, a professor and associate dean at the University of Virginia, and part of the committee that wrote the report.

  18. Ken Moroney | May 11, 2016 at 9:34 pm |

    Video in each class room and in hallways and restrooms (except showers and toilet area). A child that breaks the rules (which should be posted and a copy must be signed by one parent or caretaker). Point system as bad behavior continues until that student is prohibited from participating in athletics and all other extra-curricular school activities BASED on accrued points for bad behavior documented by video. Next level of bad behavior points means students lose parking privileges at school. Next level of “bad points” mean the student is required to “take classes” ONLY via off-premises at one central location with actual law enforcement officials in the CLASSROOM with them and the teachers (plural). Parents/guardians advised that TUSD will investigate and meet in the homes with parent/parents and a watch list will be formulated to monitor the behavior of the residents of those homes IF THEY REFUSE to become involved with solving their child’s behavior issue. Criminal charges will be filed in every case of bullying and fighting (the one who started the fight ONLY.)

  19. Nothing has changed for the better. It is Worse!

Comments are closed.