Saturday, October 21, 2017

Another School Another Nashville

I subbed at this school last year.  The Sub across the hall stormed out within the first hour screaming she had enough.  Chaos ensued and kids were shuttled to rooms including mine to hold them until something could be done.

In this same class I watched a boy do a perimeter search.  He walked the room repeatedly and with one hand/finger kept erasing lines through my instructions and name I posted on the board. I recognized the PTSD symptoms and just kept repairing them until I decided to erase it and say nothing.  That morning was stressful and they had a pep assembly with the Titans there for some reason that utterly was un-engaging but the Adults loved it.  Then it was back to the class with the same class that was already confused as there had been a fight so back to period one.

Then after that class break I had a prep and the afternoon was fine until again another fight and the same first period kids had to return to my class where I was to do what.  And Day Two began the same, no Sub for the other room and in turn my inherited kids riled up from the day before began a fight.  I watched a little girl beat a boy and drag him across the floor pulling him by the hair and literally scalp and blood was left on the floor.  I screamed and stood behind the desk calling 911 and kids went to another Teacher across the hall who tried to break up the fight.  When I got 911 the Operator told me Police was already on site and aware.  So using my foot I took paper towels and dragged them across the floor to clean up the blood/scalp and then with paper and files picked up the wet towels and tossed them in the garbage as I tried to avoid handling any bodily fluid.

The day went like the day before and then the Secretary came and asked why I wasn't outside for recess.  I was shocked they had recess but I apologized as I did not know and she said it was okay and given what had transpired the last two days was I okay.  I said no and I wanted to leave.  The last period of the day where they once again stomp back to the classroom for dismissal was just another notch on the belt I could not do again so she understood, told me to pack up my stuff and go.  I thanked her and walked away from the school to the better area of Georgetown to pull myself together.  I had no real sense of Geography as I do now but it was an incredibly bad area divided by Rosa Parks Blvd but not just by a road but a world of difference.

As I left she asked the Principal if that was okay to leave 30 minutes early after all of this and he said sure as I had no official classes left just this odd dismissal process that was done as they had to stop the violence and chaos that broke out when they did it all at once.  Did he speak to me ever over the course of the last two days to discuss what transpired and to thank me for staying. Hell to the no.  But I didn't expect nor care and I was happy to go.  I told them sure I would come back and knew I would never set foot in there again.  And I never have and never reneged on that promise (which in some cases I have and not been disappointed that I had as it validated I was right)  A few months later a Science Teacher was found with a gun in a backpack he claimed he forgot he had in there and he never returned so why would I? Why would anyone?  Since that time this school is on the list handled by a Staffing Agency along with 20 some other schools that have had problems getting subs at all.  There is a short staffing issue but these get none.  I have been to most of them and for varying reasons they are deserved.  But instead of speaking to Subs, offering hazard pay and asking for feedback they hire an agency to do what, the impossible?

But what is fascinating is that I have laughed at what Nashville calls acclaimed.  They are just ordinary schools where the kids literally fight (there was one between the two at a Girls Soccer Match a few weeks ago and that of course upset the status quo as these are the good kids) to get into and are micro managed and segregated within classes to ensure compliance and grade inflation.  You will go into rooms where it is all black kids and you will go into other where it is all white.  The few Asian kids and Latino kids are scattered in but it is as divided as any public school can be and the reality is the discipline problems are less as they have more to lose as who in their right mind wants to set foot in the other schools that are the size of mini malls with as many rules and regulations as any prison or military camp could have.  I still love the Elementary school (also on the special list) that said no noise at lunch.  Okay then.

I was exhausted on Monday from just one hour with a group of kids and this was in the Teacher of the Year winner.  She knew the problems when I met with her and I told the Security that I had had repeated problems in this school as there is little to work with that would help a Sub succeed, such as seating charts with photos, phone numbers to call and neighboring Teachers to ask for help.  We are ignored, marginalized and disrespected by the Staff so how or why would the Students be expected to be different.  I sat outside of a class at an acclaimed school yesterday for over 45 minutes 15 minutes after the start of the day as they had no key and the one key that existed was in the hands of someone not there yet.  I see.

**Again another acclaimed middle school just a block away had only one shredder for the school so this is again nothing new. And this week thanks to a bad contract many schools had no copy machine as the vendor retrieved all the toner reserves to give them a big F U for cutting the cord. God this is surreal the level of mismanagement and idiocy.**

So as I stood in the hall waiting, the kids went to another class as apparently a Teacher told them to  come to her room to wait. Did she talk to me?  No, she did not speak to me, introduce herself, say "Put a sign on the door to direct them and I will do attendance while you wait."  Nope she came to me at 2:00 and said "Hope the day went better." I responded it would have had an Adult told me the plan, insured that I knew what we could do and in turn communicate with me the ADULT so I could do my job.  She had what I have come to expect here in Nashville the combo frowny uncomfortable face that is about TMI and a facial gesture that means, I really don't want to hear this I am faking I give a shit and now you are speaking to me!   This is what defines Southern Hospitality or the Nashville Way, faking they care when they don't.   It is a combination of passive aggressive and dismissiveness that is not about you it is about them;  This is the Southern nature, they are Martyrs and you are to be one too. The only thing good that came out of this was that I realized I thought I was becoming a Racist and then I realized nope it is pretty much anyone and almost everyone I encounter from here that I loathe.  I cannot believe the Teachers who I meet who say I came from the acclaimed Williamson County to teach here or the ones who say to go to Williamson. So which is it? Well again that is the Southern/Nashville way to give mixed messages and contradict oneself.  It is a bizarre way to communicate and none of it sane.

The schools are dumps they are producing kids who are symptomatic of this so when the kids who finally came in asked me what happened I said, "Well another school another day in Nashville" and they asked what that meant.  I told them that I go from school to school and none of them seem to function well and that on Monday I watched kids just throw stuff for 20 minutes and I just cleaned it up and said nothing until a calculator went flying and accidentally hit me.  A girl busted out laughing. I said I am glad that my pain is a source of amusement for you as I was not harmed but I was sad that children have no self control nor enough self respect to realize what impression they are giving and in turn her laughing only lends to that and that is not a good thing and what is the message there.  I don't think they ever know how to handle this as the South is a rage based place. It is about Race but it mostly about money.  And it shows in every aspect of living here. Income inequality is a national crisis.

Mother concerned about violence at Nashville magnet school
By Jessica Jaglois Published: October 18, 2017,


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville mom says she was worried for her child’s safety at a local middle school.

Alison Egerton’s 10-year-old son started fifth grade at John Early Museum Magnet Middle School with high hopes.

“When I toured the school it was fantastic,” she told News 2. “It was quiet when we were there; we liked the staff that we met with. We felt great about it.”

John Early Middle is a magnet school, which means students who aren’t zoned for it must apply through a lottery system.

Egerton said she applied because it’s a pathway to the prestigious Hume-Fogg High School, where her older daughter went to school.

“I was elated that Kingston would have that same Hume-Fogg experience. I would have no idea at what cost that would come,” she said.

Egerton told News 2 that in the first week her son and his friends started talking about fights they had seen.

According to school officials, there have been 62 fights at John Early so far this year.

Metro police said they’ve responded to 40 calls for service at the school and seven of those have been for assault.

By the third week of school, Egerton said her son had been punched in the stomach, choked in the bathroom and finally, beaten up to where his tooth was broken.

“I would have preferred to have him in a daycare environment than to send him there,” she said. “He wasn’t learning and he was getting physically threatened and injured.”

Egerton said her son switched schools but she worries about the students still enrolled there.

News 2 sat down with Metro Public Schools Community Superintendent Pippa Meriwether.

She oversees all schools in the MNPS Northwest Quadrant, which includes John Early.

“This was a very unfortunate incident as is all violence against students,” she told News 2. “Students are not in danger at John Early. We have a wide array of support staff, teaching staff, principal and assistant principals who are very dedicated to the safety of the students.”

Meriwether said since school started, two new staff members have been hired to help with social and emotional learning.

“We’re working on routines and procedures throughout the whole school and working with faculty to model good social and emotional behavior,” she said. “We are working with the community, we are working with the parents, and we are working with the students and the faculty to provide the very best education to students and to keep students safe.”

She said the changes weren’t made because of violence that has been reported this year.

Meriwether said the changes, which include a school-wide climate and culture intervention plan, were brought on by looking at the disciplinary data from last year.

“We wanted to be proactive,” she said.

She added John Early also did a “re-boot” after fall break this year.

“We saw opportunities to improve and so we thought if we kicked everything off with kids coming back, everybody’s fresh and new, they can wrap their heads around the expectations and be committed to that for the rest of the school year,” she explained.

When asked about the reports of violence at the magnet school, Meriwether said, “There has not been a lot of violence at John Early.”

“But 62 fights is a lot?” News 2 reporter Jessica Jaglois asked.

“Sixty-two fights is a lot, I will agree,” said Meriwether.

Meriwether said she wants parents to report anything they feel isn’t right as soon as possible so administrators can deal with it accordingly.

However, Egerton was not convinced by Meriwether’s response and urge parents to be vigilant.

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