by James C. Sherlock

We read earlier today that the eminent developmental theorist Urie Bronfenbrenner has written:

The more we study human development, the more it becomes clear the family is the most powerful, most humane and, by far, the most economical way of making human beings human.

That truth, however, does not account for the degree that families have broken down in America in the last 60 years, which is, unfortunately, a lot.  The Pew Research Center reported in 2019 that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.

So we try to impart in school what some children are denied at home: humanity.

The federal government, Virginia government and local school boards have killed a lot of forests with laws, regulations and guidelines (and spent a very large fortune) trying to accomplish that.

I will provide here overwhelming evidence that Ralph Northam and the new Democratic majorities in both houses of the Virginia G.A. in 2020 did catastrophic damage to the schools’ ability to maintain order and thus safety.

The Northam-McAuliffe Board of Education in 2021 finished the job just in time for students to return in progressive-run divisions from as much as a 15-month COVID hiatus from schools.  No conservative-run division was out nearly that long.

So they created a perfect storm based on progressive dogma. At the most vulnerable time in our schools’ history.

They actually discouraged in law the reporting by school principals and teachers to police of cases of assault and battery in schools.

They never considered for a minute the easily foreseeable victims of the changes.

Ask Abby Zwerner about her school’s positive climate.

From the 2020 census:

  • 19 million children below the age of 18 live with a single parent, while 15 million children live with two parents;
  • There are about 15.3 million children in the United States who lived with a single mother while there are only 3.2 million children who live with a single father.

That does not mean that single parents are bad parents, just that parenting by one is much harder than parenting by two. And whether the father or mother is missing, the parenting of children not of the same sex as the parent is particularly hard.

In government schools, government rules emphasize, as parents should at home, positive role modeling and positive supports for proper behavior. That must always be the primary instructional model in both environments.

But then governments introduced the concept of protected classes into school discipline. Protecting them from not only school discipline, but from law enforcement.

That has not been done in secret. Federal and state governments are very up- front about it.

The Obama administration in 2014 openly threatened lawsuits against school divisions reporting “disparate impacts” of corrective actions against protected classes.

Then, in 2020, Virginia’s governing Democrats went nuclear.

The 2020 Virginia General Assembly. Virginia Democrats sought perfection in school discipline, which they saw as equal discipline outcomes for protected classes, despite unequal commission of disruptions and crimes.

They moved swiftly and comprehensively in the 2020 General Assembly and Board of Education to capitalize Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to designate a specific, defined program rather than the basic concepts of positive modeling, and to require that PBIS:

  • produce equal outcomes of discipline, and enforcing that rule by threatening retribution to violators;
  • demand that law enforcement not be informed of actions that do not rise to the level of felonies; and
  • insist that kids be kept in school for corrective action of anything but those same felonies.

§ 22.1-279.3:1 Reports of certain acts to school authorities; reports of certain acts by school authorities to parents; reports of certain acts by school authorities to law enforcement.

In 2020, House Bill 257 (Mullen, Hudson, Simonds, Guzman, Keam, Lopez) and Senate Bill 729 (McLellan/Mason) modified that law as follows:

Further, except as may be prohibited by federal law, regulation, or jurisprudence, the principal shall also immediately report any act enumerated in clauses (ii) through (v) of subsection A that may constitute a criminal offense to the parents of any minor student who is the specific object of such act. Further, the principal shall report that whether the incident has been reported to local law enforcement as required by law pursuant to this subsection and, if the incident is so reported, that the parents may contact local law enforcement for further information, if they so desire. [Strikethroughs are deletions in the law change; bold is added to indicate additions in the law change.]

It changed existing required reporting of criminal offenses to required reporting of only felonies.

Which requires each principal to be well-versed in federal and Virginia criminal law.

We also note that assault and battery and petit larceny are misdemeanors in Virginia.

Finally, we note that § 22.1-279.3:1 requires that only assault and battery that results in bodily injury need even be reported to the division superintendent. No special requirement to report assault and battery on teachers.

 § 22.1-279.3:3 The 2020 General Assembly also created § 22.1-279.3:3. Alternative school discipline process.

A. A school board may establish an alternative school discipline process to provide the parties involved in an incident described in clause (i) of subsection A of § 22.1-279.3:1 the option to enter into a mutually agreed-upon process between the involved parties. Such process shall be designed to hold the student accountable for a noncriminal offense through a mutually agreed-upon standard.

B. If provided for in the process established by the school board, no principal shall report pursuant to subsection D of § 22.1-279.3:1 a party who successfully completes the alternative school discipline process. If the parties fail to agree to participate in the process or fail to successfully complete the alternative school discipline process, then the principal may report the incident to the local law enforcement agency pursuant to subsection D of § 22.1-279.3:1. [Emphasis added.]

Thus lawbreaking is protected and madness defined in state law in the name of breaking what proponents of the change have deemed to be a “school-to-prison pipeline.”

That new law, like the modifications to § 22.1-279.3:1, offered no suggestion for what to call the victims of the changes.

§ 22.1-279.6 That General Assembly in 2020 revised § 22.1-279.6. Board of Education guidelines and model policies for codes of student conduct; school board regulations to include:

(v) standards for reducing bias and harassment in the enforcement of any code of student conduct.

With that statement, Virginia law now presumes the existence of bias in schools. Think about that.

That law refers to § 22.1-253.13:7. Standard 7. School board policies.

“3. The standards of student conduct and attendance and enforcement procedures designed to provide that public education be conducted in an atmosphere free of disruption and threat to persons or property and supportive of individual rights;”

Ironically, that guidance in law stands as a rebuke to this whole progressive effort.

The Northam/McAuliffe Board of Education. The revised Student Code of Conduct Policy Guidelines, including a change in the name of the document to Model Guidance for Positive and Preventive Code of Student Conduct Policy and Alternatives to Suspension (Guidance). It was published in June of 2021 by a Board of Education entirely appointed by Democratic governors to carry out the new Democratic laws.

I watched the sessions in which the draft was written.

The discussions within the panels led by ed school representatives were flat out scary. They were alternately ignorant, dismissive, or both of the conditions facing principals and teachers in the maintenance of discipline, order and safety in schools.

Guidance took policy a very long way indeed. From pg. 19:

Specifically, regarding equity in school discipline, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) recommends that school board policies should include a five-point multicomponent approach to reduce disproportionality and ensure equity in school discipline. School Board policy can develop procedures to:

  • Evaluate student code of conduct and school discipline policies for gender, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural biases;
  • Collect, use, and report disaggregated discipline data that clearly identify disparate discipline outcomes and utilize this data to inform professional development planning (A free guide to examine school discipline data is available at Safe Supportive Learning) ;
  • Provide implicit bias training and implement protocols to mitigate bias in discipline decisions;
  • Develop policies that include accountability for discipline disproportionality; and
  • Implement a behavior framework that is preventative, restorative, multi-tiered, and culturally responsive.

What would we do without free guides? That one, which includes the Obama “Dear Colleague” letter as a combination threat and “component of this guidance”, is 67 pages long before references. Reading it, you will find the root causes of disproportionate exclusionary discipline to be:

  • bias; and
  • schools and their principals and teachers not aligned with progressive thinking.

Who knew?

Guidance also told school boards what to expect of principals “demonstrating support.” See those expectations starting on page 24 and finishing on page 26.  Read that whole section and make your own assessment.

I find it to constitute a revolutionary redefinition of the role of principal in school discipline. Just as schools were returning from lengthy COVID shutdowns.

And you note we did not even get into that same 2020 General Assembly’s law and the BOE’s model policies on how to treat transgender students that managed to turn what should have been prevention of bullying into a national melodrama.

Something about a male Loudoun County student wearing a skirt for two sexual assaults in girls bathrooms in two different high schools.


Progressive school boards, while their colleagues in Richmond were changing policy, shut their schools and kept them closed far longer than medically indicated, and far longer that private schools and public schools controlled by conservative school boards.

Bottom line. I call them the twin towers of progressive destruction of the viability of public schools in Virginia.

  1. The 2020 laws and the 2021 Board of Education guidance directed by them radically reconfigured public school discipline systems.  
  2. Those two efforts were joined simultaneously by progressive-led school boards extending the shutdowns of their schools as much as a year longer that in private schools and conservative-dominated school divisions, putting severe pressure on order and discipline in the schools.

That leaves progressives with at least three problems.

  1. They cannot now pretend they didn’t change the system of school discipline.
  2. They cannot contend that those changes have helped schools recover academic losses from the unnecessarily long shutdowns they imposed on their own kids.
  3. They cannot pretend that teachers are not now leaving because they have lost control of their classrooms.

They can only try to change the subject and blame it on things beyond their control.

Yet everything in play was in progressive control, including discipline policy and  COVID shutdowns in progressive-led school divisions.  Guidance was revised, renamed and re-issued by the Democratic-appointed BOE in June of 2021 at the end of the last COVID shutdowns.  

They were so drunk with dogma they could not see the train coming.

They created a new system unable to maintain order and protect itself, its employees and other children from students who get negative modeling of humanity at home or in their communities or are mentally ill.

Subsequent General Assembly sessions under Democratic control until 2022 provided the opportunity to account for COVID outcomes in subsequent revisions school discipline laws.

They did not, and now with a Republican governor, the Democratic state Senate continues to block all attempts at post-COVID education reform with their “blue wall,” their own proud term.

Democrats own what public schools have become. If you like it, pause to say a prayer for the kids and their teachers.

And vote Democratic.

Updated Feb. 5th at noon.

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74 responses to “School Discipline – Part 5 – How and When Democrats Broke Virginia Public Schools”

  1. Bob X from Texas Avatar
    Bob X from Texas

    The school to mediocrity pipeline is more pervasive than the school to prison pipeline.
    When standards are relaxed and discipline is forgotten, mediocrity is the result

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      The term “school-to-prison” was chosen by progressives do deny agency (always a progressive goal) and thus deflect blame from dysfunctional homes and communities.

      1. Bob X from Texas Avatar
        Bob X from Texas

        I just invented the ” School to Mediocrity pipeline”. It is far more pervasive and easier for educational bureaucrats to hide.
        Most college grads today could not pass A high school exit exam from 1910.

        1. walter smith Avatar
          walter smith

          True. I doubt I could, and I know far more than the Yoots of today.

  2. It takes a village ………… to destroy a child

  3. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    I am so sorry Troll that saying the truth offends you, and that is the problem. The single biggest societal problem is lack of a father in the home, subsidized by stupid Dem guilt which even Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned against. The boys growing up with single mothers, besides a greater likelihood of poverty, do not learn to respect authority, and this leads to behavioral problems and more crime and more victims of crime. Illegitimacy has gone from about 20% to about 70% among Blacks, and from 5% to 20% among Whites.
    “Compassion” has had a disastrous effect of unintended consequences.

  4. Lefty665 Avatar

    Now you’re cooking with gas. At last, thought you’d never get here.

    “ensure equity in school discipline” says it all. CRT/DIE is in the driver’s seat.

    With the GA divided it will be hard to change laws. Unless that changes, the Gov’s executive appointments and policies are the paths forward. Among other things he has made a very good start with the initiative to have all kids reading at grade level by 3rd grade.

    The old VDoE web page on increasing equity led with eliminating differences in outcomes based on ability. It is now a 404 error, that is a good start too.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      The Dems did decades worth of harm with those 2020 laws unless Republicans can take back total control in Richmond. The BOE can help with the healing, but can only go so far.

  5. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    Of course, these deflections have nothing to do with subject or information flow of this this particular article. You are still arguing the last one.

    On the issue of school safety,order and discipline yes, it is the Democrats that did it. Democrats. The “blue wall’. Virginia’s household gods of broken school discipline.

    Say it loud and say it proud, Democrats.

    As for, what does “quasi-experimental” mean to you? The report is two years old, and didn’t make the strong evidence cut at the IES. is as assessment of two use cases of out-of-school suspended students, both of whom were suspended for truancy, which is not by itself a suspendible offense in Virginia.

    The third one has been around since 2011. Again, no sign of it on the strong evidence list at IES.

    I am not a member of the IES and couldn’t qualify, so I will never provide a direct opinion not based on their work. Next time I get a chance, I’ll check and see if the two above that may have been considered made any lower evidence cut level.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Are you a research scientist, Mr. Troll?

      I am not.

      So I defer to those whose job it is for the Department of Education and the rest of us to sort the wheat from the chaff.

      Behavioral science has been called out in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science as a field with a 40-year major problem with procedural fidelity in research.

      Means that they regularly, though certainly not always, run flawed studies.

      Not my call, that is their own journal.

      But that was not the subject of this column. You deflect because there is nowhere to go for a progressive in the face of the “work” of the 2020 General Assembly and the Northam-McAuliffe BOA.

      Democrats broke the schools.

  6. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    The authors ACTUALLY also wrote what I quoted, Larry. Direct quote. Page 33.

    The lawbreakers in this case are those who commit misdemeanor criminal offenses.

    Cops are not to be called.

    The disgraceful comment about SROs and other cops”undermining school climate, attendance and achievement” is radical agitprop pure and simple. If you would have watched as I did the radical s—-show that were the public sessions, you would have found that language to be low key.

    I included it because it shows the true feelings of them progressives on that panel towards the police still run towards denying their value, denying their absolute necessity.

    Toward, dare I say, if you are a believer in the “slave patrol” theory of policing, defunding them.

    Do you want SROs or not? Yes or no?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I copied verbatim what the policy says about the use of SROs where they made it clear .

      I think SROs are very necessary in high schools and middle schools and some places like the county I live in have put them in the elementary schools.

      I also think that there are increases in behavior and discipline problems no argument.

      I’m just not convinced PBIS is the evil you think it is. There is no real data that compares the differing methods and over and over it is stressed that PBIS is more of a framework than do’s and don’ts.

      But you may find the following interesting where in Spotsylvania, the Sheriff has diverted the elementary SROS to the High Schools while the Schools want them put back:

      “Spotsylvania County’s school resource officer program is under review after a disagreement between the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office and the school division over extra school resource officers at county high schools.

      “In light of recent coverage issues within our schools, the Memorandum of Understanding for the SRO program is under current review and it is our intention to ensure each and every school has the support of the Sheriff’s Office,” division superintendent Mark Taylor wrote in an email to the school community Friday afternoon.

      The disagreement stemmed from a decision by the Sheriff’s Office last month to increase the number of SROs on duty at four county high schools after a Jan. 17 fight at Riverbend High School, a Jan. 23 fight at Courtland High and an incident of trespassing on Jan. 24 at Massaponax High.

      The four SROs were reassigned to the high schools from four county elementary schools to provide extra security, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Liz Scott said Friday.”

      BTW, the Spotsylvania Schools are operated by a Conservative majority SB and the Superintendent is their hire.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        “involving police in school discipline undermines positive school climate and student attendance and achievement.”

        Read it again.

  7. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    A challenge: defend how the iron triangle of progressive law changes, model guidance and extended school shutdowns in 2020-21 improved school climate and helped recover academic losses from those very shutdowns.

    Take a your time.

  8. how_it_works Avatar

    The middle school I attended from 1988 to 1991 was a complete zoo. It was also in Manassas, but a PWC school. That probably had something to do with it.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Personal Water Craft school? Good idea. Them things is dangerous. FWIW, to qualify for a boater’s license, you have to pass a pwc safety test.

      Cheer up. There are hundreds of counties and school districts just like it all over America, including in States considered a Shangri la by the BR crowd.

      1. how_it_works Avatar

        PWC = Prince William County.

        The elementary school I went to before, in a different state, was like heaven compared to that middle school, which was like a hell on earth and not just when it was 90F outside because it had no air conditioning.

    2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      That had to me Stonewall Middle or Parkside. Marstellar had a former Marine Colonel. Addington was somebody you did not want to have a sit down with.

      1. how_it_works Avatar

        No, it was Marstellar. I got punched out cold in the locker room there. Didn’t even bother to tell anyone, I figured they wouldn’t care. Some dipstick was throwing empty soda cans in the locker room and the PE teacher, a guy by the name of Stump, didn’t trouble himself with what was going on in there. Far as I can tell one of the soda cans hit one of the residents of Irongate or Coverstone or some other minority low-income community that fed that school and said resident took his anger out on me. Barely saw it coming, the SOB hit me in the back of the head, not sure if he punched me or hit me over the head with something. Woke up on the floor. But of course we must understand that some folks suffer from anger issues and a lack of impulse control…he’s probably in prison by now.

        One of many things that made me not quite a fan of Virginia. That kinda crap just DID NOT happen where I lived before.

        You can have a strict law-and-order principal, but it does no good if teachers look the other way. With the screwups that went to Marsteller, I’m sure his hands were full regardless.

        EDIT: Also, Mr Addington was only there for my 6th grade year. 7th grade we got a new principal Mr Whitley. We called him Mr Witless because he was a complete joke. Must have come from some school in some lily-white suburb in Minnesota or something.

        1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
          James Wyatt Whitehead

          No way! Mr. Stump and Mr. Mullinax looked the other way? What about Mr. Addington and Mr. Daly? I am a few years older. In the early 80s those guys would have school assemblies that were dedicated to what was going to happen to you if you bent the rules. They still paddled and enjoyed it. Marstellar had the wildest mix of kids. Irongate, Coverstone, and then all of us rednecks from Catharpin and Bull Run Mountain. The even playing field was the Skate Ranch or the Mall. Tough guys acted differently in public.

          1. how_it_works Avatar

            I must have edited my reply while you were working on yours: Mr. Addington was gone in my 7th grade year. And I would say that things got worse with the new principal, Mr Whitley. (As noted in my reply, we called him Mr Witless because he seemed pretty ineffectual as a principal).

            Mr Stump, from what I can recall, NEVER walked through the locker room so a lot of mischief went on in there. He pretty much stayed out in the gym area.

            Don’t recall a Mr Mullinax or a Mr Daly. They may have been gone by the time I was at Marstellar.

            I figure I was one of the few kids going to Marstellar who lived in a middle-class house that wasn’t on a well and a septic system.

          2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            Only fight I ever lost was in the Marstellar locker room. Made the mistake of fighting a wrestler. He had me tied up in a pretzel knot. Stump and Mulinax were out that day. I got even at the Skate Ranch. Wrestler had a nice shiner and fat lip for his pin in the locker room. It is hard to wrestle on a pair of skates! I had him and he knew it!

          3. how_it_works Avatar

            I never wanted to fight anyone. Wasn’t interested in it. Went to OPHS and a combination of having grown (I’m taller than most people now) and a different clientele at that school and things were much better there. The jerks that gave me trouble at Marstellar, well, the vast majority went to Stonewall instead, I think, and the ones that did go to OPHS left me alone when I grew taller than them.

            OPHS wasn’t without it’s problems, though. Brian Davis murdered John Jenkins. I knew both of them, not real well, but I could pick them out of a police lineup.
            Found out later via an archived Washington Post story that Brian Davis got the murder weapon from a relative of John Jenkins. Small world. Too small.

          4. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            I remember I had Marstellar friends who lived south and east of Manassas. Yeah OP was always a step up from Stonewall. Thank God for puberty! If guys like us had stopped growing in middle school life would have been hard. My escape from the mayhem was work. Started at age 14. 30 to 35 hours a week.

          5. how_it_works Avatar

            I remember walking to OP from home to take my exams in July. I had chicken pox and was out of school during exam time. Dunno how I managed to avoid getting it till 11th grade.

            I had a job in high school but it was with a hole-in-the wall computer store and the owner was barely making ends meet. Some guy would come in and sell memory modules that cost at least $50 each for $5 each. He had tubes and tubes of them. Knowing what I know now, I’m fairly certain that (1) that guy was a Federal employee and (2) that stuff was stolen from some Federal office.

          6. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            Did you have Mr. Clenandial for history class at Marstellar? I always thought of him as one of the best.

          7. how_it_works Avatar

            Yes I did. I also know that he was a sports reporter for the News and Messenger. He used to do a weekly current events quiz and he’d ask questions about then-current top 40 songs. I think it was questions like “Who sings the song Miss You Much?” Answer: Janet Jackson. I always answered those correctly. Nobody else in class seemed to know what was on the top 40 chart that week. Thinking about it now, I wonder if he had a subscription to Billboard or Radio and Records or one of those publications in order to come up with those questions or knew someone who did. Or maybe he just listened to the Shadoe Stevens Top 40 Countdown every week like I did, on Q107.

            I’m probably as old now as he was back then, and I haven’t a clue what’s on the top 40 chart these days!

          8. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            He retired about 10 years ago. Never left Marstellar. Went to the new building and soldiered on. I would keep up with him from time to time. I was impressed with his vivid memories of his class that I was in from 1982. He liked music. Clendaniel would always give the playlist of what was on Friday Night Videos every Monday morning. That was pre MTV.

          9. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            You might like this. Dr. Marsteller was a key figure in Prince William County history. I knew some old timers in Catharpin that thought very highly of this country doctor and civic leader. I always liked the mascot, “The Medics”. No other school that I know of had that unique name.

          10. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            Only fight I ever lost was in the Marstellar locker room. Made the mistake of fighting a wrestler. He had me tied up in a pretzel knot. Stump and Mulinax were out that day. I got even at the Skate Ranch. Wrestler had a nice shiner and fat lip for his pin in the locker room. It is hard to wrestle on a pair of skates! I had him and he knew it!

  9. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    The Joe Clark Myth persists.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    One of my retired teacher friends was a coach and he said that for some kids, sports if how you keep them in school and behaving, They don’t want to be booted off the team.

    He typically had a “deep” bench to accommodate as many kids as possible, even if they’d never be 1st or even 2nd string.

    They all got to practice and play and years later, they come back to thank “coach” for keeping them in school.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Mr. Whitehead (in absentia) has said this very thing on at least two occasions.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Yep. Also where “shop” and other trade schooling come in. You can keep them there and
        they will behave if there is something there for them, a reason to be there, and hope for the
        future. You’d think conservatives would “get” that.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Apparently, making statements of fact concerning the production of Nike shoes in the US rather than Haiti should have had a link…

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            I’m pretty dense sometimes so this point eludes me…..

          2. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            It’s in reference to a deleted post suggesting introducing “sweat shop” classes in school.

  11. Matt Hurt Avatar

    Below are some things I have found to be true over the years.

    1. There have been disparate discipline outcomes for students within different subgroups, with black boys receiving the brunt of this. This should be addressed, because when they’re suspended, they cannot learn what is expected.

    2. In some schools, suspension has been the go-to means by which to maintain discipline. In those schools, kids aren’t given air in a jug.

    3. Suspension is not the most effective deterrent to student negative behaviors as many of these kids would rather be sent home than to be forced to remain in school.

    4. Discipline problems have increased in our schools, and our schools in general are less orderly and less conducive to learning than prior to the pandemic.

    5. With all of the focus on discipline outcomes and positive discipline, principals feel that their hands are tied. Positive disciplinary techniques are not always effective with every student in every situation.

    6. If the parent of a student in a protected class feels that his/her child has been disciplined improperly and reports this to the USED Office of Civil Rights (OCR), that office will launch an investigation. Since we have had disparate outcomes in discipline, it is extremely likely that the OCR will find evidence of disparate outcomes at that school. If this is the case, OCR will require significant corrective actions. This process provides a chilling effect on discipline, and therefore principals are less likely to discipline children in those classes.

    7. The feeling that positive disciplinary expectations tie the hands behind our principals and the looming threat of an OCR investigation has the effect of more behaviors going unchecked. The more negative behaviors kids get by with, the more likely they and others will exhibit more negative behaviors. In other words, the de facto expectations for student behavior have eroded.

    8. The least restrictive environment (LRE) for the vast majority of our students is the general education classroom in their home/neighborhood school. Special education administrators from the Feds to the state to the division tend to driven by compliance to federal SPED law, and therefore tend to try to maintain every student in the general education classroom. The LRE environment for some students is not in the general education classroom (for the benefit of the student themselves and the safety of others), but these students are not stamped on the forehead as such.

    There are numerous factors at play which have brought us to this point, but anyone would have a very hard time defending the idea that discipline in our schools is what it should be today. Our teachers don’t support that notion, as many are finding the meager salaries we provide to be insufficient today to deal with this issue and are moving on to more lucrative, less worrisome positions in other fields.

    1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      “Since we have had disparate outcomes in discipline, it is extremely likely that the OCR will find evidence of disparate outcomes at that school. If this is the case, OCR will require significant corrective actions”

      It requires more than just disparate rates of discipline to support a finding of discrimination. If there is discrimination at play, corrective actions are called for, no…? To me, the message is IF your school has disparate rates of discipline and given that there often is actual discrimination associated with such disparate rates, ensure that YOUR school is not discriminatory in its administration of discipline.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        Read Dr. Hurt’s comment again, Mr. 1/2 Troll, for its basic and well articulated message.

        “Anyone would have a very hard time defending the idea that discipline in our schools is what it should be today. Our teachers don’t support that notion, as many are finding the meager salaries we provide to be insufficient today to deal with this issue and are moving on to more lucrative, less worrisome positions in other fields.”

        And disciplinary data combined with SOL data show that the schools in Dr. Hurt’s Region 7 provide on average much more orderly learning environments and greater safety than to many other regions in the state. They do more with less than any other region in the state – absolutely no contest. And they do not broadly use PBIS as currently defined.

        You and a couple of other full-time progressive trolls on this site are the “anyones” to whom he is referring “having a hard time”.

        You refuse to agree what is right in front of your noses, whether it is the breakdown of school discipline or, as detailed in column, the “work” of progressives to destroy the learning environment in the name of equity when in charge in Richmond.

        Your practice of making a detour from the main thrust of an argument that you cannot effectively dispute in order to torture a single sentence is called deflection.

        It is beyond tiresome.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          If Region VII do not use PBIS and Mr. Hurt is saying behavior is worse than before COVID, to what do we attribute the worse behaviors to if not PBIS?

          1. Matt Hurt Avatar

            PBIS is used in Region VII to varying degrees.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            Thanks. So it IS involved with the behavior and discipline issues in Region VII?

          3. Matt Hurt Avatar

            Yes sir, but I couldn’t say to what degree. Some divisions have “implemented” it and others have not. I imagine one would be hard pressed to objectively determine to what degree it has been implemented (actually on the ground) anywhere in the state. Just because someone says they are doing a thing, doesn’t necessarily make it so.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            So you saying this makes it sound like there is no easy way to determine PBIS effect in Region VII schools. The assertion advanced by Sherlock and others seems to be that PBIS has resulted in worse outcomes for behavior and sanctions for violations than before when it was not used. Determining if this is true (or not) to this point seems to be lacking in actual data from the schools (beyond anecdotal incidents).

          5. Matt Hurt Avatar

            I think it is nearly impossible to determine in which schools it is being fully implemented anywhere. Just because they participated in training doesn’t mean it’s being implemented with fidelity on a daily basis. It’s kind of like the teacher who attends the training on some whiz bang instructional strategy. Once she closes the door in her classroom, she’ll do as she sees fit.

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            So if I go to a certain school and ask them if they are using PBIS, they’ll not have a solid yes or no answer?

        2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          “And they do not broadly use PBIS as currently defined.”

          And yet Dr. Hurt states that his teachers are leaving (in part) due to disciplinary issues. With no PBIS…?? How can this be…?!

          1. Matt Hurt Avatar

            Region VII teachers are the least well paid in Virginia. Region VII vacancies are lower than the rest of the state.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            Not really unexpected. Rural locales often do not have many good job opportunities and they tend to be led by Conservative leaders who typically keep the local tax rate low. The two ways to raise salaries for teachers is increases from the State or tax increases on local voters.

          3. Matt Hurt Avatar

            Well, Region VIII is in the same boat as far as job opportunities, but they have the highest vacancy rate in the state- also led by conservatives.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            Right. But typically in rural areas, the elected BOS is loath to increase tax rates that would be
            necessary to provide higher salaries. We have a Conservative BOS in Spotsylvania but we are alsoin a more urbanized area where we WILL and DO lose teachers to higher paying jurisdictions (like Stafford, Prince William, Fairfax) that WILL (and does) increase taxes to pay higher salaries. The rural areas far from the urbanized area don’t have these pressures and thus not as likely to increase taxes to pay those higher salaries.

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Why do you think that is? What bearing does that have on PBIS use/avoidance? Do not system size, growth or contraction rates, cost of living, size of school, student:teacher ratio, etc also play into this? Contrary to this comment, you have stated that teachers in your Region are leaving and that through interviews you cite discipline and salary as being the drivers.

        3. LarrytheG Avatar

          well, there is “thinking” in BR that it’s not discriminatory… it’s that blacks do offend more often… in fact…

      2. Matt Hurt Avatar

        All they need is disparate outcomes. I’ve seen this in action. In their world disparate outcomes = discrimination. No other factors necessary to come to that conclusion.

        1. Lefty665 Avatar

          Equity and CRT at work.

        2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          If there is disparity in discipline between white and black but no disparity in offenses then there is discrimination. That is what the law (and the Obama justice department at the time) addresses and seeks to correct. Disparate disciplinary actions between races is simply not enough on its own. Not sure who “they” are but it seems it would simple enough to defend oneself if there is no discrimination to be found in the statistics.

        3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          If there is disparity in discipline between white and black but no disparity in offenses then there is discrimination. That is what the law (and the Obama justice department at the time) addresses and seeks to correct. Disparate disciplinary actions between races is simply not enough on its own. Not sure who “they” are but it seems it would simple enough to defend oneself if there is no discrimination to be found in the statistics.

          1. Matt Hurt Avatar

            These are the folks at OCR. In the cases in which I am aware, all behaviors were handled in the same manner- the same infraction got the same discipline.

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            And an OCR investigation successfully prosecuted a case of racial discrimination… ? That seems unlikely given the statute. They clearly state they will investigate case of racial disparity and that seems like a responsible position/action.

    2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      “Since we have had disparate outcomes in discipline, it is extremely likely that the OCR will find evidence of disparate outcomes at that school. If this is the case, OCR will require significant corrective actions”

      It requires more than just disparate rates of discipline to support a finding of discrimination. If there is discrimination at play, corrective actions are called for, no…? To me, the message is IF your school has disparate rates of discipline and given that there often is actual discrimination associated with such disparate rates, ensure that YOUR school is not discriminatory in its administration of discipline.

    3. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      I filed a formal complaint a few years ago pre-COVID with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against Richmond Public Schools.

      I provided all of the public data that they would have needed to proceed against that division for disparate outcomes for black children across both education and discipline.

      The lawyer assigned for a couple of months kept asking me for more information. I answered every one. The evidence was overwhelming that black children were being denied an education, and disparately so.

      The Richmond school board was and is majority black. OCR decided not to proceed.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        Pretty much says as usual that you have no idea what you are talking about

    4. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      On #6, either parents aren’t complaining, or the investigations aren’t working because stand downs are still being doled out to black students waaay more than others.

      1. Matt Hurt Avatar

        No doubt.

      2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        Nearly 13,500 school districts in the U.S.

        So many targets. Virginia has only 1% of those.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          In the lingo of the gang of States, Virginia is a 1%er

    5. LarrytheG Avatar

      Your views and comments are much appreciated. I know you are a busy man but when you do have that time, your perspective is much appreciated. Thank You.

    6. Lefty665 Avatar

      Best, most informed post on the topic I’ve seen. Thumbs up.

  12. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    Dr. Hurt makes the “same tired case” that lack of discipline in the schools is handicapping all attempts to recover learning losses and causing teachers to flee the profession.

    I just made that case that progressives own that problem in Virginia schools.

    Their work in state government 2020 and 2021, detailed in this article, was indeed as transformational as they intended it to be.

    It was intended to make schools relatively less controllable in a tradeoff for improved equity.

    The third part of that triangle was the extended shutdowns of public schools in progressive-controlled school divisions. By doing that, they created a perfect storm.

    The pretense that, after much-longer-than-warranted COVID shutdowns, restorative circles could work broadly to improve the behavior of feral students proved a mirage.

    Progressives got neither workable school environments nor equity for their collective efforts.

    Progressive dogma holds that personal agency is an oppressive concept and racism must be blamed for disparate outcomes.

    Those concepts are enshrined everywhere in the 2020-21 changes to Virginia educational law and policy.

    I did not expect you and your fellow trolls to mount a full-throated defense of that body of work, but rather to try to change the subject.

    You did not disappoint.

  13. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    You intentionally left out an entire paragraph to attribute to me an opinion I do not hold.

    See the paragraph starting “that does not mean that single parents are bad parents …”

    That is flat unconscionable. And, unfortunately typical.

  14. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Wow! Seriously! Deleting a comment showing Florida, i.e., non-Democrat, is evaluating PBS, and that a totally different country, New Zealand, which also has a racial as well as economic disadvantaged population is moving from stand down discipline to PBS?

    What’s the point?

    BTW — the NZ gub’mint evaluation of their PBIS implementation.

  15. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    Well, apparently direct critique of a BR piece as misrepresentation is no longer allowed by the censor. Rule #5…

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      not at all consistent in uniform application of the rules…. is targeting some and ignoring others.

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