Education

A (Harshly Beaten) Skeleton in the Education Secretary's Closet

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corporalpunishment

A TV channel in Chicago exposes child abuse in the city schools:

Treveon Martin is one of at least 818 Chicago Public School students, since 2003, to allege being battered by a teacher or an aide, coach, security guard, or even a principal. In most of those cases—568 of them—Chicago Public School investigators determined the children were telling the truth….

The 2 Investigators found reports of students beaten with broomsticks, whipped with belts, yard sticks, struck with staplers, choked, stomped on and pushed down stairs. One substitute teacher even fractured a student's neck.

But even more alarming, in the vast majority of cases, teachers found guilty were only given a slap on the wrist.

And in case you were wondering what relevance this might have in the world beyond Chicago:

CBS 2 informed former Chicago Public School CEO Arne Duncan of our investigative findings shortly before he was promoted to U.S. Secretary of Education.

"If someone hits a student, they are going to be fired. It's very, very simple," Duncan said….

But that's not what happened under Duncan's watch. Of the 568 verified cases, only 24 led to termination. Records show one teacher who quote "battered students for several years" was simply given a "warning" by the Board of Education.

And another student was given "100 licks with a belt." The abuse was substantiated, but the records show the teacher was not terminated.

In some school systems, it's almost impossible to a fire a teacher even when you try. Still: Duncan, who has a history as a reformer, has managed to terminate several teachers when their schools weren't performing academically. You'd think credible allegations of child abuse might attract his attention as well.

[Via Undernews.]

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  1. I’m sure there are a lot of poeople who will call this a… you know…. “feature”.

  2. I’ve got four years of teaching under my belt, and if teachers are running around hitting students, that is one poorly managed school system.

  3. Cops and teachers, above the law.

    McHope and Van der Change will fix it.

  4. Yeah, it’s hard to believe a school system could put its own people over the children–in Chicago!

    But even if it is impossible to fire someone who works in Chicago Public Schools, why would we want someone who couldn’t even figure out how to hold child abusers accountable running the Department of Education?

  5. So if you can’t fire the teachers – you can get the un-touchable cops to shoot them. But they’re all public union members so they’d stick together.

  6. The magic of government jobs! Even whipping won’t get you fired.

    Although, I think it sensible to advocate for the whipping of a fair majority of our federal administrators…

  7. My wife worked at a not-for-profit that worked in the Chicago schools and she noted that in the predominantly African American schools, two things jumped out at her. One was corporal punishment, the other was Bible verses in the classrooms.

  8. Cops and teachers, above the law.

    Both parties are filled with LEO fellators, but only the Dems have been NEA semen swallowers for decades.

    Some should be by to deny it shortly.

  9. Man, this is a heck of a week for Obama, isn’t it. Bailout, torture, another appointee with skeletons. How much worse is this going to get?

  10. Sounds like Chicago schools need a few Mr. Prezbos.

  11. Epi, did you just say “heck”?

  12. Yeah, Warty, more Bunnys too.

  13. The 2 Investigators found reports of students beaten with broomsticks, whipped with belts, yard sticks, struck with staplers, choked, stomped on and pushed down stairs. One substitute teacher even fractured a student’s neck.

    If I did any of the above to someone else’s kid my boss wouldn’t have to fire me. I’d be in prison. It’s “in loco parentis” people, Not “I’m loco, parents.”

    OTOH, with some of the junior high kids I’ve known…

    One was corporal punishment

    Corporal punishment does not include unsanctioned stapler whacks. The irony here is that public schools are so dead set on “weapon-free” zones, zero tolerance for fighting back against bullies, never using corporal punishment, and all the other “peace at any price” nonsense.

  14. If the children of Chicago don’t learn about getting the crap kicked out of them in the classroom, they’ll just learn about it in the streets.

  15. Epi, did you just say “heck”?

    Fudge you, Warty.

    (Did you ever see the Bullshit! on swearing? The woman who wanted to replace swear words was hilarious with her replacements.)

  16. Can we nominate a man who let child abusers have a pass under his watch for Secretary of Education? YES WE CAN!

  17. I went to private schools. you behaved, like a young man/woman should, or the nuns beat you, not abuse. a whack with a ruler here a whack with the eraser there. and when you got home, your parents whipped you, grounded you, and you never fucked up like that again. Todays problem is the parents not disiplining and the schools unable to enforce disipline in thier own halls!

  18. No word on what the kids did to warrant the beating?

  19. oh, the principle had a paddle, and us kids played cut your own switch from the willows in the backyard! we were not abused, and we are all productive members of society

  20. Epi, the funniest part of that episode is that Penn didn’t swear once.

  21. Damn – I didn’t catch that the first time around (I’m not always the sharpest knife in the drawer) – I’ll have to watch it again.

  22. As someone who worked in, but not for, public schools I’m of two minds on this issue. On the one hand, it’s frustrating to see physically abusive teachers go unpunished.

    On the other hand, in Illinois (like most states) an assault on a public school employee is automatically upgraded to aggravated assault. 720 ILCS 5, Section 12-2. How many students who assault teachers are charged? how many expelled? I’d bet it’s a small percentage.

    In my years in another urban school system, I saw (and reported) one teacher assault on a student. I witnessed dozens going the other way around, and the students were rarely suspended, let alone expelled or charged. So Teachers aren’t being treated like they’re above the law, they’re being treated like everyone else–which is to say that they’re ignored.

  23. (Did you ever see the Bullshit! on swearing? The woman who wanted to replace swear words was hilarious with her replacements.)

    Epi,

    Shut the Front Door!

  24. The 2 Investigators found reports of students beaten with broomsticks, whipped with belts, yard sticks, struck with staplers, choked, stomped on and pushed down stairs. One substitute teacher even fractured a student’s neck.

    Sounds like a junior version of Gitmo. Torture and abuse are appropriate descriptions for some of these incidents (choking, pushing down steps)…

    Mr. President, you got a lot of ‘splaining to do.

    Just to clarify that I’m not a whiny, bleeding heart type, I come from a similar background as SpongePaul in regards to education (nuns) and discipline (switches). Although I might be open to some forms of narrowly defined, mandatorily witnessed and documented corporal punishement, I don’t trust educators with this sort of power.

  25. But SpongePaul, what about the Sec. of Ed? Some of those teachers should have been fired, right?

  26. Sounds like Duncan is a conservative. They do tend to go on about how terrible it is that public schools no longer torture students as much as they used to.

  27. Although I might be open to some forms of narrowly defined, mandatorily witnessed and documented corporal punishment, I don’t trust educators with this sort of power.

    Especially not educators who can’t be fired.

  28. Since the story is from WBBM-TV, you may want to listen to the classic Dick Marx-composed “WBBM Channel 2 News Theme” (MP3 here) while reading it. 😉

  29. “I’ve got four years of teaching under my belt, and if teachers are running around hitting students, that is one poorly managed school system.”

    Did it ever occur to you that mayby, just maybe, the little bastards deserved it?

  30. Compulsory education is child abuse.

  31. I’ve got four years of teaching under my belt, and I’m going to whack children with it.

  32. Did it ever occur to you that mayby, just maybe, the little bastards deserved it?

    I’m not sure if it has occurred to you that not “just maybe” but most certainly it is a crime.

  33. You’re kidding me. So the director of a huge organization didn’t take it upon himself to fire some of the lowest level employees in that organization (who are protected by a strong union) over something that goes on all over the country and almost never makes the papers or even the PTA meetings? And this is somehow a scandal?

    Wow. That right there, that’s desperation. And transparent. It took the Iraq war for liberals to hate Bush this badly. Reason was going full frothing hatred on Obama weeks before he was even inaugurated. It’s going to be interesting to see how completely deranged this place gets in the months to come.

  34. It took the Iraq war for liberals to hate Bush this badly.

    WRONG!

    Idiot or disingenuos douche? You decide.

  35. J sub D, I was part of an anti-Bush march in 2000 during the inauguration. I used to hang out on Indymedia. Yes, people were angry about the election. But no one but the crazies were finding make-believe “scandals” under every rock. Can you seriously defend this charge against Obama? That somehow the chief of a large organization is personally responsible for the firing and hiring of every individual member. That corporal punishment is faint-worthy child abuse? This is nuts. This place is worse than Malkin and NRO right now.

  36. So the director of a huge organization didn’t take it upon himself to fire some of the lowest level employees in that organization (who are protected by a strong union) over something that goes on all over the country and almost never makes the papers or even the PTA meetings?

    What a gross distortion of the story.

    That right there, that’s desperation. And transparent. It took the Iraq war for liberals to hate Bush this badly. Reason was going full frothing hatred on Obama weeks before he was even inaugurated. It’s going to be interesting to see how completely deranged this place gets in the months to come.

    Back in the last administration, there were people who thought any criticism of any aspect of the Bush administration, from the state of civil liberties to the conduct of the war, could only be explained by “BDS.”

    I mention this apropos of nothing.

  37. But no one but the crazies were finding make-believe “scandals” under every rock.

    That whole arsenic pseudo-scandal that was being beaten to death in the NYT must have been my imagination…

    Can you seriously defend this charge against Obama? That somehow the chief of a large organization is personally responsible for the firing and hiring of every individual member. That corporal punishment is faint-worthy child abuse?

    The distortions grow bolder.

  38. What a gross distortion of the story.

    It’s not? Headline:

    A (Harshly Beaten) Skeleton in the Education Secretary’s Closet

    Conclusion:

    In some school systems, it’s almost impossible to a fire a teacher even when you try. Still: Duncan, who has a history as a reformer, has managed to terminate several teachers when their schools weren’t performing academically. You’d think credible allegations of child abuse might attract his attention as well.

    Tell me, what is this story about, if not a “skeleton in the education secretary’s closet.” Because that is the headline.

  39. Clinton making a last minute regulation and Bush reversing it seems more like a policy decision than a scandal, personally. People react to policy decisions. That is how things work.

    “A (Harshly Beaten) Skeleton in the Education Secretary’s Closet?” I mean the children! Not everyone knows this, but the children are our future.

  40. Tell me, what is this story about, if not a “skeleton in the education secretary’s closet.” Because that is the headline.

    Apparently, in your dialect, “skeleton in the education secretary’s closet” means “charge against Obama” and “the chief of a large organization is personally responsible for the firing and hiring of every individual member” and a definition of corporal punishment that includes choking, pushing people down stairs, and assault with a staple gun. You also seem to have missed the part of the story in which Duncan himself claimed that “If someone hits a student, they are going to be fired. It’s very, very simple.”

    Anyway. I’m watching my sick daughter today, and she’s almost done with lunch. I have better things to do with my time than argue about this.

  41. Jesse, I like your writing, I like your reporting, but if you don’t think this particular story is anything but bait for an email that goes “FWD; FWD; FWD; OBAMA CODDLES CHILD ABUSERS” then I don’t even know. Best regards,

  42. That somehow the chief of a large organization is personally responsible for the firing and hiring of every individual member.

    When that chief has personally promised to fire anyone who hits a student, I think he is, yes, personally responsible for the failure to fire anyone who hits a student.

    That corporal punishment is faint-worthy child abuse?

    Corporal punishment, in the old school sense of a couple of licks in the principal’s office? No.

    Savage beatings resulting in injuries up to and including a broken neck? Yes.

  43. I know! Let’s give the public schools more money!

    We’ll spend $2 billion to give every school in America a Beating Counselor.

  44. When that chief has personally promised to fire anyone who hits a student, I think he is, yes, personally responsible for the failure to fire anyone who hits a student.

    The elephant in the room here is the teacher’s unions. He shouldn’t have made a promise he couldn’t keep, as the unions have far more control than he does, and they could care less whether a dues-paying member is beating children (let alone how crappy a job they do at teaching).

  45. Jesse, I like your writing, I like your reporting, but if you don’t think this particular story is anything but bait for an email that goes “FWD; FWD; FWD; OBAMA CODDLES CHILD ABUSERS” then I don’t even know. Best regards,

    Of course there are people out there who will spin it that way and they’ll come off a lot like the birth certificate crazies. I think Jessee’s post was more of a buyer beware message than explicit bait for those who’ll end up rabidly frothing about it and twisting it beyond recognition.

    And yes, a fractured neck certainly qualifies as a result of being “harshly beaten”.

  46. The elephant in the room here is the teacher’s unions. He shouldn’t have made a promise he couldn’t keep, as the unions have far more control than he does, and they could care less whether a dues-paying member is beating children (let alone how crappy a job they do at teaching).

    Maybe it’s just me, but if I had Duncan’s job and reports of this stuff came to my desk and it turned out the union wouldn’t let me fire those responsible, I’d resign and call up every reporter that would listen to me.

    So that leaves us with a best case scenario that Duncan simply didn’t know what was going on and a worst case that he knew and tried to sweep it under the rug. Either way he’s not fit to be Secretary of Education.

    Obama is showing a distinct pattern of appointing people unfit for the position they are appointed to. When combined with the fact that many of his appointees are from Chicago, I find this very concerning. If this gives me ODS, then so be it.

  47. ASS HATS,

    If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    No one is claiming Obama is guilty by association, they’re claiming his appointments seem to be about as inept as Bush’s nominations of people like Harriet Miers. Duncan had to have been considered for this cabinet post for months. David Axelrod is going to turn out to be as rotten for this country as Karl Rove.

    It took the Iraq war for liberals to hate Bush this badly.

    You’re obviously too full of shit to waste any more time on. Or I must have dreaming about the “Bush STOLE the election!!!” rants.

  48. So the director of a huge organization didn’t take it upon himself to fire some of the lowest level employees in that organization

    The janitors, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teacher’s aides, maintenance people, and secretaries will be surprised at that.

  49. Just call the beatings attempted abortions and it’s all good.

  50. This is too cruel. Why would anything act like that?

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