Thursday, April 24, 2014
A letter to Governor Patrick ... Joanne Maura
Honorable Governor Patrick:
I would like to add my voice to those who are decrying the terrible conditions that exist in the New Bedford Public Schools this year. I know first-hand because I am the teacher in the video who had a chair thrown in my direction by an 18-year-old student athlete because I had followed the school’s policy and confiscated his cell phone, intending to turn it in to the house office where he could retrieve it at the end of the day. He was so horrified by the prospect of spending the day without his beloved cell phone that he threatened me, whipped a chair toward my desk (hard enough to break the seat) and then knocked everything off my desk onto the floor. Had another student in the class not videotaped it, it would have been covered up just like all the other violent incidents in my school. No one has asked the key question, “Why didn’t the School Resource Officers respond when called?” I have the answer to that question; they were in another part of the school dealing with an attack by a student on a guidance counselor. But no one’s supposed to know that; it’s part of the cover up.
Have you see the movie “Lean on Me”, where Morgan Freeman comes in as principal to reform East Side High? The incidences of violence in that movie were sporadic (even in condensed movie time) compared to what is happening at New Bedford High School. Our superintendent, Pia Durkin, is no Joe Clark, make no mistake; instead of throwing out the student trouble-makers, she and her rubber-stamp school committee, have made it a highly suspect behavior to be a teacher, do your job, and tell the truth.
When Jon Mitchell was running for mayor the first time, he promised that he would eliminate the trouble-makers at the high school. We had no idea that he meant the teachers.
Again, unless you or an outsider visits the school in the guise of a substitute or college professor evaluating a student teacher, you can have no clue about how bad it is. I’m sure that a few classes are exceptional (I have one wonderful class myself thank God) but most of the time, the teacher tries to execute a lesson while spending at least half of the class time dealing with discipline issues. The attitude of the headmaster is “Every student belongs in class….all of the time,” which I’ve heard him repeat over and over again. Durkin’s goal at the beginning of the school year was to reduce suspensions by 50%. I could go on about the terrible conditions, lack of technology, textbooks, materials, etc., but one subject is enough for this letter.
Please don’t forget about us here in the Whaling City that once lit the lamps of the world!
Posted by NBEA