Teachers losing control

There are some indications that the zero tolerance policy is getting some review after so many stories of honor students being suspended for nonsense but this one is a classic. The San Francisco Unified School District is trying to implement a policy that will empty some classrooms. The idea is that students can leave class at anytime for a ‘potty break’ without having to explain anything to the teacher.

But that’s not how it sounded in a memo Truitt wrote asking administrators to discuss the issue with teachers. He wrote: “Absent a formal Board Policy, we are asking schools to make every effort to comply with the following.”

He then listed the core principles of free-range potty policy. “Students should not be denied access to the restrooms at any time during the day; Students do not need to explain or justify their need to use the restroom; Students are not restricted to a certain number of bathroom visits per class per semester.”

So the policy isn’t official, but teachers should follow it.

One of the ways students try to take advantage of substitute teachers, in particular, is with hall pass requests.

“A policy of allowing students to come and go as they please to the bathroom is a recipe for academic and disciplinary disaster,” wrote Armen Sedrakian, a Presidio Middle School math teacher who has been in the classroom 20 years. “Students can use this unsupervised time to freely use their mobile phones, tag and otherwise destroy school property, steal, do drugs, or participate in other illicit or self-destructive activities.”

That might sound paranoid – until you investigate where problems frequently arise at schools.

Too loose and too tight. It seems the school administrations just can’t get it right.

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