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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Education news summary: School violence

(Posted 11 Feb 2006)
  • Bus shooting spurs call for changes; Some Crossland drivers want truant officers, safety aide, student ID badges.
  • . . . Phillip Daniel Swann, 19, a sophomore, and Lawrence Herbert, 17, who had previously withdrawn from the school, were pushed off by the driver near the corner of Maxwell Drive and Morris Drive in Temple Hills.
    [. . .]
    While drivers say buses are equipped with Nextel phones and radios in the event of an emergency, those devices don’t often guarantee that drivers will receive the backup support they need in time. ‘‘These kids have no respect for drivers whatsoever,” Butler said. ‘‘I enjoy my job somewhat, but it’s getting dangerous.”

    In the event of an emergency, Butler said she must first call the transportation headquarters so that they can call the police. If she wants to dial 911 directly, she said she must use her own phone to do so.

    Students who cause trouble must be written up at least three times before they can be suspended from riding with other children, according to Crossland bus driver Jernine Garner. ‘‘We can’t suspend them off the bus ourselves,” she said, later adding that administrators do not always act immediately if a fight breaks out or a student is written up for bad behavior. Parents should be brought in for meetings as soon as their child is written up for bad behavior, not after several warnings, she said.
    [. . .]
    Crossland High School’s Principal Charles Thomas did not return phone calls to The Gazette.
  • Parental help sought to improve school safety; Board chairwoman says community must help keep violence away from schools.
  • School Board Chair Beatrice Tignor said while the school system will do all it can to keep children safe, the community needs to do more to make sure incidents like last week’s school bus shooting aren’t repeated.

    ‘‘We certainly need help, in the way of intervention,” Tignor said, imploring parents to keep closer watch over their children. ‘‘Many of these behaviors don’t start at school.”
    [. . .]
    Tignor said that without community help, it is nearly impossible to keep violent or criminal elements and weapons out of schools, particularly large high schools with as many as 12 exits and no metal detectors.

    ‘‘We certainly don’t supply weapons to the students, so they must be bringing them in,” Tignor said. ‘‘With all the exits and entrances in schools, they can find a way to get them in.”
    [. . .]
    Bus drivers have called 911 for emergency assistance 13 times since the school year began in August.
    [. . .].
  • School Bus Violence Is Common, Drivers Say; Two Pr. George's Teenagers Are Charged With Attempted Murder After Gun Was Fired at Vehicle.
    • Post, 4 Feb 2006 (by Allison Klein and Nick Anderson, Washington Post Staff Writers).
    . . . An average of every other week, Prince George's school bus drivers pull to the side of the road and call 911 for police assistance because students are out of control, according to data provided by the school system. More than a dozen such calls have been made since the school year began in late August.

    About once a month, a driver will steer a bus filled with rowdy students to a police station and ask officers for help, said Capt. Andrew Ellis, a police spokesman.

    "It is getting to be a bigger, more menacing problem than before," said one bus driver, who has been driving for 16 years and spoke on condition of anonymity because she felt her supervisor would not approve.
    [. . .]
    Board of Education Chairman Beatrice P. Tignor (Upper Marlboro) said the school system is looking into hiring a company to come into classrooms and teach children respect for themselves and others, which she sees as the underlying issue in bus violence.

    "We are really trying to address the issue as much as possible," she said.
  • School Plagued With Violence Getting Back To Normal; Parents: New Principal Making A Difference.

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