Few handed expulsions for assaults on teachers

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The Richmond County students accused of sending their principal to the hospital after she tried to break up a fight will probably learn of their punishment this month, but they likely won't be expelled.

It will be up to a disciplinary tribunal to determine the severity and intentions of the Cross Creek High School students' actions.

Despite a policy that permanently expels students guilty of the most egregious assaults on staff members, The Augusta Chronicle found that tribunals almost always choose to dole out a lesser punishment, which the policy permits as an exception to the rule.

Since fall 2003, 118 students have been found guilty of a Rule 4(B) violation, the most severe assault of a staff member, defined in the Code of Conduct as "physical violence against teachers, school bus driver, or other school official or employee."

But of the 118, only six have been permanently expelled as policy states. The numbers are based on The Chronicle's compilation and analysis of 3,771 student discipline reports dating back to August 2003.

"A student found by the tribunal to have committed an act of physical violence as defined herein against a teacher, school bus driver, school official, or school employee shall be expelled from the public school system," states the Code of Conduct, which has the force of policy. "The expulsion shall be for the remainder of the student's eligibility to attend public school."

The code goes on to state that at the board's discretion, a guilty student can be sent to the alternative school for the duration and the board, at the recommendation of the tribunal, can allow a child in elementary or middle school to re-enroll in a regular school setting for high school.

Tribunals have issued these much more lenient punishments, which range from giving students time served to expelling them until the end of the school year.

"If that's the case, then somebody's not following the rules," school board member Jack Padgett said. "Any 4(B) I've gotten, as far as I'm concerned, they are out of there."

He said he supports permanent expulsion for any student found guilty under this rule.

"They need to be somewhere, but not in the school system. If we've got a 4(B), and they haven't been expelled, I want to know why," he said.

Sharon Smith, a retired math teacher, said in an e-mail that punishments for students who assault educators are too lenient. "I agree totally that the punishments are too light," she said.

Recalling her days at Cross Creek High School 61/2 ago, Ms. Smith said one assistant principal suffered "pretty bad bruises" at the hands of a student and another suffered a concussion when the cafeteria was robbed.

"Every time the male teachers and principals tried to break up a fight, their bodies took stray blows," she said. "I loved most of my students ... but after two years I decided it wasn't worth the verbal and potential physical abuse from some of the parents and students.

"Most of the kids are great, but the few are affecting the whole learning process."

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

MAJOR ASSAULTS


Richmond County policy permanently expels students found guilty of the most severe assaults on school staff members, though it does allow for less strict punishments as an exception. The Augusta Chronicle found that it's rare for a student to be permanently expelled.

SCHOOL YEAR GUILTY EXPELLED
2003-04 33 1
2004-05 30 0
2005-06 24 4
2006-07 20 1
2007-08* 11 0

* Year to date

Source: The Augusta Chronicle analysis of Richmond County Board of Education records

Comments (27) Add comment
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csuer
0
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csuer 01/02/08 - 10:59 am
0
0
Is it legal to hose the

Is it legal to hose the students down if they want to breakup a fight??

justus4
99
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justus4 01/02/08 - 11:01 am
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A clear example of violation
Unpublished

A clear example of violation of established school policy. This is the problem with written laws. Some people will interpret the meaning differently. However, the facts will reveal that the most harsh punishment will be visited upon minorities. It's evident is every facet of American life from kindergarden to judical nominations. Thats because the folks making these decision are non-minority with biased views. And "they" refuse to peacefully address the truth. Everyone will attempt to avoid the obvious by say, "my decision is based on the facts, not race; well, I don't have a racist bone in the body or some of my best friend are black." Ha! Of course few are expelled, and we think the reason has to do with a students' race.

zigzag
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zigzag 01/02/08 - 11:57 am
0
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justus4 - you are a racist!

justus4 - you are a racist! No where in the article did it address the race of the student thugs! You naturally assumed them to be a "minority", which I guess means white in most Augusta schools. You're the one with biased views and a warped mind! I don't care what color or flavor these kids are - if they assault anyone, including staff, there should be crimminal charges filed. Your prejudices and hatred for others has skewed your thinking.

KingJames
10
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KingJames 01/02/08 - 01:01 pm
0
0
Some comments don't warrant a

Some comments don't warrant a response, especially if the comments create racially discord.

intheknow
16
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intheknow 01/02/08 - 01:04 pm
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There should be few if any

There should be few if any exception to this rule.

intheknow
16
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intheknow 01/02/08 - 01:19 pm
0
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There should be few if any

There should be few if any exception to this rule.

Little Lamb
45398
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Little Lamb 01/02/08 - 01:27 pm
0
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First the Chronicle gives the

First the Chronicle gives the numbers that show expulsion is not often meted out as punishment. Then comes the ridiculous comment from School Board Trustee Padgett, "Any 4(B) I've gotten, as far as I'm concerned, they are out of there." Are we witnessing a School Board Trustee who is out of touch with reality? Are we merely hearing the meaningless words of a blowhard? Does the school board have the responsibility to approve or overturn the decision of a tribunal? What is the rest of this story?

csuer
0
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csuer 01/02/08 - 01:44 pm
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I you haven't noticed, justus

I you haven't noticed, justus 4, what was once considered a minority is no longer a minority. Just look around you......
Also, why is it that the victim seems to have less rights than ever before?!?!?! Things that make you go hmmmmmmm.....

Former Augustan
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Former Augustan 01/02/08 - 02:06 pm
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I went to school in Augusta

I went to school in Augusta for 12 years, and only once saw an incident of a student assaulting a teacher, and this was in the mid-1950s. After the teacher told a very disruptive student to be quiet, the student gave him a ration of back-talk, and then took a swing at the teacher, missing. The teacher swung back, connected, and the student hit the floor, and was then dragged out of the room by the teacher. I never saw this student again at ARC, and we never again had any discipline problems in that class.

movingforward
40
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movingforward 01/02/08 - 02:18 pm
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Let's put this to a vote. If

Let's put this to a vote. If a student injures a school employee should he/she be expelled? If he is expelled where do you think he should spend his time during his expulsion period? If he is not expelled what kind of message does this send to other students and teachers? Wake up School board members and look at your teacher attrition rate.

kiddspur
2
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kiddspur 01/02/08 - 02:27 pm
0
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Sounds like these students

Sounds like these students need a good old butt paddling given out by the parents and a class on repenct!!!

SunDown
2
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SunDown 01/02/08 - 03:07 pm
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Justus...What the hell are

Justus...What the hell are you going on about now? What "clear example" are you referring to? Your comment about written laws is absurd. How do you suggest the laws be recorded, should we just use the "force?" Your "interpretation" comment can be applied to virtually everything under the sun, and also makes no sense. As far as the "facts" revealing the harshest punishment being visited upon minorities, what is your source? Are you saying that somehow you know for a fact that these students are black (which, as stated, is not the minority in Augusta)? Or, that you know for a fact that these students will be "visited" with a harsher punishment than their white (or brown, or yellow, and on and on) counterparts. You may be right about the judicial nominations. Democrats, in fact, do ensure that minorities do not rise to any level of power. By the way most of Augusta's constabulary is also black and mostly democrat. If you have a problem with them why don't you try voting republican next time? Lastly, you should stop trying to sound more intelligent than you obviously are. I am not saying there is no racial element to this story; I'm saying none of YOUR arguments hold water!

dani
12
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dani 01/02/08 - 03:55 pm
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cando..Where the expelled

cando..Where the expelled student spends his time is up to the parents. The BOE can't and shouldn't raise your child for you.

Little Lamb
45398
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Little Lamb 01/02/08 - 04:45 pm
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Cando, the vote was 416 to

Cando, the vote was 416 to 65.

As It Is
2
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As It Is 01/02/08 - 05:20 pm
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Strike a teacher in any way

Strike a teacher in any way shape or form and you should be arrested and expelled. Public School is for education only and those who aren't there to learn need to go. A physical confrontation with any staff member is totally unacceptable so let their parents deal with them in home school or send them to private school. This is the reasons many teachers are becoming complacent, will not intervene, shut their classroom doors when incidents occur, etc. because they are not supported by the upper administration. I mean when it gets to the point that the school lunchroom is getting robbed it is very clear who is running the schools - the 5% or less that our pure out thugs and by being in the school are only doing harm to others and bringing others to their way of thinking. Throw the bums out of school.

fedupcitizen
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fedupcitizen 01/02/08 - 05:21 pm
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I didn't read through all of

I didn't read through all of the responses as I just didn't have time. However, I do have an opinion. The student that does this they should be placed on temporary suspension pending going to court and in addition to the judges decision should be placed on administrative probation before being allowed to step back in school. Stop letting these brats get away with it. Parents need to be made responsible for their children's actions in any way and those parents who are doing everything they can do aren't getting help in or out of the system with out of control kids. That being said, I have raised four kids. Two girls, two boys. Two mine, two step-children. The only one of the four who caused problems at school was the oldest step daughter. When I got through with her little behind she didn't cause any more trouble. That wasn't abuse ladies and gentlemen that was disciple and yes it was in recent years and no noone even came close to hollering child abuse.

fedupcitizen
0
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fedupcitizen 01/02/08 - 05:27 pm
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Sorry can't spell today

Sorry can't spell today Discipline

SunDown
2
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SunDown 01/02/08 - 06:08 pm
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fedup... fyi you can edit

fedup... fyi you can edit comments that you have posted by clicking on the little pencil icon at the bottom of your post. (I liked your post)

class1
299
Points
class1 01/02/08 - 07:26 pm
0
0
Fix the discipline and it

Fix the discipline and it will fix test scores. They should not be allowed to hit a teacher, that is why the Richmond County Police should be called and not the BOE Police. The students should have been arrested.

sarahs mom
16
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sarahs mom 01/02/08 - 07:38 pm
0
0
There is little to no

There is little to no disipline in the schools today. If your labled as "special Ed" you can basically act up and get away with it. If they keep you in school, they get federal money so they look the other way when thses kids get in trouble. I wonder out of the ones sent up for expullsion how many were labled as resource or special education students? After all, they can't help it. at least thats the excuse. The real problem is lack of parental involvement. The parent sends the child to school to use it as a baby sister, they don't care if they learn or not, they aren't at home so they can get their SSI.Don't believe me, go observe a class one day, ANY CLASS, any school, any day. Black, white, elementary, middle, high school, Aiken, Columbia, Richmond County. Pick one, same problem, just a different address.

cchsteacher
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cchsteacher 01/02/08 - 08:58 pm
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My comment is for the Augusta

My comment is for the Augusta Chronicle. Before you print articles, please ensure that all of your information is correct. It clearly shows that you are more concerned about getting a story than you are with getting all of the facts. I surely do not remember the event happening as Mrs. Smith explained it and I have been on staff since the school opened.

420Time
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420Time 01/02/08 - 10:38 pm
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These must be upper

These must be upper middle-class white kids for them to not get the most extreme punishment. If these were Minority (especially Black) the Chronicle would have named them along w/ publishing their photos. I remember living in Augusta 15+ years ago when they would publish either a photo or description if the perpetrator was Black and almost never published this info if the perp was West Augusta White. South Augusta Whites were treated sometimes like the Blacks and had the info published. Especially if they lived in a trailer park.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 01/02/08 - 11:05 pm
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0
so of the 100+ kids who

so of the 100+ kids who assaulted a teacher or w/e only the 6 who were expelled were black and all the rest were white? Take you racist assumptions ( notice the first 3 letters in that word) and go blow that smoke up someone else's tailpipe. and then in the same post you say whites in trailer parks were treated just as bad, sounds more like an economic or social class problem you are refering too. So why even make your racist comment? Stop trying to twist everything to make excuses for your feelings!! This article was about bad kids assaulting staff, which they each should have been arrested and charged, it has nothing to do with race........guess there always has to be at least one in the crowd... geesh!! You must be related to justus!

Simply Lovely
1
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Simply Lovely 01/03/08 - 12:29 am
0
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What about in the cases where

What about in the cases where the teachers provoke the students? I am a teacher and I have seen it happen. Some teachers enjoy provoking the students! Expelling kids isn't the answer in all cases. I think monitors in the classrooms would be beneficial or putting camera's with sound in the classes.

joesimpson
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joesimpson 01/03/08 - 12:56 am
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I lived in South Augusta all

I lived in South Augusta all my life and I've never heard what you are describing Boca. South Augusta was once a great place to live. It's a shame how our do nothing politicians and our greedy former school superintendant dropped the ball. I hope to see it rise once again but I feel it will turn into another drug infested area. As far as expelling students, not for just assaults but for other dangerous behaviors. I think we need to get away from the mindset that "we the taxpayers" owe anyone a education. When you get a job you have to do your part to get paid. Students should have to do their part to stay in school. Don't let a few knuckleheads disrupt the learning experience for the students that really want to learn. It's so un PC to punish children because of our blame everyone else for our problems society. I ask the majority of good, honest, upstanding citizens of any race, what did your parents do to you when you misbehaved? Mine tore my butt up!! It was the right thing then and it should be the right thing now. Spare the rod and spoil the child!!!

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 01/03/08 - 01:32 am
0
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Many administrators are
Unpublished

Many administrators are hesitant to expel students because dropout rates are indicators for AYP according to No Child Left Behind. Since 2003 educators have been spending massive amounts of time trying to keep those 118 students IN school so that they are not "left behind." I don't think it's working. Those 118 students draw the attention away from the 30,000 other students attending Richmond County Schools. As for the commentary about parenting, it is rare to find a child with the same last name as their parents and that is very telling. Parenting is a gynormous problem that none of us can do much about other than create social pressure to be a better parent but that is not the direction society is going.

manuelg
0
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manuelg 01/03/08 - 04:00 am
0
0
I am a principal of a High

I am a principal of a High School with 1400 students between 14 - 18 years in Cape Town, South Africa.It is very interesting and sad to note that young people behave the same no matter where they live.Poverty,unemployment,economic demands,and lack of parental interest is common characteristics of dysfunctional students.Dare we touch a student our jobs are on the line - yet students abusing,assaulting or threatening teachers are treated with kid gloves.To that cchsteacher at ARC to the chronicler - be careful what you say -you could be part of the problem!

plutoisaplanet
0
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plutoisaplanet 01/03/08 - 09:42 am
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Intersting... am I

Intersting... am I remembering correctly reading a story about a columbia county kid who was suspended for voluntarily turning in asprin he brought to school that he was taking as ordered by the doctor b/c of zero-tolerance drug policy but this article says richmond county kids are usually allowed to stay in school even when assaulting an employee??? HELLO?!?!?

serenityplease
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serenityplease 01/03/08 - 04:53 pm
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Unfortunately, it's not the

Unfortunately, it's not the money from the feds keeping the students who are special in school; it's the federal law that says unless a staff member or student loses a limb or eyesight or other severe injuries are inflicted, a school cannot expel the student. He/she is protected by federal law rights, IDEA Reauthorization is the law.

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