Problems plague Tubman Middle

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Something "dramatic" must be done before the state takes over Tubman Middle School, Richmond County's superintendent said Tuesday.

Dana Bedden: Head of schools says Tubman Middle could be turned over to state control if the situation does not improve.  Special
Special
Dana Bedden: Head of schools says Tubman Middle could be turned over to state control if the situation does not improve.

Dana Bedden said he has already staved off a "wave" of teachers wanting to leave the school, which has languished on the state's "needs improvement" list. Tubman is among a small group of schools that has been on the list longer than any others in Georgia.

Three teachers abandoned their jobs during the holiday break, and "there are a number of them who have expressed concerns," Dr. Bedden said.

He had to begin denying requests to transfer out of Tubman, prompting one teacher to quit rather than continue teaching there.

The school began this year with a new staff from principal on down to comply with a state-mandated restructuring plan. The plan lured teachers to the school with $500 each year plus 5 percent above their regular pay as part of a three-year contract. Breaking the contract could mean they have to pay back the stipend.

During school board committee meetings Tuesday, Dr. Bedden said a Richmond County resident described the school as a "recipe for disaster" because three "projects" feed into the school and the school has so many inexperienced teachers.

New teachers tend to be assigned to the most challenging schools, he said.

Dr. Bedden said he personally sat down to discuss the problems with Tubman teachers, one of whom "was in tears in his office."

It's imperative that something be done to turn the school around, Dr. Bedden said. If Tubman doesn't make adequate yearly progress this year, then it will become a "state-managed" school, he said.

The superintendent said a state deputy superintendent and an associate superintendent have already visited the school this year.

Melody Wooten, the vice president of the Tubman PTA, said she worries about how the school is affecting her sons.

Despite being honor roll students, their grades have slipped because of the constant interruptions for discipline problems.

"It's not the teachers. It's not the academics. It's the atmosphere," Ms. Wooten said. "Even if the state takes over, it's going to take time for the atmosphere and the students to turn around."

Dr. Bedden said he is considering his options and developing a plan for the school.

One possibility is replacing the principal. Thomas Norris became principal this school year, but has been out on extended medical leave.

The superintendent could change the structure of the school and also the area it draws its students from, he said.

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

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devilishlymad67
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devilishlymad67 01/09/08 - 11:57 am
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these project people let the

these project people let the state support them why not let the state run their schools? I am going to say what most are to scared to say...not in my backyard. I don't want section 8 or project kids in my schools unless of course they are willing to leave the ghetto mindset in the ghetto, unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case. They seem to bring it with them whereever they go. Henceforth things never change and their lives are never improved.

jhuran
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jhuran 01/09/08 - 11:59 am
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The problem at most middle

The problem at most middle schools is not one that you can place at the school or solve at the school.For lack of a better term,its called "Home Training".If we ever expect to gain control at these schools, we must gain control of some parents.Parental training is the biggest need.

a crazy old man
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a crazy old man 01/09/08 - 12:03 pm
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Look back 15/20 even 5 years,

Look back 15/20 even 5 years, remember all the kis from the projects that were causing trouble then, well now their kids are doing it. So, no matter who's fault it is it's now the school systems problem, Therefore Dana Bedden Head of schools needs to stop considering and start doing. I say put the good kids in schools togather and put the bad kids in another. Give them three strikes Starting somewhere in the lower grades (2nd or 3rd) and after their third strike they should be in the bad school from then on until they quit or go to Jail.

scarletohara
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scarletohara 01/09/08 - 12:15 pm
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Augusta teachers need to

Augusta teachers need to emulate the actions of the Charleston teacher (Elizabeth Kandrac) who successfully sued the Charleston County School District, the school's principal, and an associate superintendent for failing to intervene in what was defined as a "hostile work environment". She was subjected daily to a barrage of verbal racial insults, had books and desks thrown at her, tires punctured, etc. All this, and she was told by her school board that the racially charged profanity was simply a "part of the students' culture", there was no "magic pill" to make the kids behave; and if she couldn't handle the cursing, she was in the wrong school. This type of behavior does go on in Richmond County schools; and the most grievous infractions are met with a "slap on the wrist" (i.e. in school suspension). There is just no excuse for this.

charlesmanson
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charlesmanson 01/09/08 - 12:21 pm
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sad fact folks is, the

sad fact folks is, the administration, parents and even the students know what the problem is here.you simply have a culture of folks who don't care about school, discipline, or anything else.everytime the state has to threaten to take over a school, it's always a minority group that is causing the problems.in charelston a year or so ago a white teacher sued the entire district. she was simply trying to teach at an all black school.she was harassed to the point of just walking and filing a lawsuit.she used the chain of command, but what was she told? you just don't understand "our" culture. she won her lawsuit!

shivas
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shivas 01/09/08 - 12:38 pm
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What we need is for Smitty to

What we need is for Smitty to put some of these kids heads in a vice in wood shop, like he did when I went to Jr. High there in 1976-77. He didn't have many discipline problems in his class. In fact, he almost took my pinky finger off when I was being funny by blocking the table saw guard, and he slammed it back against the blade. Heck, I was a star on the baseball team and he was the coach. Actually, Tubman JR. High my most favorite school experience, despite the the presemnce of the same trouble you're hearing about now.

bdr06
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bdr06 01/09/08 - 01:23 pm
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Watch Lean On Me and then

Watch Lean On Me and then throw those sorry good for nothing kids out and lock the door. Get rid of the trash. Do not tollerate the disruptions. Instead of a slap on the wrist, expell them. Who cares what the parent(s) say? It is the parents fault that they have not brought up their child(ren) to act correctly in school. How can the school run when the head administrator is not there? The state will take over because it is too late. There is no reason that the school should be having those problems. If the county would get behind it's teachers and not allow those that shouldn't be there back in time and time again AND FOR GOD"S SAKE PUNISH A CHILD these things wouldn't get so out of hand!!! I feel for the teachers at Tubman. It's only going to get worse and I feel sorry for the kids there that are trying to learn and can't because of the delinquents. I wish you the best of luck!!

KSL
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KSL 01/09/08 - 01:35 pm
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shivas, did your head get put

shivas, did your head get put into the vice? Is that what happened to you? JUST KIDDING!!

workingmom
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workingmom 01/09/08 - 01:40 pm
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I am confident that if

I am confident that if anything CAN be done about this situation, Dr. Bedden can do it. I am extremely in favor of creating an alternative school that would meet the needs of students as far down as elementary school. Parents could to be required to sign some sort of contract with the school system that would allow students to be removed from school and placed in an alternative school where they are not allowed to get away with disruptive behavior, especially repeat offenders. Perhaps if they did this at an early age and stop worrying about the child's "self-esteem" so much, it could prevent them from becoming criminals as they get older. It also could mean the difference of a child completing high school or dropping out at 16.

sassytree
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sassytree 01/09/08 - 01:43 pm
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My understanding is that the

My understanding is that the Principal will not be back and is not necessarily on medical leave. He is being reassigned. Doesn't that school have the luxury of 3 assistant principals? One on each floor? What are they doing? Seems like we are wasting lots of money that can be used somewhere else.

LiLBrown
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LiLBrown 01/09/08 - 02:00 pm
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what a joke

what a joke

shivas
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shivas 01/09/08 - 02:34 pm
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Kathysue, it could have only

Kathysue, it could have only helped!

CoastalDawg
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CoastalDawg 01/09/08 - 03:07 pm
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Whew! Too many postings to

Whew! Too many postings to read everything - but the PROBLEMS are well established and noted. It's time now for solutions - first, replace an absentee principal. If the problems are basically disciplinary, and the gist of the discussions seems to say that, do NOT replace him with a female who could easily be intimidated by rowdy students. Next, meet with EVERY parent whose child is a disciplinary problem and explain that one more incident and that child is gone! Discipline begins in the home and has now been totally removed from schools. when the parents don't discipline their offspring, the schools now have no authority to do so. Preadolescent and adolescent should not be in the same classes - if a student hasn't made enough progress to get himself out of middle school by age 16, he should be helped to do so.The whole school should not be dragged down by those who don't want to be there and learn. Nest Dr Bedden should NOT ruin the career of a teacher who spent time and money to be there and finds herself in an untenable situation because there is no discipline. If all else fails, turn it back into a community based school.

cottoncandy16
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cottoncandy16 01/09/08 - 03:10 pm
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I think CONDELIEEZA summed it

I think CONDELIEEZA summed it all up for us. she said she went to school there (she spelled High (hight) and what is (attesticle)? obviously they aren't teaching anything there! lol

damiang
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damiang 01/09/08 - 03:21 pm
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This is my son's 1st year at

This is my son's 1st year at Tubman , he went from being his 5th grade class valedictorian to making C's and this six weeks he even made an F . I have been trying to relocate him to another school , I have even tried setting up teacher conferences , ( no response ) . I express that just to say it is really something going on in the school , and as a very concerned parent I really hope the school improvements come quickly . Yes! I do work with my children with all their academics and have done so from the start .

Augusta Mom
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Augusta Mom 01/09/08 - 03:28 pm
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I went to the same school

I went to the same school many years ago. Guess who was in charge then? Dr Shealy who could not have been more than 5 feet tall. I've seen him with his finger in many a troublemakers face. He didn't put up with a lot. Unfortunately today the parents would be in his face, cursing him for picking at their poor innocent child, and filing a suit. The mess at this school also spills right over into the surrounding neighborhoods....with cars and property damaged. Groups stand right outside the Tubman Gym and sell drugs. It seems the staff could somehow monitor the situation better. Who knows...maybe they are scared of these thugs.

MartinezWest Augusta
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MartinezWest Augusta 01/09/08 - 04:13 pm
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If you want a laugh, just

If you want a laugh, just read the comments from augusta chronicle. I tell people augusta might be the second biggest city in ga. But its nothing more than a big hick town. We are so behind in race and other issues. No wonder why north carolina cities are leaving ours behind. We cant even get along with each other. When white people stop grouping all black people together with ghetto. Including wealthy or suburban blacks. Times might could change. I rarely hear blacks who group wealthy whites with their trailer park bretheren. God bless all

142
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Dan White 01/09/08 - 04:30 pm
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DeborahElliott - believe me,

DeborahElliott - believe me, punishing kids with an essay and making them do a month in detention will have no effect on their miscreant behavior. These kids at Tubman and in many other schools don't even bring their book, pen, and paper to class. It's true in Columbia County too. I have a friend who teaches in a ColCo Middle School, and he has a problem getting the students who are problem kids to bring their book, pen, and paper. No amount of threats or punishment seems to bother or motivate them. No amount of awards and recognition to build self-esteem doesn't work either for most of them. The solution is to send them home when they are written up and make the parents responsible by paying a fine. If they don't pay the fine, they don't come back. If we can't paddle them, we've got to get into the pocketbooks of the parents.

ccogic
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ccogic 01/09/08 - 04:30 pm
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The NCLB law has made it

The NCLB law has made it difficult for Administrators to deal with disruptive students. Because of the Attendance component of this law, kids who have demonstrated behavior that is disruptive to the learning environment allowed to remain in school after having committed offenses in which they should have been suspened from school or worse. When the consequences are not forth coming for their actions, it creates an "Anything goes environment within the school." These kids will tell you "you can't suspend us"; how do I know? I work at Tubman.

142
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Dan White 01/09/08 - 04:33 pm
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dani - the problem with

dani - the problem with Bush's NCLB is it holds everybody in education accountable BUT the parents and students.

142
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Dan White 01/09/08 - 04:40 pm
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Coastal Dawg - remember that

Coastal Dawg - remember that Bush's NCLB Act has in it that schools and school systems can fail because of a high drop-out rate! Can you believe that? These thugs need to be encouraged to drop out - I agree, but the pressure of the law on schools is for these criminals to be allowed to stay in school. It's insane. And, I'm not blaming the school problems on Bush -give him an A for trying. But this is a nightmare for educators. NCLB needs to go.

142
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Dan White 01/09/08 - 04:44 pm
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I know a principal from an

I know a principal from an elementary school in Richmond who retired early. Couldn't take it any more. His method of meeting the NCLB attendance requirement was to put the little devils in ISS for 1/2 day so the attendance requirement would be met and then he called the parents to pick them up and get them out of the school for the rest of the day.

jack
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jack 01/09/08 - 05:06 pm
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No 16 year olds (or older)

No 16 year olds (or older) should be left in middle school. Take them out of the regular classrooms and give them training in a skill such as auto mechanics, carpentry or office skills (typing and book keeping).. Disruptive students need to be immediately removed after no more than two incidents and placed in alternative school. I know the principal at the alternative shcool who is a former marine and can straighten these thugs out.

jshep67
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jshep67 01/09/08 - 05:07 pm
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Shivas & JUSTUS4.., as most

Shivas & JUSTUS4.., as most 'regular posters' know, I vehemently disagree with much of what y'all two say. But I can't deny the wisdom & common sense you've offered up today. As an Educator for Richmond County, I am VERY concerned about our middle & upper schools being taken HOSTAGE by thugs & low-lifes. Shivas' comment about a wood-shop VICE, while slightly disturbing, points to an important FACT. If you show the thugs you can get JUST AS CRAZY AS THEM, they will back down. I am also VERY concerned about the fact that Richmond County's School System BUDGET for last year was.., drumroll here.., 225 MILLION DOLLARS. That's a Quarter of a BILLION, folks. We spend more per student than almost ANY school system in the state.., and GUESS WHERE WE RANK ACADEMICALLY? Either DEAD LAST or next to DEAD LAST. I mean, EXCUSE ME? What does this tell us? It tells us that MONEY WON'T FIX IT! I hope Dr Bedden is SERIOUS about getting drastic with this school. Many people are watching, HOPING he will take decisive action IMMEDIATELY and turn the ship around. And by the way.., don't think for ONE MINUTE the teacher's unions aren't to blame. They're in it up to their eyeballs!

Pursefreak
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Pursefreak 01/09/08 - 05:13 pm
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I agree with cotton candy.

I agree with cotton candy. Condelieeza, what is attesticle? As a Tubman alum, you're proving the state's point quite well. And you "departed"? LOL. Stay off the comments box.

jshep67
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jshep67 01/09/08 - 05:14 pm
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Shivas & JUSTUS.., AGAIN..,

Shivas & JUSTUS.., AGAIN.., KUDOS to you guys for truly telling it like it IS. At least for today, we stand on the same side of the fence. If only ALL THE PARENTS AT TUBMAN would stand up & RAISE HOLY CAIN. As for the STATE, let's not PRETEND they have some magic elixir for success.., let's take a look at how GEORGIA ranks nationally.., NOT good. Truth is, when the GOVERNMENT RUNS IT.., it SUCKS. We are ALL being railroaded by a broken system designed to fatten the wallets of teacher's unions and the technology lobby in DC. We should take all.., and I mean ALL the money used for technology & funnel it into a training program that would be led by the Principal at Craig Houghton Elem. That gentleman has got it GOING ON down there & won't put up with ANYTHING from students, parents OR the central office. Sorry, can't remember his name.., but he has MY VOTE to show these troubled schools "HOW TO DO IT". Anyone with me?

jshep67
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jshep67 01/09/08 - 05:15 pm
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Pursefreak., if you want to

Pursefreak., if you want to get TECHNICAL., you should have put quotes around "attesticle". Glass houses, you know.

Give credit where due
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Give credit where due 01/09/08 - 05:32 pm
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New Guidelines For Kids My

New Guidelines For Kids
My son came home from school one day, with a smirk on his face.He decieded he was smart enough to put me in my place.
Guess what I was taught in Civics 2,Thats taught by Mr Wright?
It's all about the laws today, the "Childrens Bill Of Rights''
It says I need not clean my room ,don't have to cut my hair, Noone can tell me what to think,or speak or even what to wear.
I have freedom from religion, regarless what you say, I don't have to bow my head and sure don't have to pray.I can wear earings if I want, pierce my nose and tongue, I can read and watch what I like get tattoos from head to toe.
If you ever spank me , I'll charge you with a crime, I'll back up the charges with the marks on my behind.Don't you ever touch me , my body's for my use, not for hugs and kisses thats more child abuse.Don't preach to me your morals like your momma did to you, thats nothing more than mind control and thats illegal too. Mom I have these childrens rights so you can't influece me cos I'll call Child Protection services , known better as C P S ..Of course my first thought was to toss him out the door but the chance to teach him a lesson,Made me think a lil more.cont

godogs
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godogs 01/09/08 - 05:34 pm
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Maybe the Richmond County

Maybe the Richmond County Sherrif's Department needs to setup a substation at Tumban. If they are selling drugs as the writer above stated that might curb that a little and also might deter behavior problems. I say first though that Dr. Bedden needs to have a community meeting at the school with parents required to attend. Not that that would work but I would have a sign in sheet so I would know who's parents didn't show up so when the child got into trouble he could show the sherrif's dept. that the parent wasn't interested in their child's welfare. Make the parents come and sit at the shcool with the misbehaving children until they can do better or KICK THEM OUT!. WHY should our kids who follow the rules have to suffer accademically because of children who were most likely born by a teenager mom with no dad around. It is sad because these kids are just repeating the cycle.

Phoenix
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Phoenix 01/09/08 - 05:45 pm
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Bring back Mr. Williams and

Bring back Mr. Williams and Mr. Forrest!!

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