This letter was submitted via our open letter form. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Dear JCPS.
I am not a teacher. I am not a parent. I’m a former student and a teacher candidate at Eastern Kentucky University. My classmates and I have closely followed the news recently regarding the rubbish that Dr. Donna Hargens and her crew of non-school working advisors have been saying. I am writing this letter on behalf of all teacher candidates at every college in Kentucky, much less America. We WILL NOT be looking for a job in your district once we graduate.
The most disturbing thing about your district is the disconnect that your teachers feel to their support staff. Upon reading on Dear JCPS, talking to teachers in your district and reading the comments from educators and parents on your Facebook I have noticed a trend. You do not support your teachers. You are quick to blame them if at all possible, you are quick to write off a teacher being ASSAULTED in your schools, and you are quick to lie to parents about what is really going on your schools. I’m not sure if you’re scared of Dr. Hargans, scared of parents or scared because you don’t want teachers telling people how horribly they are treated in your district. The problem isn’t the teachers; they are doing their job. The problem is YOU, the central office- the people who think that students can do whatever they want and not get a real punishment for it. It’s time to own up to the madness you have created in your schools. It’s time to reform your district, and time to listen to your teachers.
I was reminded of a story before I wrote this letter, a teacher that is dear to me was struck by a student. Not on accident, this student flat out assaulted this teacher, punched her in the face. To the existent of if it were to happen on the street, the student would have been arrested and charged with assault. This teacher had to explain to her administrators why she didn’t want the student back in class. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! You have a discipline problem, STOP DENYING IT. As a student I was bullied, when I finally said something to my administrators they couldn’t even suspend the kid for harassing and bullying me because he was on some sort of plan that apparently bars the school from disciplining students the way he should. IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO QUIT BEING SCARED. Stop being scared of parents and backlash. YOU are the school board, you are supposed to have the backs of your students and teachers. Instead you are scared to do your duties because you don’t want to piss anyone off.
Recently, it has come to light that Dr. Hargens and her crew believe it is for the better if we revise the student code of conduct to make it even more lenient. The backlash is astonishing. Every single post about it has 200+ comments about how infuriating it is to not be able to discipline kids in schools anymore. Have we forgotten about the students who go school and do everything they are expected, and never cause a problem? Are we going to interrupt their learning because we have a belligerent student in the class that the school can’t do anything with because it goes against the code of conduct? Not to mention, it already puts teachers that are fighting to maintain order in their classroom even more against the wall. When did we as a district become so concerned with the money we get by having a student in school every day that we don’t teach discipline? When I was a student was I only worth $118 a day to you? That’s what it’s starting to look like. You aren’t doing the city any favors by teaching kids that there are no repercussion for their actions. Stand up for your teachers, LET THEM TEACH.
All I have to say is, it’s time for reform in your district. You already face a teacher shortage. Why do you think that is? No really, answer that. It’s not because there aren’t teachers looking for a job. It’s because you don’t support your teachers and a teacher would have to be crazy to deal with the things this district makes them go through on a daily basis. FIX YOUR DISTRICT. Your teachers are running out of ways to tell you. Listen to them, they know what is going on in the schools- unlike you. You visit schools and the teachers tell students to be on their best behavior. You don’t see what really goes on in your schools. Go sub a day at any high school, you will see the real JCPS. The JCPS you deny is truly there. FIX YOUR SYSTEM, and maybe you can attract some teachers. If you don’t, good luck because your teachers are looking for the first opportunity to exit stage left. Future educators don’t want to work for a district that doesn’t support their teachers, neither do your teachers. FIX IT.
NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.