Lance Scranton: Behavior is a constant concern in our schools
February 27, 2018
I've been a classroom teacher for 25 years, 20 of which have been at Moffat County High School.
If you knew the lengths to which teachers and administrators go for students each and every day, you might wonder how we manage to get it all done. On the heels of the tragedy in a Florida high school this past week, if professional educators had known what would have been required to keep a weapon out of the hands of an obviously disturbed young man, we would most certainly have acted without delay.
It is clear to me that, over the past 20 years, our kids have changed, because society has shifted responsibility away from parents and the culture to teachers, schools, and whatever is tangible (video games, guns, knives, social media).
On any given school day, I teach kids who are motivated and ready to set the world on fire after they graduate from high school. Others barely attend, but we must continue to keep track of them until they meet specific criteria for other agencies to step in and try to help them out.
Then, there are students whose social or emotional needs require mandated individualized educational programs that demand countless meetings with various professionals to determine the best course of action for the student.
In my classroom the adjustments are usually more time to get assignments completed, allowances for "time-outs" any time the student feels the need and/or adjusting workloads to accommodate the specific needs of the student.
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Special education teachers exemplify the tireless dedication to the needs of a specific population of students who have been identified as needing special and specific services not readily available in the regular classroom.
Adjustments and allowances for students learning outcomes are one thing, but making excuses for poor behavior is an entirely unacceptable, but increasingly common, component of what schools have to deal with each day.
Sometimes, it feels like we live in a perpetrator's paradise, where individuals commit a crime against our society, and the first thing that happens is a deflection from the real issue — the person's behavior.
Behavior is a constant concern in our schools as we do our very best to try and teach children that the golden rule is still important, manners mean something, responsibility is important, and we are all accountable for our actions.
Young people need structure, clear lines of acceptable behavior and accountability but, all too often, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred, and the innocent will continue to pay the price until we decide that enough is enough.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.