Battery Arrest at LaFollette High School

Madison Police Department:

On Tuesday afternoon a La Follette High School principal was attempting to escort to the office a couple of students who had been arguing. One student (the 16 year old listed above) did not want to go to the office and became hostile. She began yelling and ended up punching the principal in the face. A Madison Police officer witnessed the act. That officer was also punched in the face while arresting the student. The melee took place during class passing time, and the arresting officer described the situation in a report as “extremely disturbing and disruptive to the school environment.”
Following the arrest pepper spray and a box cutter were found to be in the 16-year-old’s possession. These were grounds for additional tentative charges. The student also spit her gum on the floor, which is a violation of Madison’s Expectorating Ordinance.

Via Isthmus.

  • Nihil Nisi

    I realize these things can happen in our schools, but listening to Arlene Silveira’s reaction to it on television news was anything but reassuring. She stated with a congenial smile that some students are “high flying” and are frequently in the principal’s office and “need more support”. She conveyed no expression of concern for the ultimate safety of the staff or students. While I realize TV can cut out some items that they don’t have time to show, I would have liked to know that she is taking student violence seriously in some way.
    I agree that the student in question needs support, but if the severity of the situation is not taken seriously, I doubt whatever support is considered will be effective. It is not the individual students who need the support as much as their families. I think MMSD needs to be doing more extensive partnering with community agencies to effect long term results.
    And what are Arlene’s plans for providing a safer environment for students and staff? Or does she think nothing of that sort is needed – this was just a “high flying” cheeky little tyke who needs a tweek on the nose.

  • Lucy Mathiak

    I encourage you to watch the available on-line video discussions of the student code of conduct and the hires of staff to work more intensively with students who are “frequent flyers” (not high flyers)in our school disciplinary systems.
    Note: “frequent flyers” is my term, and refers to the tier of students who currently absorb a disproportionate amount of staff time and effort because of behaviors that disrupt classrooms and/or create safety concerns in the schools.
    We are seeing some very real shifts in the levels of problems that students bring with them to the schools. The idea behind the behavior intervention coordinators is to have a specific staff member focus intensively on the most disruptive/dangerous students so that classes are disrupted less and students and teachers are in a safer environment.
    This approach was piloted at Cherokee Middle School, was requested by all of the middle and high school principals, and is designed to free up administrators, support staff, and teachers to work with the majority of students rather than dealing with the most disruptive 10% on a regular basis.
    This is part of an ongoing initiative to revisit how and when we use discipline, consistency of efforts, and results over the long term. Many of the criticisms that you level are being addressed through this initiative.