“Usually the first quarter is a honeymoon period when students are excited to be in school and behaviors are good. So when things were already deteriorating rapidly, it was a sign to me that this was not going in a good direction,” said Bush, 50, who has taught at Jefferson Middle School on Madison’s west side her whole career.
It wasn’t a specific incident, but the piling on of several serious incidents so early in the school year that troubled her.
“I’m seeing behaviors on a regular basis that I haven’t seen in 20 years of teaching,” Bush said. Some of this alarming conduct included students swearing at teachers, kicking trash cans, walking out of class, and kids wandering the hallways and in and out of classrooms, she said.
The behavior policy, implemented at the start of this school year, requires teachers to ask for outside help if they can’t control a misbehaving student. But Bush says such calls for help often go unanswered by overwhelmed support staff, who are supposed to walk an out-of-control student out of the classroom and “intervene” to get a sense of the causes of the misbehavior.
Commentary from David Blaska