Is the downturn in suspensions a result of more active parental involvement and chastisement of their child or a result of staff members simply rolling over and not properly disciplining children in order to avoid being sucked into a situation with no community support for acting in an adult supervisory manner?

Seventeen years after I first became an OPRF board member, it seems to me the parents of trouble-making kids still prefer to blame the school for their children’s misbehavior rather than holding the child fully accountable for making a poor choice of action/reaction. I do remember certain fellow board members insisting then that children who responded in self-defense be disciplined as well as the perpetrator.

Why now, after years of angst and hand-wringing do the perpetrators continue to be allowed to blame the school and its staff for their own transgressions? Has anyone questioned holding the parents responsible for the recidivism of their child? I think not. It seems to me that if someone screams loud enough and long enough at the high school staff, the blame is shifted from the recidivist child to the school for its “institutional racism.”

I think it would be interesting to also tabulate the residence addresses of the recidivist children. Where did they learn it is acceptable to cause and be a troublemaker and act out as an acceptable method of conflict resolution? Are these recidivist students passed up to the high school from the
Oak Park elementary school system or new arrivals from out of the area? Who is tracking that type of data and factoring it into the analysis?

I believe the parents of the students should be required to attend mandatory parental conflict resolution classes with their child to break the cycle of violence and recidivism. Or expel the student permanently so that the disturbances drop at the school and children can attend classes without the drama and distraction of these recidivist student troublemakers.

David Ristau

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