SHORT COMMUNICATION 349
It Was Chaos Unlimited
A recent survey classified California's high schools and ranked them according to the number of students who graduate with diploma in hand. Four groups of schools were classified: Catholic; other religious; private; public. Catholic schools were the best, and public schools were the worst. Only 35 percent of public school students graduated with diploma in hand while 99 percent of Catholic school students did so. This means 65 percent of public school students were failures. There is a good reason for that: Discipline problems were a major cause, and especially in the state of California.
High school discipline problems begin in the intermediate schools. That's been the trend for a very long time, and they are not strict enough at that lower level. They just do not do a good job of niping bad discipline in the bud. The following is just how bad it has gotten in one Intermediate Public School at Santa Ana Unified campus in California.
It was an awful situation at Spurgeon Intermediate Public School. The lack of any kind of controlable discipline went on daily. It was that way for quite some time, because the district handled the situation very poorly. That forced 36 teachers to file a hostile work situation notice.
What actually went on at Spurgeon? Pre-teens along with teens were involved. The rough element took over and was running the place. They physically accosted the teachers. They regularly tripped fire alarms. They argued with security staff. They threw objects during class sessions. They turned over desks. During class sessions they made sexual noises. They ran through hallways, banged on doors as class was in progress, and uttered obscene words. One brazen student even smoked marijuana in class in front of a substitute teacher. They threw eggs at teachers, set fires in urinals, and even spit on teachers. Over a period of time the whole discipline structure collapsed, and the good students greatly suffered by not getting the education they deserved. To make matters worse there just weren't any consequences.
Finally, 36 teachers and parents of the good students got a complaint filed and the district had no choice but to restore discipline. Arrests have been made and strict suspensions have been handed down. The chaos unlimited was coming to an abrupt end.
It boils down to this: Discipline must come first. Without that little or no education takes place. In Spurgeon Intermediate where disorder and confusion was, education and learning was not. That was the result of the chaos unlimited. Let us hope Spurgeon Intermediate once again becomes a place of learning and an educational place of acceptance. It has been long overdue, indeed.