Lions, Tigers and Bears: The hood comes to Skyline Middle School.

Skyline Middle School parents voice safety concerns at Red Clay meeting By Taggart Houck / WDEL

The school added more kids from Wilmington this school year, and discipline rates have been high since that addition–a 600-percent increase from last school year.

Parents at the meeting weren’t happy about it. Kate Treml has a son at the middle school, who she said has been the victim of bullying and has seen fights in school this year on a regular basis.

“He’s afraid to stick up for friends because he’s afraid they just might put a target on his back, and that’s just not the kind of boy that I am raising,” she said.

Another parent with a child at Skyline, Jennifer Furman, said her daughter also has seen things that concern her.

“…she was coming home and daily reporting about fights.”

In School year 2005-2006 Skyline had 17  School Crimes (Title 14, Delaware Code §4112) infractions and  99 Department of Education (DOE) Offenses. And in School Year 2014-2015 Skyline had 5 School Crimes (Title 14, Delaware Code, §4112) and 95 Department of Education (DOE) Offenses.

We can pick through the data between these two years but they way reporting has changed with greater emphasis on bully the data can be skewed at bit.

Sadly to say, it appears the assumption re: more kids from Wilmington is they are the problem.  The data from years past long before Red Clay closed Conrad traditional Middle School reassigning Wilmington students and community kids living near Conrad to Skyline and other district middle schools suggest Skyline had its problems.

Sorry to say kids coming from Wilmington are more street wise and have an edge. Its part of survival tools living in America’s most violent city. Red Clay parents better get use to this type of culture because, once Red Clay takes ownership of Christina’s city kids they’ll see more and more of this behavior! Suburban kids are catching on, snitches get stitches.

To the parents of Skyline: Red Clay and other schools district are in the mist of social issues surrounding race concerns within the African-American communities. Red Clay will not take any actions that may stoke the flames. I urge all parents black, white and all colors in-between to keep a diary of what their child tells them. But more importantly hold their child accountable for their actions.

Take note of this, in school year 2007-2008 The Delaware Department of Education stop putting discipline reports on the public view archive reports under web link “Print Annual Snapshot” which is to the right of the DE DOE schools web profile page.” You have to file a FOIA to get that data.  

Martin Wilson said the issue should be resolved as soon as possible and called for a meeting Thursday with other board members to discuss solutions.

“These folks are asking for a change now, not two weeks from now,” he said.

Board member Wilson’s lip-service isn’t going to help. The issue is complex and won’t be solved overnight. If Red Clay takes a zero tolerance policy, those being victimized will be pulled in the web.

What parents need to do is DEMAND and SRO and that SRO would have the authority to honor parents right to file a legal “criminal” complaint. Keep in mind, filing a criminal complaint doesn’t mean you have file charges. Its a mean to go on legal record so that in the event it happens again there is documentation supporting your case! I mean your child. As for those parents of the students where complaints are being  filed against, you have so sense / means to address issue with your child to ensure the complaints are false and if they are, you can help avoid criminal charges. If you trust the public school system to EFFECTIVELY address the issue you are  fool. If you are seeking zero tolerance you better warn your child that fighting back is not permitted. Best teach them how to take a sucker-punch! And in deed get the cell phone video cameras rolling!   

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42 responses to “Lions, Tigers and Bears: The hood comes to Skyline Middle School.

  1. There is such a thing as a tipping point. You can only get so far by adjusting the racial/social balance; at some point you have to address root causes.

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    • What would Mike O’s root causes be? Are they a government related or societal? Do your root causes blame government for not redistributing enough revenue (sarcasm: from the MASSIVE number of 1%’s) or societal problems related to anti social learned behaviors that are not particularly successful in school or work?

      If it is a redistribution or financial supplementation problem why didn’t Kansas city schools (http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/roddreher/2010/03/why-did-kansas-citys-public-schools-fail.html) or Zuckerberg’s Camden schools gift ($200 million) work? What did the greater society (those footing the bills) miss.

      The tipping point began when our NCC county attempted to “turn the dials” to “balance” the intangibles (personal responsibility/ social demographic/ academic acumen). Their claims being the solution was just around the corner with additional re-distributive funding and an idealized version of what the perfect racial / social demographic was. It is at best, well intentioned, at worst, a gross ideological overreach and mis-allocation / mismanagement of public funds. I am NOT talking about Brown vs. Board. It is far more convoluted than that.

      Root Cause: Societal degradation being spread as far as possible to decentralize AND State sponsored overreach.

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  2. Kansas City invested in facilities, not people – lesson learned.

    I do agree that redistribution leads to social degradation. Wealth has been redistributed upward for decades leading to degradation, and now the imbalance needs to be corrected to restore social order.

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    • Publius e decere

      Not sure you’ll get many takers there, Mike. Maybe start with a conventional understanding of redistribution. And capitalism. And freedom. And common sense.

      My guess is that many families will exercise their freedom … to leave that school through Choice. They might even remember this tragedy at election time. Or maybe they’ll just move across the line to PA.

      I think the first step is NOT to confiscate other people’s money for squandering a la New Jersey. It’s a losing strategy. Other than Mike’s money which he should throw into the pot to demonstrate his commitment to his theory. Let us know how it works out.

      The first step is pretty obvious: stop hitting and choking people, and stop with the vulgar outbursts and threats in classrooms and hallways. There may be some factors which explain such behaviors, but there are no factors which excuse them. Rather than spout failed social theories, why not back the efforts of the school employees to regain and maintain order? And if the staff goes toward zero tolerance, let’s give them the benefit of trust.

      Publius

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    • lastDEconservative

      Excellent, though fruitless, rejoinder there Pub. I fear that the kOmrade really believes this stuff he spouts.

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    • Mike,
      I would only say that Kansas city went to extraordinary efforts to address major educational claims about how to spend enormous amounts of public money. The net result is that it failed and all those who were told they must submit their money for an “experiment” should have been reimbursed by all the people who sold the “plan”. Sounds like a plan that had to be passed to find out what was in the plan doesn’t it.

      Making the claim, after the failure, that they should have spent on more staff just isn’t that convincing. The busing issue was, in part, justified on putting minority students in better schools with better teachers, and better facilities. 30 – 40 years later our suburban schools, which were supposedly better staffed, better equipped, and better managed have not displayed better behavior and academics.The issue is not staff or facilities. It is not a skin color issue. It is a societal issue that cannot be solved by a state or government. It is aggravated by those entities. IN every effort to socially engineer an outcome, the law of unintended consequences rears its head.

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    • Publius e decere

      LDC,

      kOmrade is a one trick pony .. class warfare and lame resentments. I suppose he was mistreated in a prior life. Still no excuse, but there’s an explanation :-).

      Publius

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  3. Parents will vote with their feet. Expect a massive choice-out. It comes down to one parent making a decision for one child (happening over and over again). Parents don’t make decisions for the community. They make them for their own children. Unless some massive changes come, expect an exodus. It doesn’t solve the problem for the community. But it does for that one parent and one child (happening over and over again). When private schools and charter schools took off after the court order, it didn’t solve the community problem. It just solved the problem for the one parent and one child (happening over and over again). We live in a fantasy world where we pretend parents make decisions for what is best for the community. They make their decisions for their own children (which is why you see public school teachers who send their kids to private schools, or charter school sometimes…).

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    • Publius e decere

      Got to agree. Watch what people DO, not what they say. Unless Red Clay gets ahead of the problem at Skyline pronto, there will probably be a far lower use of capacity next year. Less choice in, and more choice out.

      Social engineers will wring their hands and decry everything that moves. Parents who choice out of the school will say “thankfully, the nightmare has ended”. Board members will continue to try and limit family choice in order to protect a failing status quo.

      Until there is a board in place which truly represents and enacts what the people want, we’ll continue with tragedies like this one.

      Publius

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    • We know what Red Clay parents do when confronted with social problems in schools – they build enclaves for their own children.

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    • MikeO, I applaud your efforts to champion a fight against societal problems. I assume you live or have recently moved to the w. 5th & 6th street area to help change the culture there. and your kids i am also assuming are enrolled at shortlidge and warner for the same reason. Kudos to you

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    • Publius e decere

      “Art”-fully said. Maybe “Mike O’Choice” can respond in that fine Irish tradition — blarney and all.

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  4. And this reminds me of that great quote by Milton Friedman to Phil Donahue…”Where in the world are you going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? I don’t even trust you to do that.” (of course, we do have a guy in the WH who many believe to be that angel…and that hasn’t exactly worked out as planned).

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  5. “My guess is that many families will exercise their freedom … to leave that school through Choice” Mike knows that Publius, he did it with his own kid, choicing into a school with a safer reputation than his feeder.

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    • Publius e decere

      Yep, Mike “Choice” O. Or is that “Mike O’Choice”?

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    • I said screw it to both charter and traditional and put my kid in a private school until the public school system can get their act straight. Gotta say I agree with Publius on this one. The accountability has to go to the bullies. And there is no excuse for violence.

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    • So let me fully understand this. Kevin is now part of the “opt out” movement for his child to not be exposed to the dysfunction of some of our TPS’s. He now joins the ranks of those who must pay TWICE for the education of his child. 1st to the state to pay for the schools he isn’t utilizing and 2nd to the private school which IS providing the education.

      Does this now mean there is an acknowledgement that those unwilling to allow their children to be exposed to dysfunctional behavior and questionable educational standards are not so selfish, stupid and elitist after all?

      I sincerely hope Kevin, that you can get a satisfactory condition for your child. I would also hope that that sentiment could be extended to all those other parents who sincerely are just looking for an acceptable educational situation for their children. It is not some selfish, elitist, or racist mentality intended to hurt our public schools. Kilroy repeatedly tries to stoke some racial fires but most NCC residents are not looking through colored lenses.

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    • My issue has NEVER been about parents making choices for their kids. My issue has ALWAYS been about the equity behind that choice and the lack of transparency by certain schools in regards to that equity. No matter where my son goes to school, I will always feel like that. If I had my way, every single instance of bullying and offensive touching would be reported on the school’s website, but that is not the reality we live in. I know that some districts and charters do not follow the e-school reporting requirement. Why this is not strictly enforced is beyond me. At the end of the day, a parent has the right to make educational choices for their kids, whether it is the school they attend or their desire or lack thereof for their child to take the state standardized assessment. For those I have called elitist or the one person I called “racist” was based on serious concerns based on the very same comments they have placed on this blog. No matter where my son goes to school, it is also my civic duty, along with my other fellow Americans, to pay school taxes. And I proudly support public education. Every situation is different for a parent, but we all need to co-exist. Instead of pointing fingers, we should all find a way to find solutions and not create barriers between our beliefs.

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    • He now joins the ranks of those who must pay TWICE for the education of his child. 1st to the state to pay for the schools he isn’t utilizing and 2nd to the private school which IS providing the education.

      There you go again. School tax is NOT tuition. Everyone gets something for their public education tax dollars, even if your children are in private school, grown up, or if you don’t have children at all.

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    • MikeO – What do we all get for paying for public school tuition? I get to run on a track occasionally. I play tennis at the courts – oh hold on, i have to pay for that when my team plays there in the summer. And please dont give me the ‘we get a well prepared workforce” because obviously based on graduation rates that is false.

      what does the 68 year old couple get from paying for public education? how about the newly married 24 year olds? this single 35 year old?

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  6. Hi Kevin. Miss me? 🙂 I just wanted to say I am routing for your son and happy you have him in a school that probably holds kids/parents accountable for their actions.

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    • Thanks P-Mom. He is doing well, but the key is very small classroom sizes and NO Common Core or SBAC. I have watched my son learn more in two months without the standards than I have seen in the public schools. To me, that says a lot about my thoughts on Common Core and Smarter Balanced and reaffirms my belief this is a horrible idea for Delaware’s students.

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  7. One parent, one choice. Happening over and over again. But Kevin is making a difference in the community. So I applaud him. Most parents are making decisions just for their own child (honestly, as I do too). As a teacher, I have no real problem with the standards to which we teach. I have a problem with the manner in which our evaluations are conducted (the standardized tests are the worst imaginable manner in which to gain good data on a teacher….that has been proven over and over again…there are much better ways).

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  8. Arthur, what do I get for funding military bases all over the world, for trillion dollar wars etc? Don’t ya think someone is helping fund Medicare for the 68 year old? It is not about what ‘I’ get!
    I want someone on here to just come out and give a solution to the question ‘what do we do with THOSE kids?’ It’s obvious that for the most part kids from more astute homes have figured out the votech, magnet, choice, charter, private game/– and bully for them! However, except for the one guy on here that proposed work camps no will say what to do with them

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    • lastDEconservative

      ” … except for the one guy on here that proposed work camps … ”

      Welcome back, Break. Long time no misrepresent! But I am happy to have a cot in your head.

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    • lastDEconservative

      ” … ‘what do we do with THOSE kids?’ ”

      “We” being who, exactly?

      I forget just how many besides my own I am supposed to be responsible for, pay for, support, feed, do laundry for, transport, excuse, parent for … and most importantly, sacrifice my own willing and able children’s futures on the altar of worship/excuse making for the unwilling and/or unable? Oh, and refresh me on ‘for how long’ while you’re at it. I know it hasn’t been enough, yet it only seems like half my income and several decades gone.

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  9. “We’re living in a society, you know.” – G. Costanza

    Seriously, you’re responsible for it all. For life. It’s what comes with being the smartest guy in the room. I can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet.

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    • The same ‘we’ that takes care of the roads you drive on. The ‘we’ that defends us around the world (that’s a good one), the ‘we’ that gets your mail to you for about 50 cents. How bout the ‘we ‘ that keeps air travel safe. You know, that ‘we’.

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    • Funny, you knew exactly who ‘we’ was when you proposed….”‘WE’ should put them in labor camps”.

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  10. Isn’t it ironic that the ones who yell loudest about wanting to be left alone in this world, spend most of their time engaging others (loudest) about wanting to be left alone? You get what you pay for. If you aren’t happy with what you’re getting, pay some more. 😉

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  11. “It’s obvious that for the most part kids from more astute homes have figured out the votech, magnet, choice, charter, private game/– and bully for them! However, except for the one guy on here that proposed work camps no will say what to do with them” –
    – hold all kids and their parents accountable for their actions starting in kindergarten. And stop social passing. Tell the parents of a 7 year old that their kid will get held back for a second time and be two years older than their classmates and that they will get suspended if they push another kid and that they will be called in the next time their kid doesn’t turn in homework, etc. and maybe some parents will take notice and realize that it is easier to help their kid than to not.

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  12. Pencader your plan is short on details and unrealistic. ‘Hold parents and students accountable’ HOW? Social promotion, let them fail two times…ok but what about the third fourth and fifth time? So you want your 8 year old in class with a 12 year old? Ok problem solve. Your next point if they push a kid the parent has to come in for a conference….and if they don’t? Then what? Oh and here is a good one, a parent in the city has a kid out at mckean….how they getting there?
    We are talking about the dregs of society having kids and these kids have to go somewhere. You have civil rights people who have effectively gotten rid of zero tolerance…hell in CSD they don’t even have a code of conduct. There has to be some place to deal with these kids who have no background, no template for a normal life.

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    • lastDEconservative

      “We are talking about the dregs of society having kids and these kids have to go somewhere. … There has to be some place to deal with these kids who have no background, no template for a normal life.”

      All together now, “Are there no … ?” ;-D

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  13. You hold them accountable by putting the problem where it should be. Out of the schools hands, and into a social workers hands.
    If a kid can’t master skills of 2nd grade after two years of being there, wouldn’t that be a big red flag? Either a learning disability or child abuse. If someone wasn’t clothing or feeding their kid, wouldn’t a social worker step in? Why is education any different? Are social workers stepping in? If no, why not? Is it because the kid who stayed back once and should again is getting passed to the next grade? Or is it because it is seen as an education issue and not what it really is. And couldn’t anyone who knows that child, like the teacher, principal, librarian, neighbor, kid sitting next to them in class, be able to tell you they are a high risk for dropping out? Somewhere down the road that kid will get tired of feeling stupid in school and feel it’s pointless to go there. So they won’t.

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    • Ok turn it over to social workers…. Good plan.

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    • Here’s a plan. Evaluate every child as they enter school for aptitude. Based on basic proficiencies, place children in groups or phases that cater to the specific aptitude. If they are at the rudimentary level then slot them in smaller classes with special ed teachers. If they are adequate then slot them in groups or phases that rigorously teach the students how to push beyond their normal boundaries. Teach them to recognize and emulate how to excel but more importantly how to learn and adapt to the education. Finally, if they are higher achieving, provide additional support that reflects their ability to acquire information faster or more easily. By doing this you focus the energies and efforts of the staff to address the specific needs of the kids. If the kids need counseling, if they need behavioral guidance, if they need focused rudimentary life skills; provide it. Start this in Kindergarten and watch how by catering the education to the specific ability of children, the children will engage.

      Whether it is karate, sports, or any other field, it is this focused approach of grouping that allows the teachers/ coaches and students know what is needed to best educate that group. We group children by age groups now because it became apparent that one room school houses were not best suited to educating all the different age groups. The same is applicable to children of the same age or grade. Stop the nonsense of bleeding heart liberals who don’t want to hurt the self esteem of children. How much self esteem do they develop if they cannot compete with the high achievers. What is the self esteem of the high achiever who has a false sense of themselves if they are in a class of low achievers.

      As far as behavior grouping. Extremely defiant or Extremely maladjusted students should not be intermixed with relatively normal students. You are detrimentally hurting a teacher’s ability to educate and stealing the opportunity to learn from the normal students. If a student assaults / robs/ or threatens another child or teacher, the state should be well within its rights to expel or suspend until such time that the parents/ student commit to behavior modification. Refuse to comply or commit to behavior modification then the State is not obligated to provide education. Parents of said behaviorally deficient child would have to figure out what to do with them on their own. IT IS NOT SOCIETY’s responsibility at that point. Certainly not Education’s responsibility, certainly not their fellow students’, and certainly not and educator’s.

      We have allowed the liberal bent of “society is responsible”, to extend beyond the rational understanding of what society can do. Society cannot fix stupid. Society cannot make a horse drink. Society cannot spend enough to make the dysfunctional comply with civic responsibility, personal responsibility or innate recognition of societal morays. That can only come from recognition or punishment. If society is unwilling or unable to punish irresponsible dysfunctional behavior then it is up to the dysfunctional to recognize on their own or fall on their own unwillingness. It is not within society’s purview to correct or contend with.

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    • P-mom’s plan is on the right track. Make sure each school has sufficient social workers, who will then identify the resources each student needs to be successful, then assist in connecting them with those resources.

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  14. What would your great idea be?

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  15. Ok there we have it…. Social workers to fix societal ills. I would recommend that we expand the social work major in colleges and recruit a bunch of kids, have them incur tens of thousands of $$$$$ in debt, graduate, get hired by the state at about $30 grand (plus free dental, which isn’t true by the way), send them into dangerous hoods, deal with the dregs, be laughed at and threatened…after all these people ignore police and judges..sounds about right.

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  16. M Ryder your plan isthe closest to workable. It does ignore a few laws such as compulsory attendance, IDEA and a few others but I like it. These laws have unfortunately made the education system responsible for the extremely disruptive etc…
    When Gerald Ford signed PL 94-142 ( the special ed law) he did so under political duress and said, “this law is the start of the ruination of public education”…. Prophetic

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  17. LDC loves him some Dickens….

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