However, the topics discussed are not the most enjoyable to think about.
Over the past few years it seems that violence across schools has increased immensely. Nowadays it is fairly commonplace to hear a story about violence against a teacher, a student, a staff member, and more. Articles are written in the Huffington Post and school systems like Philadelphia are the focus of investigative reporting. These issues are no longer few and far between.
What is so unfortunate is that there is such a focus on CYA (cover your ass) that sometimes the "right" thing to do gets muddle in the policies that were created.
At this workshop we were told of stories of teachers truly breaking rules or students being purposefully aggressive and violent and the punishments did not seem very restorative or consequential, mostly because the paperwork was not filed correctly. In one instance, a teacher was given a broken nose and arm while the student who performed the aggressive act was given a suspension for 10 days and was back in the same classroom. The teacher, meanwhile, had to have restorative surgery and go into early retirement. While suspension might not be the only answer, the idea that the child could go directly back to the classroom with little if no intervention or support meetings seems wrong to me.
Additionally, there was a discussion about underreported violence that makes it more difficult for a staff member to substantiate a need to remove a child from a certain settings. Perhaps a principal did not follow protocol but the new teacher does not know what that protocol should be - then if a repeat offender does something abhorrent, their punishment is not as meaningful because of lack of documentation.
I truly hope that some of these policies are changed and reviewed by high quality educators - if we can get adults and children to really understand and follow meaningful policies, perhaps we can improve things more.