(Sorry I am late to posting some drafts. This is from 19 April)
Yesterday, I had to attend a suspension hearing. This is not a fun process for a teacher. Despite what some students might think, we do not take pleasure from this aspect of the job. It is really not nice and can be emotionally draining.
When we went into the room, the student up for suspension was on her phone with her earbuds in. While the appointed ‘judge’ was addressing all of us, she sat on her phone. He asked us to put all phones on silent and away. She reluctantly put her headphones away but left her phone on the table and continued to use it. I was not surprised but disheartened by her inability to see the importance for respect to the situation.
But that seems to be the normal now. My views on common courtesy, manners, professionalism, and respect are antiquated. Shame as I am not that old. Or am I? Hmm a reflection for another time perhaps.
At any rate, during a suspension hearing, I am asked to give my statement in addition to the written statement that was turned in immediately after the incident. I am instructed to speak clearly and directly to the adjudicator. The parent of the child is allowed to ask me questions. It is a nerve wracking moment. I have only been to one other of these and the parent or representative of the child in both cases does not approach with a level of decorum and professionalism. Its emotionally charged, accusatory, and volatile. The parent repeatedly tried to poke holes in my statement in the most ridiculous manner. It was clear that she refused to accept responsibility for her child and also watches perhaps too many TV court shows. At the end when the adjudicator shut her down many times for inappropriate comments and no logical questions, she blurted out that I really threw her daughter into a wall. Her final defense was that her daughter could not have thrown a book at me as she has been to our school and “there are NO books in our library.”
Imagine how difficult it was to sit there and listen to that and NOT show any expression in my face. Really? That is your final statement? There are no books in our library? To anyone out there reading this, I assure you there are MANY books in our library. Thus we call it a LIBRARY.