In response to the 1/16/2013 post, “Getting Rid of ISS – Part 1,” a reader writes:

SC,
I love the blog, your insights are educational, thought-provoking and on point for this parent. But,

“…the best revenge on the student that demonstrates a disruptive dislike for school and learning is to figure out ways to keep him in school and teach him something. It’s the ultimate win/win for the adult and the ultimate lose/win for the child.”

I think you’re leaving out the other “win/lose” on this–what about the disruptive student’s 22 or so classmates? One of those adult’s wins cheats the other students out of quality instructional time. That’s worse than a hollow victory.

Thoughts?

SC Response Excellent counter-point. I wish you had included your name, because you deserve a gold star!!!

There are students who successfully circumvent all the interventions and supports that we are able to provide in a given instructional setting.  When this happens, an objective, unbiased administrator should first review the case to ensure that the adults dealing with the student did not take any shortcuts and/or follow existing procedures. For this does occur more often than we like to admit. If we find that the adult(s) skipped a step, the student gets the benefit of the doubt and we work with the adult.  In systems with poor oversight, you can safely assume that this occurs at least 10% of the time.

But let’s say the adults did everything they were supposed to do, then the student should be removed and placed in a more restrictive environment.  Now it becomes a numbers game.  Think of the removed student as a casualty. In any instructional setting, there will be casualties.  If there are too many casualties then another setting has to be created or the initial setting has to be modified.

When I was a teacher, the casualty numbers didn’t bother me, because I didn’t think in those terms.  My job was to teach.  When I was an assistant principal the casualty number was a badge of honor, proof that I was no-nonsense and supported my teachers. When I was a principal the casualty number hurt my heart, because I saw where we had failed a student.  When I went to central office, I saw the casualty number was a function of our machine, so I modified the machine and the number of casualties dropped dramatically.

I do recognize there is a point where the One is detrimental to the Many so the One must go.  However, I also understand that adult practice drives student performance. And based on that understanding I have learned that it is possible for a staff to get so good at their practice that the casualty rate can be reduced to close to zero.   

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