The Grand Rapids Press carried a story, Southeast Career Pathways alternative school called 'out of control', about an alternative school that has essentially been taken over by the students.
This is obviously not a unique story. It is one that can be found in virtually every medium to large city. Familiarity is not comforting though. Further, with disgraceful graduation rates, it's a problem that is way overdue for a fix.
I will not go into a lot of detail here but I can tell you that the Grand Rapids Public School system is an absolute joke. The school board meets and typically the overriding concern is ensuring diversity. They do not appear to have time left over for things like assuring the children are actually educated.
A student highlighted in this article appears to be trying to make as much as possible out of a second chance but she is finding the atmosphere hard to learn in
"I chose to come to this school because I thought there would be less kids in the classes and none of the drama," she said. "But it's hard to do your work if people are screaming and throwing things around the room."
The article does not say how this young lady found herself at this school and, quite frankly, I personally find it irrelevant. I believe kids make mistakes and I am all for giving them a second chance if they are willing to take advantage of it.
The tragedy here though is that the school officials are less concerned about fixing the problem and ensuring the kids get the education they need and more interested in finger pointing and petty arguments.
One teacher had their car stolen but the public safety director blamed the teacher for leaving the keys in the car. While leaving your keys in the car is stupid, isn't this blaming the crime victim for the crime?
There are ongoing arguments about the teachers using security concerns in a labor dispute. This may or may not be true but there is violence in these schools and the administration is ignoring it and saying it is overblown by the teachers.
The likelihood is that the problem in this school is isolated among a few kids and I believe the solution is to get them out of the school. As I said earlier, I believe kids make mistakes and I am for a second chance if they make the chance count. For the kids that cannot behave in an alternative school, kick them out. If they want to get their selves together and come back let them try, if they do not, tough on them.
Letting a few kids ruin the chances for the entire student body is inexcusable. "I want to learn, and I've learned some stuff," she said. "But I feel I could have learned more." Too bad the adults responsible for her learning can't be as responsible.