Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Opinion
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

The kids are alright

Take a few hundred adolescents on the cusp of adulthood, filled with energy and rebellion, then cram them into rows of desks for eight-hour lectures and what do you get?

Obviously, discipline problems.

Each year in the Brandon School Division, a couple of hundred suspensions of three days or more are meted out.

In general these are relatively minor offences. Someone is caught with a couple of joints; someone else gets into a fight. The bulk of the suspensions are categorized as "unacceptable behaviour," which could be anything from a spate of graffiti to mouthing off in a teacher’s direction.

A few are more serious, of course. School division staff are right to take a hard line with would-be drug dealers and with gang-related assaults. Thankfully, those are relatively rare.

The number of suspensions is high this year — there were 327 handed out, across kindergarten to Grade 12 (about 95 per cent of them are in the three high schools — Neelin, Vincent Massey and Crocus Plains).

That’s quite a bit higher than last year, when there were just 256. But it’s pretty similar to 2008-09, when there were 325 suspensions, and we’re comfortable with there being some up years as well as some down years.

Quite frankly, out of more than 8,000 students in the Brandon School Division (around 2,800 in high school), there are bound to be a few who have trouble sitting still for the full school day or who are making poor choices.

We hesitate to use the terms "troublemaker," "bad apple" or "juvenile delinquent." It is best, we believe, to avoid labelling people for life based on a few incidents that they may grow up or out of.

There will always be a few issues when large numbers of people are thrown together in close quarters, in a fairly stressful environment.

If you don’t like your job or your boss, you can quit. Students are stuck. Despite that, we believe that they’re doing a great job, overall.

We believe that the hard-working teachers and staff who go in every day to face hormone-addled youth are doing a great job, too. Teaching is part science, part art — dealing with a few hundred teenagers every day is near wizardry.

We do worry about some of the zero-tolerance attitude that has cropped up among school administrators and political meddlers, however.

As we wrote in this space last month, we are not convinced that the new mandatory lockdown drills are really required — scenarios in which they are required are (thankfully) exceedingly rare in Canada.

And we remain opposed to the $150,000 new locks on the high schools, an unneeded expense that reeks of a prison mindset, given that the locked doors must be remotely controlled via central console, and are watched by camera.

At last word, the school board was hoping to expand this measure to elementary schools, where it would be truly draconian.

There is also talk that surveillance may be mounted on school buses, so that the panopticon can see just a little bit further.

Finally, in an effort to shrug off so-called liability concerns, the school division has also recently decided to impose insurance requirements on groups that want to use its gyms or classrooms. User fees will also be charged.

Barred doors, surveillance cameras, lockdown drills, pay-to-play …

Remember when they were called "public schools"?

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 30, 2013

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article is currently rated an average of 4 out of 5 (1 votes).
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Take a few hundred adolescents on the cusp of adulthood, filled with energy and rebellion, then cram them into rows of desks for eight-hour lectures and what do you get?

Obviously, discipline problems.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Take a few hundred adolescents on the cusp of adulthood, filled with energy and rebellion, then cram them into rows of desks for eight-hour lectures and what do you get?

Obviously, discipline problems.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Submit a Random Act of Kindness
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media