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Flint Lauds Public Shaming of Kids in School that has Seen 15 Suicide Attempts in Past Two Years

by: Matt Singer

Tue Oct 12, 2010 at 14:42:44 PM MST

What do you call bullying when a principal does it?
More than 35 parents and guardians of students who reportedly were publicly shamed at a school assembly for failing grades packed the regular Poplar School Board meeting Monday night and were quickly ushered into a closed-session meeting.
This is really pretty unbelievable. Similarly unbelievable is Aaron Flint's response:
I can only imagine if this would have happened to me when I was a kid.  My parents probably would have thanked the principal for giving me the kick in the rear I would have deserved.
Poplar isn't a run-of-the-mill school. It is facing intense poverty and has faced a rash of suicides in the past year (5 suicides in a year in a middle school).

And this isn't about some tough-minded, hard-hearted v. touchy-feely liberal debate either. If you want to change behavior, these sorts of shenanigans are pretty much the dead wrong way to do it. Call me crazy, but I'm guessing that the children in question were aware of their own grades. So the students didn't learn anything (if they did, this is an even more shameful exercise). They specifically didn't learn how to do better.

The trick of spreading success is replicating bright spots not yelling at failures.

Maybe the research I've read is wrong. Maybe the best way to turn kids around is just to yell at them more in public. Or maybe we should actually solve the damn problem.

Matt Singer :: Flint Lauds Public Shaming of Kids in School that has Seen 15 Suicide Attempts in Past Two Years
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Huh? (0.00 / 0)
I  SERIOUSLY doubt that we can actually know what happened from a Fibune article.  Might I remind you that this woman has dedicated a mere FIFTEEN YEARS of her life to educating these kids.  I'll withold judgement until and at such a time as real malfeasance can be proven.  Until then, I'm just not buying it.  Flint could very well be right.  A scandal, no matter whether it's real  or not, is enlarged simply for its entertainment value in the outback of Montana.  Hey, a good scandal plays well out there.  But again, I doubt the "facts" of the Fibune.  It was a poorly written piece of sh*t article to begin with that seemed to actually start the scandal rolling.  Now, I'm not saying that I couldn't be wrong, but using the Fibune article as the sole reference point, I doubt that I am.

The real story, Larry (0.00 / 0)
isn't the principal's tactics -- I agree, there's a lot of "he said, she said" being bandied about in the Trib piece.

The real story is that five KIDS have committed suicide and twenty have attempted suicide WITHIN THE LAST YEAR.  In a town of less than 1000.

This is the real travesty. Although if there is some truth to the principal's actions, it seems to be a pretty poor way to motivate kids.  

[ Parent ]
Pete, the real story is... (0.00 / 0)
that she didn't "single the kids out for humilitaion" as is being bandied about, but that she kept the kids after for a pep talk!  I can't STAND to see people tried in the press, ESPECIALLY the Fibune.  Are we REALLY to assume that a teacher that's been there FIFTEEN YEARS somehow humiliated the children?  Again, I'm not buying it.  This thing has taken on a life of its own, and that's real sad.  Can we not wait until the school board up there determines the facts BEFORE we ruin this woman's reputation?  Is that asking too  much?  I think not.  Hell, I've seen this sort of thing before.  It's ugly.  It's ruinous.  And it's uncalled for.  Ever heard of innocent until proven guilty?  Near as I can tell, the pisspoor Fibune article ignited a firestorm out of thin air.

[ Parent ]
Lean on Me (0.00 / 0)

Very good discussion.  At the risk of re-typing a good discussion between Pete Talbot and I...here's the link with new comments added: http://www.northernbroadcastin...

I think Larry hit the nail on the head: I'm not going to rush to judgment and Monday morning quarterback the principal's tactics, she is on the front lines of educating our children and at least it seems she cared enough to pull the kids aside and mentor them.  

I seem to recall another time in history when a school principal was questioned over his tactics.

As a side note... (0.00 / 0)
You may want to change your headline from just saying "Flint"...I doubt I'm important enough that most people would know who you're talking about.  

Just giving you a hard time. Thanks for the plug to the site.  

Given that these parts of the GFT story weren't highlighted in the original post (0.00 / 0)
Black told the Associated Press on Monday that she only segregated the students at the end of the assembly so she could give them a private pep talk on how to improve their grades, and that she did not announce why she was calling them down to the floor.

"I didn't say that these kids have Fs. I did not say that I was ashamed of them or anything like that," Black told the Associated Press. "What I was thinking was high expectations. I really feel that these kids can all do well, that they can improve. And that's what I talked to them about."

This year, the school has focused on improving parent involvement, including home visits, open houses and grandparents' day at the school, Black said.

School officials also have increased monitoring for bullying, and positive results have already been seen with attendance up and discipline referrals down, she told the AP.

...I have to agree with Larry and Aaron Flint. Like everyone else, I certainly don't know all the facts about the allegations surrounding the school assembly, what was said or how it was done. On the face of it, if Principal Black's account is correct, a principal giving a group of kids a private peep-talk about getting their grades up certainly does not a public-shaming make.

Regardless (0.00 / 0)
of whether the Principal is involved or not, there is a clear indication of a problem (or more likely in this case, multiple problems). Five successful suicides and 20 attempted suicides in a middle serving a population of 1000 is horrifying.

Instead of trying to make this a political problem (as many are trying to do now with attacks on the local representative and even attacks on Schweitzer and Juneau) we should be making this about the problem itself and the situations that have led to it. This is not a time for the partisan war or even finger waving, it is a time for action to prevent more of our children dying.


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