This morning's Tribune includes a fascinating little story (Teacher's biting blog stirs storm) about how a Fenger teacher's angry blog (Fast Times at Regnef High) may have led to the teachers' departure from the school -- and a renewed awareness about the problems Fenger faces.
One thing, however: the story (by Tracy Dell'Angela) states that the blog was taken down after it was discovered, but that was apparently not permanent. Click here to see what Regnef had to say, or click below if the links stop working. (Just so you know, I'm told this may be a repost of the original blog, not the original itself.)
It's angry and inappropriate stuff, to be sure, but also a real-world look into a troubled urban school like relatively few have experienced for more than a day or two. I say, read for yourself, think for yourself -- and tell Regnef I want to interview him about what happened.
Aptly titled, it's what we do best here at
Regnef.In a literal sense, this could be verified via the 5 false fire alarms
this week alone. 2 on Friday March 31, 2 on Thursday March 30, and 1 earlier in
the week. Nothing like 30 minute breaks in the courtyard to negate the rare
actual 5 day work week! (well, almost a full week - Friday was a 1/2 day).
You see at Regnef, every Monday is a
holiday/day off - whether Pulaski Day, Martin L. King Day, President's Day, Lincoln's birthday,
Columbus Day...the list goes on and on. Ironically, I doubt that any of those
we "honor" if given the option, would elect to close schools. These
men were big on education. They would be the type to say "have school on
Saturday to honor me". But nope - at Regnef we close the doors, and the
students don't know a lick about MLK or Lincoln, DEFINITELY not a thing about
Pulaski, and can't name all the presidents, let alone honor them.
Naturally, this just MIGHT be the reason
that students don't ever beleive they're actually in school. With so many 3 day
weekends, 4 days of school doesn't seem like much to put forth effort toward.
This is, of course, not counting the fact that Regnef has record low attendance
on Fridays and Mondays due to "student imposed" holidays; that is,
they just don't feel like coming to school.
Let me get back on track: crying wolf; the
5 false fire alarms in 1 week. Note, there were several in the previous 2 weeks
as well. I'd guesstimate about a dozen or so this year alone. Not sure how much
that costs the school in terms of fines, but one thing it definitely earns is
the scorn of firefighters. Can you blame them?I mentioned the gathering in the
courtyard during alarms. This is apparantly a new security procedure - since
there have been several violent incidents this week in which they evacuated via
standard routes and the usual street mob gathering ended up in an ambulance
As yes, I love the courtyard. I somehow
doubt that evacuating 1,200 students from the building via only 3 exits to the
courtyard would be the most timely way to save lives if there were a real fire,
but it's the new standard. Highlights today included students smoking weed
while leaning against the assistant principal's vehicle and local neighborhood
gangbangers jumping the fence to get into the courtyard.
Additionally, a new "trouble
shooter" has been called upon to assist Regnef. The gentleman won't really
say what his position is, and has no title. When asked, he said "I do
whatever the principal needs". He usually walks the halls with a
walkie-talkie, but you have to wonder if it's a front and he's really reporting
back about the teachers. All good surveillance needs better counter
surveillance. Then again, maybe he really is here to help. Time will tell. A
formal introduction to the staff might be a more professional angle to take,
instead of just showing up and walking the halls.
More smoke and mirrors: Regnef has a new
group of tough-talking security guards in suits that mostly intimidate and
bluff the students with empty threats. Nothing like calling in the cavalry in
the 26th week of school to make sure the place runs as it should.
How about those security cameras? They
rock. The amount of fellatio performed and drugs sold in the stairwells
continues to grow, since there are no cameras there and security sure won't
walk the stairs. Walking/rotating patrols are not a standard security procedure
here at Regnef. Instead, our guards like to sit on desks or chairs and chat on
their cell phones. Their behavioral patterns are predictable and known by
students; when they take lunch, when they sleep, and which guards will let you
do whatever you want. Additionally, because they do not rotate, guards become
friendly with students. The students give false respect in return for the favor
of walking the halls, selling snacks and cd's, and treating teachers in
whatever fashion they deem appropriate. (usually the same way an interrogator
may treat a hostage at Gitmo or Abu-Ghraib). The guards are neighborhood locals
who may be friends of the students' families, church members, or dating a
relative. The loyalty is to the hood, not the school. The administration at
Regnef need to understand and change this.
Then again, "you get what you pay
for". That was the explanation offered up by Regnef's principal in
response to some teacher's laptop being stolen from a locked classroom. This
guy's was the 6th of the year -all from locked classrooms. That students were
recorded on camera either picking a lock or using a key for entry (believe me,
they're not skilled enough to pick a lock because that skill acquisition
actually requires discipline, patience, and practice). This means they have
keys. Wonder who they get those from? Could it be the teachers who regularly
have the students selling candy bought at wholesale for
"fundraisers"? True, a rare few fundraisers are legitimate efforts at
raising money for teams that are denied the basic finances to buy needed
equipment. The shame is that teachers have no real knowledge as how to fundraise
or win grants properly. Most times, however, there is simply an arrangement
that the student will share 1/2 the profit with the supplier (teache r with a
Costco card). There are teachers in schools with an army of student
"salespeople" working for them who make literally thousands of
dollars yearly on these ventures. How embarassing.
Back to theft at Regnef: kids with keys,
security and administration with no accountability. Apparantly it was a
teacher's fault last week when a borrowed LCD projector was stolen from a
locked classroom. This teacher was informed of his tremendous faults, while
volunteering at the school on a Sat. morning, by the principal. (This poor sap
is one of those who had a laptop stolen and was told that the solution was to
claim it on homeowner's insurance because the school wasn't responsible).
Granted, it was passed from colleage to colleague (the library where it was
checked out and to be returned to is notoriously closed or unattended) and that
ain't right. But later, the LCD was mysteriously "returned". Turns
out that one of the coaches, who in some abstract way feigns security guard
status, errand runner for the "discipline office" (or just hangs out
in there) had "borrowed" the projector from a locked classroom to
watch game film with it. The reamed-out teacher is still waiting for that
admission or a quasi-apology of sorts from the principal, but it won't come.
And what exactly does that coach do at Regnef anyway? (besides re-locate
expensive equipment without telling anyone.) No one really knows. In fact, does
anyone know if any of the disciplinarians or security "experts"
indeed HAVE any expertise or training? The head of discipline was a band
teacher for over 20 years, until this year when appointed to head of the
discipline office. That expertise must have been gained overnight or in some
super-seminar. Perhaps this very well-paid official can teach Regnef's
criminals how to play the trumpet, because consequences sure aren't being
On the security note: When the A.P. was
asked today "why can't cell phones, hats, hoodies, and music players be
confiscated on the way in the door when bags are scanned and students go
through the metal detectors, for later retreival by parents?", the answer
was: "we're doing what we can to get to June 16, those are things that
maybe we'll consider for next year." Nevermind that this is a policy that
can be implemented in a matter of days. Nevermind that it would likely greatly
reduce these problems:- students texting or calling one another to schedule
fights, fellatio, drug deals, or notifying one another as to the location of
security personnel so they can be avoided.- students calling outsiders during
false alarms who deliver weapons to the school - like the gun earlier this
week.- students ignoring staff because they are listening to their music
players- the sale of illegally copied cd's by students (and staff)- students
calling their friends and baby-daddies during class.
These are things staff must deal with in
the halls of Regnef everyday. But instead, the administrative priority is to
station staff in front of fire alarm boxes so they can't be pulled. Don't mind
the fights occuring in the now-unattended classrooms, the textbooks, chalk,
erasers, and people being thrown out of windows, the vandalism, or the theft of
teacher items. A band-aid is better than a cure; that's the attidude at Regnef.
I wonder if secretly there is no
confidence that security can handle a task as simple as contraband
confiscation? Or a fear that security may in fact steal the items? Or are they
so worried that this may generate media attention from inconvenienced parents
who have to retreive their little darling's electronics and gang-banging hoodie
and hat of choice, or may attempt to hold the school liable via bogus lawsuit
threats for lost or stolen items? The fact is, Regnef has no idea as to its
legal procedural rights. Confiscation of contraband is one of them.
And why institute a standard blue/white
dress code? I mean, it's so much more fun to decipher which gang is being represented
by appropriately chosen colors, teams, symbols, etc. Amazing - 83% of the
school gets government paid free or reduced (about 40 cents) breakfast/lunch,
but 83% of the students at Regnef can also somehow afford $100 NBA jerseys,
several pairs of gym shoes, and some really hideous fake-fur pimp-coats that
look to be constructed of road kill. And there's nothing more appealing than
the young ladies who wear their full pregnant bellies with pride, tiny half
t-shirts proudly displaying that sexy newly attained protrusive belly button
and mammaries, and the new "ink of the week". Lots of student names
being tattooed on backs, necks, arms, and wrists. In case they forget who they
are. And "Fuck the Ville!" "Dirty 130's run this bitch!"
"GDN!" (Gangster Disciples Nation, for those less in-tuned to the
local gang acronyms) At least, that's what the airbrus hed t-shirts that are
allowed in Regnef say! That is, the ones that don't have pictures of handguns
or serve as cotton tombstones letting us all know that "Lil' Wayne, gone
but never forgotten, RIP 1993- 2000".
Dress code? Bah! Regnef loves it this
way!The saga continues: 2 teachers cars with tires flattened this week. 3 weeks
ago, a young guy had his car window bricked (for the second time) and his door
smashed. Course, his hubcaps were stolen months ago. Am I repeating myself?
And the violence! Who doesn't love a good
stand-off between a teacher and a 19 year old 260 lb. special ed student (who
Regnef supposedly "can't" kick out because of the SPED designation)?
There's nothing like a man-child balling his fists and screaming "I'ma
beat your motherfucking white bitch ass, motherfucker, I'll kill you, I will
shot your fucking ass you fucking white bitch" when a teacher asks him to
evacuate the building during a fire alarm. Naturally, if that teacher were to
defend himself verbally or physically, the kid's mom will be at the school, the
teacher will be investigated, and that's that. There is the mistakenly held
notion that "self-defense" means one must wait until the other
"throws the first punch" in order to take action. This is incorrect.
An individual has the legal right to defend him/herself in a hostile situation
when an aggressor places the subject in a position in which immediate safety is
To all the Johnny Cochran wanna-be p
arents and students out there: think again. You'll be a laughed out of court.
And to the administrators that think a teacher can "never" put hands
on a student, you too should reconsider that the lawsuit faced because you have
verbalized instructions that result in teacher injury ("reactive"
self defense instead of "proactive" self-defense) will be much
greater than the pathetic attempt at prosecution of a properly responding staff
member. The State doesn't even want to pursue a case in which, on camera, a
student moves agressively toward a teacher and creates a hostile confrontation.
If you tell a teacher to not act until acted upon, that teacher may be stabbed
or seriously hurt before they feel they have a right to defend themselves. Now
THAT's lawsuit potential! It's techinically called "failing to provide a
safe working environment", and it will be taken seriously by the courts -
especially given Regnef's reputation.
And what better to couple with violence
than a serious drug problem? The student caught last month possessing enough
marijuana to distribute to the whole junior class (about 10 oz) was suspended
for 10 days. Not arrested. Not prosecuted. Why not? Because the school police
officers were at the police station processing a previous in-school arrest (I'm
convinced they are among the hardest workers at Regnef - likely because school
politic consequences mean nothing to them; they are the police, and they do
their job) and the security staff failed to search the dealer properly.
Finally, after an unannouced 3-week
vacation, the Tech Coordinator at Regnef has been reprimanded by being removed
from this position and appointed instead to a different, higher paying position
- one that has no cumbersome responsibilities like computer or network
maintenance. So Regnef has no tech person now. When a pc or printer breaks -
too bad! When grades have to be entered and the program must be activated by
the tech coordinator - sorry!:Cancun calls!We
shall see how many fire alarms are pulled next week...VIVA REGNEF! The true
House of Illusions!
by regnef @ 12:29 PM
At 6:37 PM, Anonymous said...
who eva this is yall is bogus i bet i know
who this is!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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