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Misconduct: Are city schools tough enough?
Manchester’s school board found out last week that 32 serious cases of student misconduct in the last school year — including two dozen assaults on staff members and numerous cases of weapons possession — were never referred to the board’s student conduct committee, which has the power to expel students. That is highly concerning, to say the least.
Superintendent Thomas Brennan has the authority to decide whether such cases should be sent to the committee. Of 39 cases, he sent seven to the committee. All seven of those students were expelled.
At last week’s board meeting, Brennan defended his decisions by noting, correctly, that context and the student’s needs have to be considered. But board member Jason Cooper had a better point: Students will continue to violate conduct rules that have no teeth. Cooper, a former prison guard, knows that weapons smuggling and assault have to carry swift, sure and strong punishments. If not, their deterent effect will be nil or close to it. That seems to be the case in Manchester, which ought to deeply concern every parent who has a child in the system.
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