Cairo Association of Teachers - Newsletter

CAT Tracks for May 11, 1999
15, 14, 13, . . . WARNING, WARNING!

Only 15 school days left - counting today! It's time for the annual year-end reminders AND IMPORTANT WARNINGS.




During our Spring Break, Region 2 of the IEA held a retreat which focused on issues currently affecting educational employees throughout Illinois. Participants were encouraged to attend the session concerning the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The bottom-line was clear: DO NOT TALK TO A REPRESENTATIVE OF DCFS WITHOUT YOUR ATTORNEY PRESENT! That warning bears repeating. If you are called to a meeting or called to the telephone and you find out that a representative of DCFS is involved, DO NOT TALK TO THEM! Inform whoever is in charge of the meeting or whoever is on the telephone that you will need to contact your attorney and have the attorney schedule a time when you can meet with them WTIH YOUR ATTORNEY PRESENT. Then contact Ron Newell (CAT President - Cairo High School) immediately! I will contact the IEA attorney and start the necessary process. You have a legal right to do this. Our UniServ Director and our attorney advise (DEMAND) it! So . . . DO IT!!!


Discipline is again becoming a major issue in Cairo School District Number One. (As if it ever left!) More and more instances of disturbing behavior are being exhibited by our students--at all age levels! Teachers and other staff members are being bitten, kicked, shoved, cursed, and threatened on an almost daily basis. The Codes of Conduct that were written several years ago are being placed under a great strain. The recent tragedy in Littleton, Colorado has focused national attention (once again) on extreme behavior in public schools. However, an equally important focus needs to be the increasing day-to-day acts of physical and verbal abuse--the acts that develop a tolerance level that eventually leads to more serious and more publicized behavior. We must not allow ourselves to accept bad behavior--especially of the physical type--simply because it has become so common. All of us--at every building--need to take a look at the Code of Conduct that is currently in place. Does it ADEQUATELY address the issues that you are faced with on a daily level? Is the administration enforcing the Code? Are YOU enforcing the Code? I would suggest that each building faculty find time to meet before this year ends and review the Code of Conduct that is currently in place. Does it address the concerns that currently face you? Does it clearly list the specific acts of physical abuse that you face at your school? Are there clear steps of progressive punishment? IF NOT, take the necessary steps to correct it! Be sure that a new and improved Code of Conduct is in place PRIOR to next school year, that the parents are informed IN WRITING--preferably signed for, and that it is ENFORCED EVERY TIME, AGAINST EVERY STUDENT. IF it is NOT, then follow the language of the Contractual Agreement--DEMAND A MEETING IMMEDIATELY WITH THE ADMINISTRATION. Only in this fashion can we keep control (regain control) of our classrooms and our schools. Our safety and the safety of our students demands it.

And we must NOT forget the Board of Education! Their role is crucial. They MUST COMMIT to whatever we do, or we will fail. They have a legal mandate under the Illinois School Code to provide a safe and orderly school environment. As we know from a day-to-day experience in the classroom/school, CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY! The best discipline policy is only a piece of paper if it is not adhered to. They must recognize the seriousness of what transpires daily in CSD #1, Illinois, and the rest of the country. They have employed us; they have entrusted us with their mandate! They must trust us; they must back us as we enforce THEIR POLICY! To do otherwise is to fail in their elected duty. They would hold us accountable. We have a right to do the same!