Toolbox Tuesday: Hard on the outside, soft on the inside….

Join us for Zooming with the Dawg this Friday at 10!

Our firm’s Toolbox Training is all about maintaining a productive and safe school environment while simultaneously serving students who engage in disruptive behavior.  The law requires public schools to do both of those things, which can be a challenge.  These days when things go off the rails there is often a video.  I saw one recently: a school police officer in Florida body slamming a girl onto a concrete floor.

It’s become tragically clear that not just any police officer is fit for duty in a public school.  The Toolbox offers ten tools.  If we added an 11th tool, perhaps it would be FOR GOD’S SAKE, BE CAREFUL WHO YOU HIRE. 

Thinking about this brought to mind the law passed by our legislature a few sessions ago that required cameras in certain self-contained special education classrooms. That law was designed to ensure safety by providing video evidence of what was happening with some of our most vulnerable children.  Putting cameras in the classroom may be a good idea but it is certainly not the most effective way of guaranteeing student safety. The most effective way to do that is to hire your self-contained teacher with the same degree of care that you use when hiring the head football coach. 

It's the same with your SROs and school police officers.  Office Krupke may be a great cop, but he may not have the temperament and skills to work with children and adolescents in the school environment.  So be careful.

I’ve heard it said that school safety requires that the school be hard on the outside, but soft on the inside.  That’s a good way to put it. Here’s hoping we never have to see another video of a school employee slamming a child onto the floor.


Tomorrow: Talking to lawyers….