NOVEMBER 28, 2012
In what may be a first even during a bully-crazed administration, a principal known as an effective disciplinarian at a notoriously violent inner city public school may get fired because some accuse her of being a bully.
The story comes out of northern California where teachers at one of the area’s toughest middle schools assert the principal is a bully who physically detains and upsets students. We’re not talking about cute little kids here. The San Francisco campus of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School stands out for its pattern of violence that has resulted in multiple staff injuries and skyrocketing student suspensions. Read details in this local news report published a few months ago.
A former school security guard, who underwent two surgeries after trying to physically restrain a student last year, reveals in the article that fights and threatening behaviors are daily occurrences on the campus. “We call the police about two or three times a week,” the guard said, adding that students often return after suspensions to engage in more delinquent behavior.
To say the principal, Natalie Eberhard, has a challenging job is a tremendous understatement. The school has burned through five principals in the last five years and Eberhard is in her second year at the helm. She has strong support from school district officials as well as the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which has spent time at the campus observing her technique.
But a group of teachers and staff claim the principal is a bully and they want her fired. This week they marched in front of the city’s Hall of Justice holding signs protesting Eberhard’s “reign of bullying and violence.” Among their bullying claims is that the principal sat on a student during a confrontation that incidentally required emergency police response.
As far-fetched as this campaign may sound, it’s likely fueled by the Obama Administration’s obsession with bullying in schools. This has ignited an aggressive federal campaign to conquer bullying, which the Department of Education (DOE) asserts is an urgent social, health and education concern that has moved to the forefront of public debate on school legislation and policy. Bullying is an extremely serious and often neglected issue facing youths and local school systems, according to the DOE.
The Obama Justice Department is also a big part of the campaign to eradicate bullying in schools and “ensure equal educational opportunity for all students.” In fact, last month the agency celebrated National Bullying Prevention Month. “School bullies become tomorrow’s hate crimes defendants, while victims of bullying are more likely to drop out of school, struggle in class, engage in illegal drug use or become involved in the criminal justice system,” according to the agency’s bloated civil rights division.
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