Corporal Punishment in American Education: Readings in History, Practice, and Alternatives

By Irwin A. Hyman; James H. Wise | Go to book overview

31
Schools That Change: Success Strategies for Dealing with Disruption, Violence, and Vandalism in Public High Schools

Maurice A. Jackson


A New Responsibility

During the 1975-76 school year, I became one of the many pilgrims moving across the United States looking for insights and perhaps revelations on the causes and cures for crime, disruption, and violence in the public schools of our nation.

My quest was not inspired as of old by religious or ideological conviction and zeal, but by the more contemporaneous forces which now create causes or pursuits: the power of public concern supported by the federal funding establishment.

School violence has become an issue transcending the traditional sphere of responsibility of local school systems and is now also the subject of concern of many federal agencies. My role is not ordinarily that of a pilgrim on quest or a knight on crusade. I am a principal, of long experience, in a large urban high school in Washington, D.C. During the summer of 1975, the National Institute of Education invited me to become part of their team of investigators working on the "Safe School Study" mandated by an act of Congress. The consensus of the Institute personnel designing the study was that it would be essential to have some person-to-person contact with the school administrators, teachers, and students who had developed successful strategies for dealing with violence and disruption.

The charge given me was to identify and visit those secondary schools which had experienced recent incidents of violence but which were on their way toward stabilizing and containing the disruptive situation.

The decision to join the NIE study group and take a year's leave-of- absence from my high school was not an easy one. However, personal

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