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At a Dec. 2 board meeting, several parents said their children had been bullied or had been unfairly punished after allegations of bullying. One mother said her son was expelled and became suicidal after he was falsely accused of sexual harassment at Hercules. Advocates for Janet Headington, the award-winning teacher who started a Teacher Cadet training program and who spoke out about problems at Hercules, said the principal retaliated against Headington by reducing the program and submitting paperwork to have the popular teacher transferred to another school while she was on medical leave.
Teachers complained of a broader pattern with Bender in the no-confidence resolution, saying she lacked leadership skills and that she created a “toxic” environment at the school by unfairly punishing staff while failing to create high expectations for students, The principal told this newspaper the vote supporting the resolution wasn’t a full vote of the school’s union membership, A review of police calls to Hercules Middle/High from Jan, 1, 2012, to March 31, 2014, by this newspaper suggests even deeper toddler ballet shoes amazon problems, Officers responded to hundreds of incidents during that time, including 150 fights and other disturbances, 108 reports of juveniles out of control and 33 drug investigations, There were five drunk-in-public calls, three calls for burglaries, two each for reported rapes and sexual assaults, and one each for arson and a suicide attempt, During one week in March, police officers assigned to the school found an unloaded BB pistol in a 15-year-old student’s front waistband and responded to a fight between two girls in the PE locker room..
This school year, police Chief Bill Goswick said officers have responded to about 430 calls on or near the campus. “Any time we have this many calls for service, it’s going to concern me,” he said. “We have to continue to track what’s going on at that school and work with them to try to get these numbers down, and maybe be a little bit more proactive about what’s going on out there. I think holding people accountable for what they do is very important.”.
Hercules City Councilman Dan Romero said some of the tension may be related to the district’s decision to reduce expulsions and suspensions by using a restorative justice program that brings victims and aggressors together to discuss what happened, and ideally, take responsibility for their actions, Critics say the program wasn’t implemented effectively and that victims often feel unsupported while bullies appear to get away with abusive behavior without serious consequences, The number of expulsions and suspensions over the past two school years toddler ballet shoes amazon at Hercules has plummeted, while the number of police calls has gone up, In 2011-12, the school logged 12 expulsions and 160 suspensions, The next year, no students were expelled and there were only 70 suspensions..
In Bender’s defense, Romero said it would be impossible for most principals to oversee nearly 2,000 students and staff members on a campus that includes both a middle school and a high school. Bender, who started at the school in fall 2012 and was notified in March that she might be reassigned, said in a message posted on the school’s website last month ï»¿that she decided to request a transfer “in the best interest of the students and staff.”. “It is my sincerest hope that my departure will allow the school community to continue its focus on preparing students for success in both college and career,” Bender wrote, adding that she would stay through the end of the school year.
In conversations with this newspaper, Bender said she and others have made efforts to promote tolerance on the campus, A Gay Straight Alliance club has formed, and in March the school held a health fair as part of a “peace week” that included information about a “No Place for Hate” campaign, That same week, the school put on a multicultural rally that included dances, poetry and songs reflecting students’ cultural backgrounds, But Kalla Graham, 18, said an toddler ballet shoes amazon assembly for the entire student body explaining the peace week theme could have been more effective than the health fair..
“You need to come together as a school,” she said, “not just put out some tables at lunch.”. Still, Graham and some of her classmates believe the campus has been unfairly portrayed as a problem school. “Every school has fights,” said Andre Roberts, 18. “But only Hercules has been making the news.”. Tiffany Farmer, 18, who helped coordinate the annual multicultural rally, said she believes students accept each others’ differences, but she said attitudes and friction between teachers and administrators affect everyone.
“It has to start at the top to work its way down to the bottom,” she said, “And if there’s frustration at the top, the bottom is not going to be good.”, Recent surveys of students, parents and staff show the campus ranked near the bottom when compared with others statewide in areas of safety, violence and toddler ballet shoes amazon truancy, And a key effort to improve those rankings is in peril, In a message to the school community in March, Bender said the campus may lose a $125,000 grant that helps support the restorative justice program and school counseling efforts because of a lack of parental participation in an online survey required for the money..