American Society for Ethics in Education Banner

Parent Fights Back

Courageous Parent Fights for Due Process!

Name: Howard Hastings
E-mail: [redacted]
Anonymous: No
Post: Yes
State: Virginia
County: Fairfax
District: Fairfax
Date: 06/30/01

I am not a teacher, I am a parent.

The unethical practices I have observed concern school discipline, especially expulsions. Fairfax County expels hundreds of children every year without due process. Many of these are expelled for first offenses (e.g., marijuana possession) and never make it back in. When my 14-year old was expelled, I was suddenly propelled into a surreal world in which hearing officers and school board members regularly LIED. I can never look at education the same way again. Everything horrible done to children is conveyed in a public rhetoric of concern and protection and desire to act in the child's interest.

After researching school discipline issues for the last six months I have come to the conclusion that Zero Tolerance discipline has little to do with discipline, something to do with avoiding lawsuits, and everything to do with maintaining administrators control over classrooms--control over parents and teachers, as well as students. I think that seemingly unrelated phenomena like testing are also linked to this centralization of power and control in school administrations.

I am now the host of an on-line forum on school discipline. If I can help you return ethics to schools and classrooms in any way, please let me know. My forum is at: [link no longer valid]