My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Amherst School Committee Meeting, Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We had a long but productive meeting tonight -- and to answer the questions I've had from people regarding the cancelling of last night's meeting -- that meeting was cancelled (at the request of Irv/Steve, in their roles as Chair/Vice Chair) because the SC didn't receive budget documents until 3 pm yesterday (it has been our practice to receive budget info 24 to 48 hours in advance so that members can have a chance to review the materials PRIOR to having to discuss them at a meeting). I believe this was the right decision, and commend Irv's leadership on this front. However, that did make for a long meeting tonight -- which I will now do my best to summarize.

First, we had 3 people give public comments. Ernie Dalkas spoke about rumors he had heard regarding members of the SC attempting to do various things (choose the MS principal, choose a curriculum director, etc.). He expressed concern about these rumors, and his respect for the SC. (And on one side note, I've heard these rumors as well, including one spread by several members of the community widely that said "ACE SC members are planning to overthrow the interim superintendent" and another one suggesting that I was calling for the SC to ask for the resignation of Mark Jackson!). I would hope that people take the time to actually investigate the veracity of rumors before spreading them to others -- the rumors that I've heard have all been completely false, which I was glad to clear up as soon as someone had the courtesy to contact me directly! Michael Aronson then read a statement regarding his concerns about the special education evaluation (he has posted these concerns using his name in the comments on the prior blog post -- where I have the agenda -- so I'm going to refer you to those words directly). I have been contacted by several parents about the nature of this evaluation, and look forward to hearing a response from the administration about these issues at the next meeting. Third, Tess Domb Sadof (ARHS student) presented a report she had conducted in 6th grade regarding bullying, and expressed her hope that an anti-bullying initiative could be implemented in our schools.

We then turned to the superintendent's update, which was brief. Ms. Geryk noted she will hold a coffee tomorrow, Thursday April 8th, from 12 to 1 pm, and that the district (under the leadership of Dr. Guavara) is working on an anti-bullying initiative.

Next, we turned to continuing business. We voted to continue our policy of not accepting school choice seats, and then turned to discuss whether the Amherst SC should look into getting legal service to investigate our options for leaving the Union 26 agreement (in this agreement, Amherst and Pelham are in a "union" in which each town has three members). The Union 26 agreement thus gives Amherst and Pelham equal representation at the elementary level, and the superintendent is hired by both Union 26 and the Regional SC. The SC voted unanimously to have the Amherst legal services subcommittee (me, Irv, Rob) look into our options regarding legal services. We then had a brief quarterly budget update from Rob Detweiler.

Finally, we turned to the "big topic" of the night, which was the recommended budget. It was announced that the sum total of savings from closing Marks Meadow is $840,554. The superintendent recommended a few changes to the budget (given the override passage), which include adding 1.2 intervention teachers ($60,000), a computer teacher ($50,000), afterschool/summer support for struggling students ($15,675), .6 instrumental music ($33,516), 1.0 world language ($50,000), and curriculum materials ($40,000). These increases would mean that each school would have a full-time computer teacher (right now there are two positions shared in the four schools), a total of 12.7 intervention teachers (3.5 at CF, 4.4 at FR, 4.8 at WW -- and this is in addition to staff members who focus on ELL -- 3 to 4.5 positions in each building -- and those who focus on special ed -- 6 to 7.4 per building), and 1.55 to 1.8 music teachers (combining instrumental and classroom). The world language teacher would be a single teacher shared across all three schools, meaning world language would only be provided to kids in a couple of grades (this position could be in Spanish, but could also be in a different language).

There was then a long discussion about these budget priorities -- which I will encourage you to watch on ACTV to get a full sense of! However, I will share what I said, which is that I believe this budget is doing a ton of stuff for struggling students, which I think is great (educationally and morally). This budget adds a preschool class for low income kids (which includes free transportation), a summer enrichment program (for struggling kids, which also includes free transportation), and afterschool care (for struggling kids). And I believe that the budget needs to reflect very tough choices among things that many of us would like -- including art, music, computer, and world language.

But I also believe, and I stated strongly at the meeting (as did Steve), that we should add K to 6 world language, meaning a dedicated teacher in each building. Right now, CF has about 60% of the kids compared to the other schools, and thus some staffing at CF is at .6 (e.g., the art teacher, the PE teacher). Thus, one could imagine easily that we could provide K to 6 world language in all the schools for just an additional 1.6 positions (a cost of $84,000). There are lots of ways we could prioritize this in our budget -- going to a .6 computer teacher at CF (instead of a 1.0 position) would save .4. So could reducing instrumental music at CF (it is now at .8, the same as the other schools, although there will be fewer kids), or a reduction of a .4 intervention teacher in each of the schools (still providing staffing of 3 to 4 intervention teachers in each building). I believe that K to 6 world language would be very valuable, in multiple ways, for our community, and I really hope the superintendent considers how we could implement this program fully this fall. If you have thoughts about this proposal (pro or con), please email the superintendent ( and/or the SC (

We voted a final budget line (which we need to give to the town), but noted that we would return to the issue of budget priorities and specific lines at a later meeting.

Our next topic was new business. We voted to allow the CF playground to be named the CF Rotary Club Playground IF the playground receives a $25,000 rotary fund donation they have applied for. We voted to accept a gift (for a WW student to register for camp). We discussed having a "retreat" of the SC to focus on working effectively with the administration (and co-led by the MA School Committee Chair and the MA Superintendent Chair, as the SC did last summer after the arrival of Dr. Rodriguez). We discussed having a line item budget, as is seen in Northampton, and it was agreed by all that this will be the approach now used. Interestingly, Rob Detweiler noted that the practice of the SC at the time of his arrival four years ago had been to have a line item budget, but the SC had found this too "headache inducing" and preferred a more summary form.

Finally, we discussed subcommittee reports. Irv added himself to the policy subcommittee (since I'm now alone on the subcommittee with Andy's departure). We tabled a discussion of a wage/salary review. We briefly discussed a proposal submitted to the Joint Capital Planning Committee of the town of Amherst that the town build a $250,000 addition onto the South Amherst Campus to allow for the merging of the two alternative high schools. This topic was tabled (since it is a Regional issue), although I spoke (as a member of JCPC) that I had asked for a regional SC meeting to be convened this week so that the Regional SC could discuss it, and that apparently was unable to happen. Thus, I noted that I will not be able to speak on behalf of the SC at the final JCPC meeting this Friday, which had been requested by this committee at the last meeting. We then briefly discussed items for upcoming meetings, which included an update on the superintendent's goals (and progress), a report on the state of the special education evaluation, and the potential for moving our meeting back to 7 pm (from 6:30 pm). I think that was all!


Fed Up Parent said...

You have GOT to be joking!! $250,000 to build an addition to the South Amherst Campus?! How many kids does it hold? 40 total now with the addition of the kids from the East Street Annex?! Please tell me this is some sick joke. Who recommended this? The merge was supposed to be to SAVE money, not create yet another special ed money pit!!!

It just floors me to think that the School Committee would even THINK about such an expense, especially when Crocker Farm is having to scramble to come up with funds to build a playground that would serve what--250 children? Wouldn't our money be better spent there? Or, frankly, not at all?? Where did we come up with this extra $250,000 all of a sudden?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how the amount to close MM keeps getting higher and higher. The original amount was nearly was half of what the superintendent has announced. How is this possible?

Rick said...

I just wanted to say that I thought this was a great meeting. I think the SC is working well together. I also think there was a good balance of SC members (mainly Catherine and Steve) advocating their ideas, and comments back from staff (like Principals in the audience). It felt to me like a good discussion and the way it should be.

Anonymous said...

How is it that the savings number from the MM closing keeps changing?

It's called "the real world".

News flash: the ACTUAL savings number, when it's all said and done, will be different again.

Anonymous said...

And why is anyone complaining that the savings number is going UP??? I can understand if people complained or were upset that the number was going down.

People on this blog are incredible!!

And, I do not see that the regional agreement is broken. Why do people think its broken? Because people from Leverett, Shutesbury and Pelham have differing opinions from Catherine and Steve and now Rob? News flash - Catherine, Steve and Rob are not always right in their opinions. I know - hard for some on this blog to believe.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to commend Catherine, Steve, and Irv for their initiative to close MM. It was obviously a fiscally responsible decision with vary favorable results for the elem school children of our town. Thank you for enduring all of the vitriol in regard to this very difficult decision.

Anonymous said...

To Fed Up Parent,

I can understand your initial reaction to a tidbit of information but please seek more info before jumping to opinion. Keep in mind that these programs are in place to serve the very significant needs of students that require substantially separate placements. That $250K is a small fraction of the cost that would be incurred should just 2-3 of these kids be placed out of district in alternative learning programs. The 250K is a one time amt. Out of district placements are annually billed to the school district. If the facility is too densely populated by squeezing in 2 programs, it likely will not meet the needs of some of the students. If the student's needs aren't met, parents request outside placement. If their request is denied by the school system based on the fact that we have a program for alternative learning, parents bring in the lawyers. Then again the school system is spending $ and time focused on legal fees and court cases rather than developing a program in which the students can succeed.

Anonymous said...

How about we fix some of the alternative learning placements BEFORE they start?

Social promotion is a construct that is broken. We get kids going into a next grade level without the skills from the prior years.

By high school it's explosive: leading to attempts to rectify with too many IEP's in place to try to compensate for misplacement in grade level. Imagine going into high school with a reading comprehension of 7th grade or lower....

I'd be curious to know if our IEP's and alternative placements increased after we supposedly got rid of ability grouping? I say "supposedly" because in actuality all we got rid of was basics courses...thus the lowest performing students are stuck with struggling to keep up with regular course or going into to "alternative" placement.

I applaud the addition of the preschool in the new budget. Let's put the resources needed in setting the goal in elementary that ALL children are grade level proficient before being passed on. Much more important than knitting 101 or whatever wonderful electives we saved in the high school.

I'm not unrealistic; I recognize that there are some students who have LD's, some quite severe etc. who fall outside such a system that holds grade promotion to such a criteria. But I think the reality is that classifications and IEP's are overused.


Need context said...

Please explain the advantages and benefits of "the Amherst SC looking into getting legal service to investigate our options for leaving the Union 26 agreement."

what is the reasoning behind needing to investigate our options? why are we unhappy or dissatisfied with the agreement? what is prompting this request?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Fed Up Parent - just to be clear, if you read my post, the SC has NEVER discussed this $250,000 addition. It was proposed by the administration. The addition would be paid for by the town of Amherst, not the schools.

Anonymous 6:50 - the initial estimate was a guess, based on projected savings largely from administration and teachers. It was deliberately a conservative guess, because it would be better to be wrong in that direction (e.g., we saved more than anticipated) than the other (e.g., ooops, the savings aren't really what we thought).

Rick - I agree that it was a good meeting! Feels like we are really making some progress on elementary school stuff -- and very glad to have you on board!

Anonymous 9:43 - indeed -- things change. But it seems clear that closing MM was a very important cost savings for our elementary school budget.

Anonymous 10:09 - I agree that it is odd to complain that we are saving more than anticipated. In terms of the Union 26 agreement - -that has nothing to do with Leverett or Shutesbury (that is the REGIONAL agreement). The Union 26 agreement is just between Amherst and Pelham, and is a union of 3 Amherst members and 3 Pelham members. The concern is not that people have different views -- obviously people within Amherst have different views. The concern is that the Amherst voters pay 94% of the bill (of the elementary level) and have 90% of the students, and have 50% of the votes. That means Amherst residents are under-represented, no matter who is on the SC. It isn't about me/Steve/Irv (Rob isn't on the Union, nor is Rick -- since it is the chairs/vicechair, and secretary - which is me). If you think the current set up is fair to Amherst voters, you should email the SC and suggest no change.

Anonymous 10:44 - thank you for the thoughtful words. It is amazing to think now about how much that decision was criticized, and how very right it was for education in Amherst.

Anonymous 11:34 - I think the issue is whether this addition is truly necessary. It is possible it is -- it is also possible it isn't. For me, I'd like to have a real understanding of the advantages AND disadvantages (not just fiscally, but educationally) of combining the programs as well as other alternatives to building the addition. I don't think I have enough information to recommend or not recommend this addition at this time.

SW - you might recall that Steve and I wrote a column for the Bulletin last year on the benefits of preschool ... and I agree that this type of early intervention is essential.

Need context - I replied to an earlier poster about this issue -- and it is about representation for Amherst residents/voters. Amherst voters now pay for 94% of the costs of elementary schools (and the superintendent, and central office, etc.), but don't have a majority on the Union 26 members, meaning the Amherst residents can't influence the outcome of key decisions by voting for SC members who share their views. I think looking into our options is a good idea, and I support Irv's motion to get more information.

Anonymous said...

Now that there is a bit of extra money, is there any talk of returning the Ecobus? All the grades used to go out in the field with the Ecobus and do science experiments. My kids loved getting out in the mud or to Puffers Pond and learning outside. It'd be great to restore this inexpensive program for all the elementary school kids.

Janet McGowan

Anonymous said...

It was Irv's motion?
What sort of decisions does the Union 26 make that would affect Amherst students and voters?

Anonymous said...

Fed Up Parent, thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts. I'm with you. Are you kidding me? This sounds like another Marks Meadow modular building fiasco. The idea of combining both programs was to save money Catherine, the administration is suggesting this? Is it the superintendent? Let's end it now. I think it's a plot to have them keep both buildings as they do now.

Anonymous said...

Catherine, I don't care if it is Town money or School money, it is still OUR taxpayer dollars. The two alternative high schools were proposed to be merged next year as a way of saving money. How would adding a $250,000 addition save money? I find it interesting that when the former head of Special Ed is all of a sudden our Superintendent (without anyone ever seeing her resume or qualifications and without the public getting an opportunity to give their opinion), we all of a sudden can find $250,000 in our coffers to build an addition onto a special education building! How many kids are in that building anyway?

Catherine, aren't you on the JCPC? We elected you to watch our money and our kids' education. Please let the JCPC know that this is NOT the best way to spend taxpayer dollars.

Rick said...

On the $250k, this came up as a surprise to Catherine at JCPC as a last minute thing needed. She did not approve or disapprove it, but simply brought it to attention of SC.
I am guessing this takes a town meeting vote to spend it anyways.
Obviously it wouldn’t be done if the net savings was not positive. I have asked – and others may have also – the following:
1. What is the net savings after the $250k of merging south and east campuses?
2. Is this really, really, really needed in order to do the merge?
I or someone else will report back when we know.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if the town pays for the South Campus addition, or the schools. It's still tax dollars.

Anonymous said...


The two alternative high school programs CANNOT be merged. They serve two entirely different poplulations of kids.

The most that can be done is to house them in the same building. And, anyone who has been to the SAC clearly knows that the building, as it stands now, is not large enough to hold both programs.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the two programs are going to be merged, but just housed in the same building--in South Amherst. Currently there are 28 kids in the South Amherst program and 15 kids in the East Street program. You can't tell me that there is not room at the South Amherst campus for 43 kids? Seriously?!

I have been in that building and it has multiple, very spacious and window-filled classrooms. Nicer than the kids at Wildwood or Fort River have, let me tell you! Before anyone authorizes the expenditure of $250,000 for an addition, I hope someone goes into that building to determine the real capacity. And I don't mean the Special Ed Superintendent or anyone else from Special Ed. Of course they would want more space for their kids. What teacher would not?!

Who (specifically--names please) brought this to the attention of the JCPC and why was this a surprise to our School Committee representative? Wouldn't it have been appropriate for the administrator who brought this forward to first discuss this with the School Committee? Even if it is "Town money," it still affects educational policy and will affect the school budget (after all, who will pay to upkeep this new addition?).

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree, an independent assessment of capacity is needed. And not "independent" chosen by the sped admins nor the superintendent.

Because after the 16 months are over, if the super doesn't remain the super, is it possible she return to sped admin?


Rick said...

"I don't think the two programs are going to be merged, but just housed in the same building"

Yes correct.

There is a new plan now (no addition; renovation instead)which costs $100k not $250k. The savings to put both programs in the same building is $190k per year. The $100k invested to do this to save $190k in one year and about $2.1 million over 10 years seems like a good one.

LarryK4 said...

Yes Rick, and the $200-K for the new portable classrooms at Mark's Meadow seemed like a good idea at the time.

Try thinking outside the Yacht.

Anonymous said...

"Try thinking outside the Yacht."

That was good Larry. Gave me a chuckle. Hang in there. Oh by the way, still no hot water at Wildwood. Oh well, you tried tho.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and according to former SC member Kathleen Anderson no hot water at the High School either.

Maybe with all that extra money suddenly falling from the heavens they could do a little basic maintenance.

Rick said...

Hey Larry Boy,

The $200k for portables wasn’t buying any savings (e.g. no payback) was it? Did ya kinda miss that one? As you like to say, “pay attention”. Best head on back to your black hole there old buddy and hang with the “nitwits”.

Catherine you moderating this thing or not? Try to keep the 14 year olds off a here will ya?


Anonymous said...

I thought we still owned the (two?) portables that were at MM? Can they be moved to the alternative HS to house the second program?

Kate said...

If I'm understanding your point, you're saying that kids who are in HS with IEP's should have been kept behind in earlier grades?

A different perspective: The schools have failed these kids. The schools should be providing them with an education that is accessible to them. That doesn't mean keeping them behind, it means teaching them in a way that they can learn.

I'm not just talking about the kids with LD's. There are other reasons for being on an IEP, including emotional disabilities. There's a reason that more IEP's crop up in high school: many emotional disabilities don't show up until then.

And there are lots of kids who aren't on IEP's that the school system fails to reach. Let's not treat our kids as failures, let's work to improve our ability to reach them.

Nina Koch said...

I'm glad to read in your post, Catherine, that the rumors aren't true. I'm sure you would agree that it is entirely inappropriate for members of the school committee to attempt to usurp a superintendent's powers or to undercut her ability to do her job. I commend you for making a public statement that you will not be part of any such action.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Rick - thanks for clearing up that it wasn't MY motion to spend $250,000 on an addition! And yes, that plan has been revised, and the new plan is to spend $100,000 on building some type of temporary walls. That plan will be discussed at the next SC meeting (April 13th).

And in terms of moderation -- I'm letting virtually all comments go through (unless they directly attack a district employee)! I am trying not to "censor" and it is hard to find the line! I figure you and Larry can duke it out, yes?!?

Anonymous 8:31 - apparently moving the portables WAS discussed, but that isn't feasible for many reasons (they are expensive to move, not appropriate for the purpose, and would violate zoning laws if used in that location).

Kate - well said. I agree. Though I'm not really sure if that was the point of SW's posting?

Nina - the powers of the SC are very clear: hiring the superintendent, approving policy, approving budgets. I don't think anyone on the SC is confused about that. I also think it is interesting that rumors are being completely fabricated, and that many seem to focus on me (since you, as a HS teacher, seem to have heard some) ... almost makes one wonder if there are active attempts to discredit me. For the record, I also had nothing to do with the whole JFK assassination, nor hiding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

What I find unfortunate is that many people seem to prefer spreading rumors that may well be false to taking the time to figure out their veracity -- it is not hard to contact me to ask whether rumors about me are true, and I have very much appreciated it when people have taken the time to do so. And once again, every single rumor that has been shared with me has been completely false.

As everyone reading this blog knows, I voted against Alberto Rodriguez, and directly opposed his hiring. However, once he arrived, I worked effectively with him throughout his time here, and certainly supported his efforts on behalf of our district. Similarly, I worked effectively with Maria Geryk during her last tenure as interim superintendent, and will do so effectively for the next 16 months (or less, if I'm not re-elected next spring!).

LarryK4 said...

Yes Mr. Hood,

The 200-K for portables at Mark's Meadow did not buy us any savings. In fact they cost us--probably about 75% of initial investment (even worse than Wall Street at its worst.)

As Captain Kirk would say, "There are always alternatives."

Rick said...

“I figure you and Larry can duke it out, yes?!?”

Ha. Yup that's right. I don’t care how you moderate (but the attack on employee limit is a very good rule) - I was just having fun with that.


Rick said...

And as Spock would say: "It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want."

FR Parent said...

Please! We need to spend $100,000 to build walls at the South Amherst campus for 43 kids? What about the 500 kids EACH in Wildwood and Fort River who have to sit there, day after day, year after year (for seven years) with NO WALLS?!! If we are going to spend money to build walls, I say we put them in one of those schools. Maybe if our kids had walls from Day ONE, they would be less likely to need to attend an alternative high school. How's that for long-term savings for you, Rick?

Please, before you spend ANY money on that high school, ask yourself who your Superintendent is and what her focus is.

Anonymous said...

Kate, Yes, you're missing my point. We are socially promoting kids who have not attained grade level skills.

That is definitely a failing of the school, not the student.

I want resources placed at every grade to ensure that each child is attaining at least grade level skills before moving on to the next level...and I do understand that some children are going to require more resources than others. I am so happy that the preschool has been funded, for that very reason.

My premise is that social promotion presents a scenario that allows schools/teachers to NOT accomplish their jobs.

Currently, we have students starting high school who do not even have reading skills at a high school level. Imagine trying to absorb material if you can't even read it. This was/is a fact. We used to have basics courses (surely evidence of failure of previous years' methods of instruction) but at least the kids had a chance to learn skills they should already have.

Now the only option is individual classification.

Starting with preschool, children should be taught the skills they need before moving on. Smaller groups, individualized teaching within classrooms is attainable.

It was done before the popular social promotion was incorporated. And it's certainly not as if previous generations didn't have the same issues facing them that ours does---things are not tougher now, issues are more recognized (but they've always existed) which SHOULD give us more power in addressing and solving to educate our children. Addressed early on, each year, not passed along.


Anonymous said...

FR Parent:

You VERY clearly have no idea regarding the population of students in the two alternative high school programs, or what the $100K will provide to bring the SAC building to a place where both programs can be housed in an appropriate.

I really wish people who make comments here did some research before making comments driven by mis-placed outrage.

LarryK4 said...

Yes Rick, and Spock also said: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Anonymous said...

If some of the students that attend East Street alternative school are suspended as stated in the Gazette today, Saturday, why are they attending school in Amherst, publicly funded?

Suspension used to mean "suspended from the PRIVILEGE of attending school".

Anonymous said...

I would imagine the kids have interal suspension, which means that the student continues to go to school but they are segregated from their classmates.

Anonymous said...

So we pay for an additional facility to provide "internal" suspension...which means paying for staff as well.

I'm glad we have that extra money.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should be expelling kids instead of offering them "internal suspension" for 45 days a time that requires extra expense? Since when is every action or poor decision by a teenager tolerated by public schools (unless of course it hits the newspapers like in South Hadley). I'm sure that what some of these "suspended" kids did qualifies as bullying. We're not waiting for something as drastic as what happened in South Hadley before our schools take firmer action, or are we?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:25: You clearly don't know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:11 How rude--if you have knowledge or can present a different viewpoint, please do so.

I do know that it's a tactic to shut down the "non-educators" when we want answers to questions by assuming we're ignorant of the issues surrounding the alternative schools/students/IEP's

But quite simply you cannot expect discourse to just cease because you claim the respondent is "ignorant"

WHY is a suspension NOT a suspension? The very selfsame folks in the schools who want the parents to solve problems that happen at school, then come up with :
detentions that are often only 10 mins--detentions where kids who didn't turn in homework and get detention, just sit, do no work and then get released.

"internal" Suspensions that mean you sit in a classroom with others of your ilk but with no instruction.

Do we still have a whole classroom at the high school still devoted to this (internal suspension) ? A few years ago, it was status for the problem causers to see how many times they could get sent to the room and sign in.

And if we do, then we also have internal suspensions--long term--- at the alternative campuses?

Anonymous said...

I know that in the past, when kids especially in the middle school, have gotten suspended, the parents raised holy hell, because they couldn't take the time off work to babysit the kid at home. So in the end, the school ended up babysitting the kid at school. It's ridiculous. Maybe if the parents took time off work and dealt with their own problem child, they would realize how disruptive these kids are to the classrooms.