This was copied from the Pioneer Press Nov 1, 2015 Opinion Page. It is odd that of all the candidates’ letters, only Greg’s is not listed as an actual candidate in the signature line. You would think that because the Editorial Board endorsed the Teacher’s Union Slate, it’s okay to check the other candidates into the boards. This isn’t hockey. ~~ Publius Jr.
I want to let your readers know that this St. Paul School Board candidate stands with the letter writers who have expressed outrage over the failure of Superintendent Valeria Silva, as well as her central office administrators and school principals to discipline students in accord with existing zero-tolerance policies for a child bringing a loaded gun to Harding High School, as well as possession and use of a controlled substance.
The student, in my opinion, contrary to the principal’s conclusion, did have intent to use this weapon. The student, who has pleaded guilty, declared to the Ramsey County attorney he found the gun in the weeds on Payne Avenue and brought it to school to defend himself from a gangster group.
I support the penalty prescribed by Minnesota Statute 121A.44 that “a School Board must expel ‘for at least a one year’ a pupil who is determined to have brought a firearm to school.”
The meltdown in St. Paul school discipline did not start with the loaded pistol at Harding High, but it should end there. Superintendent Silva has failed to provide the safe school environment that is a minimum requirement for students to be academically successful, according to the district’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook available at spps.org.
Parents, students, teachers, staff and volunteers all need new School Board leadership to hold Superintendent Silva professionally accountable under her employment contract for the ongoing violence and disruption to the learning environment created by the mixed messages sent by Silva to principals not to discipline misbehaving students. The achievement gap will only be perpetuated in this increasingly uncontrolled disruption of student learning that is being tolerated under Silva’s politically correct no-suspensions policy.
On Tuesday, St. Paul voters can bring an end to this dysfunctional chapter in school mismanagement and return to our 37,000 children their right to an excellent education, without violence in our public schools. I promise I will take action, rather than entertaining, as other candidates have suggested, yet more of Silva’s “courageous conversations,” which I believe have enabled the present escalating cycle of violence to become worse.
Greg Copeland, St. Paul
[One of two East Side SPPS Candidates, Keith Hardy the other. Students on the East Side can’t be best represented without one of their own]