Last night at Skyline's PTSO meeting, principal Sulura Jackson gave a pretty good summary of the events and AAPS follow-up to the first day of school bus fight. First, she characterized it as a fight that originated in the community, not in the school. Second, the school district does not at this point believe the fight to be a hate crime, although of course the police are doing their own investigation. The school district is following through with discipline for the students involved, as well as conflict resolution/mediation efforts that will go on throughout the year. And--finally! On Wednesday during "Skytime" (digression: everything at Skyline seems to have a "sky" pun in it--this refers to homeroom) the whole school will have a scripted/organized discussion. I believe that Ms. Jackson is right to keep the focus on ways to make the schools welcoming, and not focus on the incident itself. And, I'm relieved to hear, they are working with Peace Neighborhood Center as well.
So that's all well and good. I think they are on the right track. Yet I still have something to kvetch about: communication and transparency. Schools need to wake up and realize that they are service organizations, serving not just students but parents too. They will get a lot further if they communicate with transparency. I'm not asking for the moon--I should not have to go to a PTO meeting to find out basic information. That's what emails and letters are for! (And I didn't go to the meeting, actually, because I have found that you can't be in two places at once. I got this information from asking others.)
It may just be me, but: if I don't know what the schools are doing, then I am often not going to trust that they are doing the right thing. A paternalistic attitude that "we know what we are doing" doesn't get very far with me. I like to think for myself. I want openness and communication. At least as a place to start.