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Friday, April 21, 2006

Crying Wolf

Aptly titled, it's what we do best here at Regnef.In a literal sense, this could be verified via the 5 false fire alarms this week alone. 2 on Friday March 31, 2 on Thursday March 30, and 1 earlier in the week. Nothing like 30 minute breaks in the courtyard to negate the rare actual 5 day work week! (well, almost a full week - Friday was a 1/2 day). You see at Regnef, every Monday is a holiday/day off - whether Pulaski Day, Martin L. King Day, President's Day, Lincoln's birthday, Columbus Day...the list goes on and on. Ironically, I doubt that any of those we "honor" if given the option, would elect to close schools. These men were big on education. They would be the type to say "have school on Saturday to honor me". But nope - at Regnef we close the doors, and the students don't know a lick about MLK or Lincoln, DEFINITELY not a thing about Pulaski, and can't name all the presidents, let alone honor them. Naturally, this just MIGHT be the reason that students don't ever beleive they're actually in school. With so many 3 day weekends, 4 days of school doesn't seem like much to put forth effort toward. This is, of course, not counting the fact that Regnef has record low attendance on Fridays and Mondays due to "student imposed" holidays; that is, they just don't feel like coming to school.Let me get back on track: crying wolf; the 5 false fire alarms in 1 week. Note, there were several in the previous 2 weeks as well. I'd guesstimate about a dozen or so this year alone. Not sure how much that costs the school in terms of fines, but one thing it definitely earns is the scorn of firefighters. Can you blame them?I mentioned the gathering in the courtyard during alarms. This is apparantly a new security procedure - since there have been several violent incidents this week in which they evacuated via standard routes and the usual street mob gathering ended up in an ambulance being called. As yes, I love the courtyard. I somehow doubt that evacuating 1,200 students from the building via only 3 exits to the courtyard would be the most timely way to save lives if there were a real fire, but it's the new standard. Highlights today included students smoking weed while leaning against the assistant principal's vehicle and local neighborhood gangbangers jumping the fence to get into the courtyard.Additionally, a new "trouble shooter" has been called upon to assist Regnef. The gentleman won't really say what his position is, and has no title. When asked, he said "I do whatever the principal needs". He usually walks the halls with a walkie-talkie, but you have to wonder if it's a front and he's really reporting back about the teachers. All good surveillance needs better counter surveillance. Then again, maybe he really is here to help. Time will tell. A formal introduction to the staff might be a more professional angle to take, instead of just showing up and walking the halls.More smoke and mirrors: Regnef has a new group of tough-talking security guards in suits that mostly intimidate and bluff the students with empty threats. Nothing like calling in the cavalry in the 26th week of school to make sure the place runs as it should.How about those security cameras? They rock. The amount of fellatio performed and drugs sold in the stairwells continues to grow, since there are no cameras there and security sure won't walk the stairs. Walking/rotating patrols are not a standard security procedure here at Regnef. Instead, our guards like to sit on desks or chairs and chat on their cell phones. Their behavioral patterns are predictable and known by students; when they take lunch, when they sleep, and which guards will let you do whatever you want. Additionally, because they do not rotate, guards become friendly with students. The students give false respect in return for the favor of walking the halls, selling snacks and cd's, and treating teachers in whatever fashion they deem appropriate. (usually the same way an interrogator may treat a hostage at Gitmo or Abu-Ghraib). The guards are neighborhood locals who may be friends of the students' families, church members, or dating a relative. The loyalty is to the hood, not the school. The administration at Regnef need to understand and change this.Then again, "you get what you pay for". That was the explanation offered up by Regnef's principal in response to some teacher's laptop being stolen from a locked classroom. This guy's was the 6th of the year -all from locked classrooms. That students were recorded on camera either picking a lock or using a key for entry (believe me, they're not skilled enough to pick a lock because that skill acquisition actually requires discipline, patience, and practice). This means they have keys. Wonder who they get those from? Could it be the teachers who regularly have the students selling candy bought at wholesale for "fundraisers"? True, a rare few fundraisers are legitimate efforts at raising money for teams that are denied the basic finances to buy needed equipment. The shame is that teachers have no real knowledge as how to fundraise or win grants properly. Most times, however, there is simply an arrangement that the student will share 1/2 the profit with the supplier (teache r with a Costco card). There are teachers in schools with an army of student "salespeople" working for them who make literally thousands of dollars yearly on these ventures. How embarassing.Back to theft at Regnef: kids with keys, security and administration with no accountability. Apparantly it was a teacher's fault last week when a borrowed LCD projector was stolen from a locked classroom. This teacher was informed of his tremendous faults, while volunteering at the school on a Sat. morning, by the principal. (This poor sap is one of those who had a laptop stolen and was told that the solution was to claim it on homeowner's insurance because the school wasn't responsible). Granted, it was passed from colleage to colleague (the library where it was checked out and to be returned to is notoriously closed or unattended) and that ain't right. But later, the LCD was mysteriously "returned". Turns out that one of the coaches, who in some abstract way feigns security guard status, errand runner for the "discipline office" (or just hangs out in there) had "borrowed" the projector from a locked classroom to watch game film with it. The reamed-out teacher is still waiting for that admission or a quasi-apology of sorts from the principal, but it won't come. And what exactly does that coach do at Regnef anyway? (besides re-locate expensive equipment without telling anyone.) No one really knows. In fact, does anyone know if any of the disciplinarians or security "experts" indeed HAVE any expertise or training? The head of discipline was a band teacher for over 20 years, until this year when appointed to head of the discipline office. That expertise must have been gained overnight or in some super-seminar. Perhaps this very well-paid official can teach Regnef's criminals how to play the trumpet, because consequences sure aren't being taught.On the security note: When the A.P. was asked today "why can't cell phones, hats, hoodies, and music players be confiscated on the way in the door when bags are scanned and students go through the metal detectors, for later retreival by parents?", the answer was: "we're doing what we can to get to June 16, those are things that maybe we'll consider for next year." Nevermind that this is a policy that can be implemented in a matter of days. Nevermind that it would likely greatly reduce these problems:- students texting or calling one another to schedule fights, fellatio, drug deals, or notifying one another as to the location of security personnel so they can be avoided.- students calling outsiders during false alarms who deliver weapons to the school - like the gun earlier this week.- students ignoring staff because they are listening to their music players- the sale of illegally copied cd's by students (and staff)- students calling their friends and baby-daddies during class.These are things staff must deal with in the halls of Regnef everyday. But instead, the administrative priority is to station staff in front of fire alarm boxes so they can't be pulled. Don't mind the fights occuring in the now-unattended classrooms, the textbooks, chalk, erasers, and people being thrown out of windows, the vandalism, or the theft of teacher items. A band-aid is better than a cure; that's the attidude at Regnef.I wonder if secretly there is no confidence that security can handle a task as simple as contraband confiscation? Or a fear that security may in fact steal the items? Or are they so worried that this may generate media attention from inconvenienced parents who have to retreive their little darling's electronics and gang-banging hoodie and hat of choice, or may attempt to hold the school liable via bogus lawsuit threats for lost or stolen items? The fact is, Regnef has no idea as to its legal procedural rights. Confiscation of contraband is one of them.And why institute a standard blue/white dress code? I mean, it's so much more fun to decipher which gang is being represented by appropriately chosen colors, teams, symbols, etc. Amazing - 83% of the school gets government paid free or reduced (about 40 cents) breakfast/lunch, but 83% of the students at Regnef can also somehow afford $100 NBA jerseys, several pairs of gym shoes, and some really hideous fake-fur pimp-coats that look to be constructed of road kill. And there's nothing more appealing than the young ladies who wear their full pregnant bellies with pride, tiny half t-shirts proudly displaying that sexy newly attained protrusive belly button and mammaries, and the new "ink of the week". Lots of student names being tattooed on backs, necks, arms, and wrists. In case they forget who they are. And "Fuck the Ville!" "Dirty 130's run this bitch!" "GDN!" (Gangster Disciples Nation, for those less in-tuned to the local gang acronyms) At least, that's what the airbrus hed t-shirts that are allowed in Regnef say! That is, the ones that don't have pictures of handguns or serve as cotton tombstones letting us all know that "Lil' Wayne, gone but never forgotten, RIP 1993- 2000". Dress code? Bah! Regnef loves it this way!The saga continues: 2 teachers cars with tires flattened this week. 3 weeks ago, a young guy had his car window bricked (for the second time) and his door smashed. Course, his hubcaps were stolen months ago. Am I repeating myself?And the violence! Who doesn't love a good stand-off between a teacher and a 19 year old 260 lb. special ed student (who Regnef supposedly "can't" kick out because of the SPED designation)? There's nothing like a man-child balling his fists and screaming "I'ma beat your motherfucking white bitch ass, motherfucker, I'll kill you, I will shot your fucking ass you fucking white bitch" when a teacher asks him to evacuate the building during a fire alarm. Naturally, if that teacher were to defend himself verbally or physically, the kid's mom will be at the school, the teacher will be investigated, and that's that. There is the mistakenly held notion that "self-defense" means one must wait until the other "throws the first punch" in order to take action. This is incorrect. An individual has the legal right to defend him/herself in a hostile situation when an aggressor places the subject in a position in which immediate safety is compromised. To all the Johnny Cochran wanna-be p arents and students out there: think again. You'll be a laughed out of court. And to the administrators that think a teacher can "never" put hands on a student, you too should reconsider that the lawsuit faced because you have verbalized instructions that result in teacher injury ("reactive" self defense instead of "proactive" self-defense) will be much greater than the pathetic attempt at prosecution of a properly responding staff member. The State doesn't even want to pursue a case in which, on camera, a student moves agressively toward a teacher and creates a hostile confrontation. If you tell a teacher to not act until acted upon, that teacher may be stabbed or seriously hurt before they feel they have a right to defend themselves. Now THAT's lawsuit potential! It's techinically called "failing to provide a safe working environment", and it will be taken seriously by the courts - especially given Regnef's reputation.And what better to couple with violence than a serious drug problem? The student caught last month possessing enough marijuana to distribute to the whole junior class (about 10 oz) was suspended for 10 days. Not arrested. Not prosecuted. Why not? Because the school police officers were at the police station processing a previous in-school arrest (I'm convinced they are among the hardest workers at Regnef - likely because school politic consequences mean nothing to them; they are the police, and they do their job) and the security staff failed to search the dealer properly.Finally, after an unannouced 3-week vacation, the Tech Coordinator at Regnef has been reprimanded by being removed from this position and appointed instead to a different, higher paying position - one that has no cumbersome responsibilities like computer or network maintenance. So Regnef has no tech person now. When a pc or printer breaks - too bad! When grades have to be entered and the program must be activated by the tech coordinator - sorry!: Cancun calls!We shall see how many fire alarms are pulled next week...VIVA REGNEF! The true House of Illusions!


At 6:37 PM, Anonymous said...

who eva this is yall is bogus i bet i know who this is!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 9:35 AM, Anonymous said...

Regnef deleted this blog for a reason - its job was
done. Despite all of its imperfections and
misinterpretations, an open dialogue was created
highlighting many perspectives on the perceived good
and bad @ regnef high. Now its community is
communicating toward improving itself.
However, perhaps in a gesture of support, or maybe to
antagonize,- someone has re-posted SOME of the entries
(out of original chronolgy, and some missing) - not
considering that the anonymous creator is now
receiving death threats in comments as well as SEVERE
intrusions of his/her privacy - including HOME. Is
this a way to help regnef high? By placing someones
family in danger?
Also - the dialogue needs to happen AT REGNEF so there
is accountability, openness, and teamwork - not
If anything positive came of this. its that people are
talking to one another. Dont negate that by relegating
it into an online smack -talking forum..
The name of the original blog creator on his/her
profile was regn

- which is another way to tell that this is a re-post,
not the original author. Perhaps this well-meaning
blogger can create a productive blog of his/her own,
let the lessons of the old regnef posts remain in our
hearts and minds, and spare the anonymous (for good
reason, despite whos taking the fall) authors family.
PLEASE respect someones privacy and safety.

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous said...

There are good stories taking place at Fenger. What happens here is no different than any other neighborhood school. Fenger be proud and continue to celebrate your greatness.
Class of 1984!!!!

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous said...

Mr. Demato you talking about the students attendance rate being low, what about yours? You miss more class than me.

At 7:34 PM, Anonymous said...

Be proud of a shitty school. Very proud. And if you think this goes on in every school, every where in the U.S., you are sooo wrong!!!! Keep up the 'good' work. Your kids are going to go far!!!

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous said...

Just a reminder to those who think Regnef is GREEEEEEEEEEEEEAT...6.5% of CPS freshmen will graduate from college. Those are great standards you've set. I believe the national average is much higher than that!

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous said...

No. Please stop kidding yourself, all schools in America are not like yours.


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