Note: I in no way claim to know how to fix this cycle of failure and poverty. I do not consider my students to be failures, though I fear their circumstances will determine their future. I suppose there's little good in complaining when you aren't part of the solution; I just don't know what the solution is.
Each of these incidents have occurred within the past 24 hours.
Our kids rotate to each teacher throughout the week to receive the science content in various formats. I am responsible for weekly science labs. This week was a fun lab on human impact of land and erosion, specifically mining. Each student received a cookie, took the area of the cookie, used a toothpick to excavate the chocolate chips, then took the area of their cookie afterwards to determine amount of land loss. The lesson went ideally, with the exception of the last three minutes in one class. Of the 60+ students that completed this lab, four students thought it would be cool to line their cookie crumbs up, close one nostril, and snort the crumbs as if they were snorting crack. The students were coughing and one student even got a nosebleed. Their parents were notified by their homeroom teacher and talked to the principal.
Oh, and remember that kid who was selling razors? He has learned not only how to disassemble pencil sharpeners, but also scissors. His new hobby includes breaking scissors and passing around the blades to various friends, threatening to jump other students, chasing his peers off the bus, and lying repeatedly. I caught him with the blades during literacy class and we all spent a good portion of my afternoon in the principal's office with his mother. His consequence was having his parents notified.
In addition to the cookie snorting and blade distributions, two students had a yelling match that resulted in throwing chairs and another fifth grader slapped a first grader on the bus. Each of these students received silent lunch and had their recess taken away. The latter events were not under my supervision, though they very well could have been.
Our students are not allowed to receive an F on their report card, even if they fail every single test and don't complete homework or classwork. Our administration doesn't want to discourage students with "negative labels". I forgot to manually change one student's grade so his report card was withheld until the secretary returns to school on Monday.
There is absolutely no accountability or consequences for our students regarding behavior or academics. And we wonder why the school is the lowest performing elementary school in the district and in the 5% lowest performing in the state.