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[Susan notes: I am very glad that the New York Times published this letter, putting the responsibility with the teacher. As we saw, a dangerous situation is created when outsiders who aren't trained to deal with students are called in as enforcers.



In the strangeness category, I tried to post a comment about teacher responsibility on the Times website and they rejected it,while posting really ugly things.



Go figure.]

Published in New York Times
10/31/2015

To the editor

Re Toppled Desk Points to Race and Discipline (front page, Oct. 28):



As a teacher and a principal for more than 45 years, I had a policy of avoiding classroom confrontations if at all possible.



The problem in many instances of student misbehavior is that adolescents value "saving face" in the presence of their peers above everything else. Some will even risk injury rather than appear weak when there is an audience.



In the scene that erupted in a South Carolina high school, we can't know why a girl, who other students said "was usually quiet and not a troublemaker," refused to leave the classroom when told to do so.



But things would have ended better if the teacher had told her quietly to stay and talk about the situation after class, and then set an appropriate consequence for her misbehavior.

Joanne Yatvin


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