Unruly Students

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Four years ago, Holly Armato left her teaching job in a stateline public school to teach fourth grade at St. Bridget School in Loves Park.

"I feel there's less of a tendency to have some of the discipline problem that you have in public schools, being the alcohol, drugs. Just overall less discipline problems," said Armato.

Armato isn't alone. A new study by Public Agenda (a nonpartisan research group) shows unruly behavior is on the rise in public schools. One in three public school teachers surveyed say they've considered quitting because student behavior has become so intolerable or know someone who has.

"Discipline issues and unruly behavior are a huge concern in the classroom for teachers and parents. It's just a difficult one to get a handle on," said Will Friedma, a senior vice president with Public Agenda.

Holly Armato thinks parents have a lot to do with student behavior at St. Bridget's.

"The parents I dealt with in the public school were not as involved as they are in a private school, so the discipline problems are more frequent," said Armato.

Along with parental involvement, Holly Armato says the ability to talk about religion in the classroom helps with student behavior.

"We can talk about the right and wrong and why it's right and wrong regarding the Commandments, which you can't do in public school at all," said Armato.

To help curb unruly behavior, the study suggests more parental involvement, zero tolerance policies and establishing alternatives schools or classes for repeat offenders. On a good note, the study found that public schools are doing a much better job dealing with serious issues such as guns and drugs on campus.


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