Friday, October 10, 2008

Reasons for Ruby Payne

I received this email from TCTA member K Holland. She is willing to share her story with everyone and her hopes of what people can get out of hearing Ruby Payne at the OEA Convention on October 16th.


I thought I might share a couple of local news stories with you. The stories are very pertinent with the upcoming convention with Ruby Payne. Tulsa Public schools has an 82% free/reduced lunch rate, many like mine are close to 100%. As you are aware, poverty breeds violence. I want to thank you for changing the convention to meeting the needs of our society. The convention has always been good, but many of our members have not truly taken advantage of all the workshops at the conventions. Ruby Payne is fantastic and very meaningful in our turbulent economic times.

The first new story occurred at Booker T Washington High School(one of the top schools in the state and a magnet school) and also Lynn Stockley's school. This school is usually only in the news for their academic successes not violence. Last week they had a 2 hour lock down and police searched the school and found students with 3 guns and ammunition. On Monday, the following story was on KOTV about girls fighting at BTW (be sure and watch the interview with our district's new police chief)

As a result of this story, KOTV received hundreds of calls from parents, teachers and principals about the problem of girl fights. KOTV received word that a teacher had been hurt in a girl fight (myself). [A week ago, I underwent shoulder surgery after being thrown against a wall at school, while trying to stop a girl fight. The surgeon reattached three tendons in my rotator cuff as well as reattaching my bicep tendon. I will return to work next week, but undergo four months of physical therapy]

I agreed to the interview after confirmation from the district that I would not be reassigned. I made sure that Denzel was interviewed as well as my principal so I was not the only one discussing the problem. Here is the story and video.

At the bottom of the story you can click on comments to read the public's reaction to the story. Over 70 people have left comments compared to 8 for the story on Wayman Tisdale! Comments have come in from as far away as New York . Many are from Tulsa teachers. Here is an example of one of the many comments:

"I am so glad that this article is out! I don't think people understand the difficulties that Teachers face these days. The disrespect is out of control. These kids talk to the Teachers like they are dirt and then when the kid gets in trouble, the parent comes to the school and cusses everyone out. I run one of the In School Intervention programs at a local high school. It's a sad thing when I come to school and actually sit in my classroom in fear."

Tulsa ISI teacher

The comments have given me hope that the general public are beginning to realize what schools are like today. People are realizing that we need assistance and we need it now.

I realize that sometimes OEA members from smaller schools/districts or rural areas do not understand the challenges we face in the inner-city areas. Yes, I do realize they have as many problems as we do, but of a different nature. I realize girl fighting has gone on since the dawn of education, however video taping the fights with cell phones and broadcasting the fight on the web has not. I hope by shedding light on this problem we can stop this problem before it becomes a major problem for all schools in Oklahoma .

Hopefully, OEA can help our legislators to understand the violence and fear some teachers deal with on a daily basis.

I just wanted to let you know what has been happening in Tulsa . Again, I thank you for bringing in Ruby Payne to the convention.

K Holland

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