If Chicago teachers union president Marilyn Stewart is not part of the problem at Kennedy High School on the SW Side, where 150 students walked out to protest violence by fellow students, I am an orangutang's first cousin. The students want more security, even cops in the classroom, and Stewart's biggest fear is creating a "police state" environment. She prefers a root-cause approach, supplying more counselors, as for "a child [who] is picking up feces" to throw them at a student being beaten up by other students, which happened at Kennedy. "He needs counselling," said Stewart, who could use some herself. She hears of a student with a broken nose plus bruises inflicted in the presence of many other students and thinks of more jobs for her minions.
What ever happened to Montefiore School, the day reform school where Mike Royko spent some of his early years, emerging as a responsible citizen? (It's become in effect a mental institution, supplying "highly structured environment for Severely Emotionally Disturbed children.") Why does Kennedy keep these kids around, apparently some of the 190 transfers last October who in the words of senior class president and honors student Ibtesam Saleh "refuse to wear IDs, won't sit down, stand in the hallway, do not want to be in school" and for whom school time is "a social gathering." May I suggest that those infractions might be enough to pack the kid off to a Royko-era-Montefiore equivalent? It's called "attitude" in some circles, clear warning of trouble to come in others.
One-third of the October transfers are classified as having learning, behavioral, or physical disabilities. The attackers were black, the victim was white, a public schools spokesman said, but "there doesn't appear to be any indication that this would be a hate crime," he said. Of course not.
Sun-Times education writer Rosalind Rossi did this story, which got page-one splash and all of page three with pic and deserved every inch.