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Why I Quit: One Teacher Explains

Why I Quit: One Teacher Explains

Joanne Jacobs

A research scientist who became a science teacher at Rhode Island’s troubled Central Falls High, Dale Dearnley explains: Why I Resigned on GoLocalProv. A perennially low-scoring school, Central Falls fired — and then rehired — its teachers as part of a turnaround effort.

Her number one reason for leaving is “the absence of discipline and accountability.” The district approved a behavior system based on “restorative practices,” but failed to implement it consistently.

In their own words: "Chaos is the norm, interruption of education is consistent, and the environment is toxic.

Being sent to the “Restorative Room” is how students are held accountable for infractions from cutting class and disrupting lessons to threatening teachers and assault. I have heard from many students that they enjoy going to the Restorative Room because they can socialize with their friends, joke around with a so-called “behavior specialist, ” and their only academic responsibility is to complete a word search puzzle. If “restorative practices” were working, then students would not resort to extreme vulgarities and hate speech in response to simple directions and the routines of an orderly, productive classroom."

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For five years, the high school has had no science curriculum, Dearnley writes. Teachers were promised a chance to develop a curriculum. Instead, they get pre-packed science “kits ” from a contractor.

Teachers are “afraid to speak up because of fear of retribution,” she writes. When a student threatened to kill her, he was assigned to the Restorative Room for the remainder of the day. An administrator told her it wasn’t a police matter and reprimanded her for using the student’s full name in the school’s incident report.

Letting students get away with cursing and threatening teachers is a form of child neglect and abuse, Dearnley argues.

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