Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Twelve Year-Old Omar

Omar is twelve years old and in seventh grade.  His teachers agree that he is very bright and could be excelling in school, but he has struggled with behavioral issues ever since he started sixth grade last year at the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action in the Bronx.  Over the past two years, Omar has been suspended at least 20 times, most often for disruptive behavior, inappropriate language, or insubordination.  Omar has served most of these suspensions in his school's SAVE room, but the school has also imposed three Superintendent's suspensions.  The exact number of suspensions Omar has faced is unknown because usually the principal or assistant principal tells Omar he has to go to the SAVE room for the day or for the next few days and calls his mother, but does not keep an official record of the suspension, and does not give his mother notice of the suspension in writing.

The school has tried meeting with Omar and his mother, and tried having Omar write letters of apology for his behavior.  But the school does not have a full-time guidance counselor, and Omar's behaviors persist. Omar's mother requested months ago that the school develop a formal Behavioral Intervention Plan for Omar, but the school has not followed through.  Today, Omar is out on suspension, awaiting another Superintendent's suspension hearing next week.

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