“Those who do not comport themselves according to the regulations and rules of Pinnacle Schools will find themselves living in a teepee. And they won’t be coming back until they can behave. And if they can’t behave, they won’t be coming back to our schools.”
— Superintendent Wardynski in comments after the February 2, 2012 Board meeting.
Why teepees? Well imagine that first sentence with one of the other options:
- Those who do not comport themselves according to the regulations and rules of Pinnacle Schools will find themselves living in a dome tent.
- Those who do not comport themselves according to the regulations and rules of Pinnacle Schools will find themselves living in a yurt.
- Those who do not comport themselves according to the regulations and rules of Pinnacle Schools will find themselves living in an army surplus tent.
- Those who do not comport themselves according to the regulations and rules of Pinnacle Schools will find themselves living in a circus tent.
These don’t quite hit the right buttons, do they? I wonder why.
When the temperatures in North Alabama top 100 degrees, I wonder about what the temps are like in the teepees. Teepees weren’t used by Southeast nations; they were the means by which nomadic Plains Indians sheltered while following the buffalo through what would become the central Canadian provinces and northern tier states of the US.
I don’t know what the temps are in Elk River’s teepees, and neither do you. Nor will we. Huntsville taxpayers are paying for City school students to live in them, but aren’t privy even to where they are.
A reader commented on my previous post:
“I hope you never are in need of the services offered through Elk River. I hope you never have to search for a place to help you with your child.”
This got me to thinking. Contrast the tone of that comment and Wardynski’s. My impression is that the parent believes that Elk River provides help to kids who are troubled, that it is an act of love and concern to send a child there when all else has failed.
Wardynski’s tone suggests he sees a trip to Elk River as punishment.
Can it be both? Hospitals are not, or shouldn’t be, the same in approach and philosophy as detentions centers, and detention centers aren’t the same as hospitals or boarding schools, are they? When parents borrow money to send their children to Elk River, are they doing it to punish the kids? Does anyone really believe that punishment for incorrigible behavior isn’t what Wardynski likes about the idea of kids “find[ing] themselves living in a teepee”?
How Come the Supe Can Send Bad Kids to the Teepees and I Can’t?
“. . . HCS may refer students who are being removed from the program to Pinnacle School’s Elk River Treatment Program for intensive therapeutic treatment, upon such terms as may be agreed to by TPS and HCS and at the sole discretion of the Superintendent.” [emphasis added] — Pinnacle and Huntsville City Schools Contract
Why is Casey Wardynski qualified to send kids to a therapeutic wilderness treatment program at his “sole discretion”?
Does he have professional training and experience in
- psychiatry, psychology, or counseling? No.
- criminal justice, rehabilitation, probation and parole? No.
- teaching adolescents? No.
I, unlike the superintendent, have at least taught several hundred older adolescents over the years (college freshmen), but I wouldn’t pretend to be qualified to make a medical diagnosis for an inpatient therapeutic treatment center or to serve as prosecutor and judge rolled into one.
Police officers, intake and probation officers at the juvenile detention center, the district attorney, a judge — this past year, none of these Huntsville professionals could manage to make a 15-year-old boy who beat a 15-year-old girl senseless even stand in the corner for 10 seconds — and yet Huntsville citizens are just fine with giving their school superintendent the leeway to send kids off to a secure facility in an undisclosed location for as long as he likes if they don’t behave in a classroom?
Something is very, very messed up in Huntsville, AL. Things can’t be this out of whack and there be no repercussions. Just can’t be — or can it?