Saturday, March 26, 2016

When Schools Give In

I recently did a post on schools giving in on discipline with regards to special education students, and Joanne recently did one on schools that have seemingly given up on trying to discipline students.  These two are not the only such posts in existence, the problem is rampant across the country.  The problem was created the moment school administrators decided it was easier to give in than to do what's right.

I thought of that as I read this story from the New York Times about emergency room doctors who prescribe opioids to known addicts:
But, as one of my colleagues whom I greatly respect said to me in the emergency room recently: “Why wouldn’t I give patients a Percocet prescription? It makes their life easier and my life easier.” Another colleague overhead this and wholeheartedly agreed, speaking truth to the fact that the system is set up so that refusing these demands is much more difficult and time-consuming than it is to simply give in to them.
What is this doctor's solution to her problem (and to mine)?
But the truth is, a deep cultural shift within our health care system is needed. Physicians need to know that if they don’t prescribe a narcotic because it’s not clinically indicated, or worse yet, because the patient already has an addiction problem, that they have the backing of administrators at every level, from their own department to the head of the hospital all the way up to state officials. If patients are seeking narcotics and have a documented history of doing so — and become combative or refuse to leave after discharge — they may need to be escorted out of the emergency room by security and their treatment terminated to avoid interrupting the care of other patients.

What my patient said to me that Saturday morning is right: We health care providers created the problem. Now it’s up to us to take steps to try to solve it.
What makes absolute sense in medicine is the furthest thing from reality in education.  The words from West Point's Cadet Prayer come back to me: Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

Our school has become a destination school for SpEd due to IEP's that basically make it impossible for a SpEd student to fail anything. Due to Open Enrollment, a SpEd student can enroll in any class they want. It is one thing if the student has the capability of performing at any level in a class, but quite often these choices are made by ambitious and somewhat delusional parents who want to impose seriously impaired students onto general education classes that are already full of ELL, GT, behaviorally impaired and 504 wielding students. We, the teachers, know that the students aren't making these choices because many of them cannot read or negotiate our online enrollment system. So SpEd teachers or counselors are choosing to place these students based on convenience for them over what is appropriate for the student. As a result we have students who act out in truly epic fashion. For example, the first day of the term, I had a student for whom I had not received an IEP. Nobody told me not to whisper to him. He was grabbing materials from other students and throwing them across the room. When I whispered to him that he needed to calm down, he had a major meltdown. I want you to image a 6 foot 4 inch male student screaming his head off and the entire class having to be escorted out of the room while AP's and contact teachers sought to calm him down. He was eventually removed from the class, but nobody even bothered to come by and tell me what happened. I wish I could say this was an exception, but it has happened multiple times. There has to be some consequences for all students including SpEd students otherwise we are simply reinforcing bad behavior.