Submitted by Laurie Sison, Hudtloff Middle School Teacher.
I am a teacher in the Clover Park School District.
Since September 2021, I have been asking for support for students who refuse to follow mask protocols set in place by our district.
There has been no significant support. There was not even a policy until I began asking.
What has been required of teachers is a seven-step disciplinary process that takes much time and dedication to get any kind of support. I’m including both the initial progressive discipline process and a more watered down one that was sent out when teachers got to step 5, which is the step before administrators step in.
In this building, I have had many students quarantined. Normally, we have had 2 to 3 covid cases per week. We were told that we have 30 this week alone.
I have communicated with the district to get a plan in place to address the maskless students in a more immediate manner. They refer me back to the seven-step progressive discipline policy for mask use, which does not offer timely support, or offers no support at all.
Myself and another teacher have been counting the maskless students and the numbers are up to 200 per day.
We were told that only students with a mask completely off their face would get immediate attention, but they do not. Students who continuously pull mask below their nose get even less attention and it is a rampant occurrence.
I have been trying to get help since September. The numbers of students who have been quarantined is high in my classes alone.
The day before Thanksgiving, I was provided a covid test because I was exposed. I tested negative that time. I hope my luck holds out.
I do not believe that parents fully understand how vulnerable their child is in the school building. Their children are at risk each and every day.
Teacher friends at other schools tell me that this is not an isolated incidence in our district.
Covid safety violations are being treated as a disciplinary offenses and not a safety offense. A safety offense would be dealt with immediately to curtail further harm. Disciplinary actions can take more time due to non-emergency situations. The violations of covid safety protocols has not been treated as a safety concern.
These are the steps that teachers must go through to get these safety violations the attention they should be getting. These steps take much time and effort. Even when we get to the step 5 point, there is no real action to support covid safety protocols.
Progressive discipline policy provided 10/13/2021 that teachers must follow to get support for students not wearing masks or wearing them correctly:
PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE: Staff this is a reminder of classroom progressive discipline for students who are not wearing their face masks correctly or not wearing face mask at all:
- Other Forms of Discipline/Documentation
- Two-way communication with family to partner and solution find
- Student of Concerns FORMs Survey
- Parent/Teacher Meet (Teacher with Concern & Family)- teacher meets with family to review student concern. This meeting is to review with family the concern. This is not an Admin meet with family meeting.
- Staffing (All Teachers & Family)- this meeting is if other teachers have the same concern. One teacher reaches out to the family to ask for a staffing with as many of the student’s teacher.
- Admin meet with student and family- Admin will meet with student and family to review student behavior and explain the district’s backing to enroll student in online school.
- If matter is not corrected- Family will be notified students will be moved to Online School
Watered down version recently provided 12/8/2021 for to teachers to follow:
- Progressive Discipline
- Teacher Skyward Documentation: Teacher uses other forms of Discipline. Teacher creates a Skyward Documentation. This is prior to a Skyward Referral.
- Teacher has Two-Way Communication with Parent/Family: Teacher has Two-way communication with family to partner and solution find.
- Teacher Fills-Out Student of Concern Form: Teacher fill-out a Student of Concerns FORMs Survey on student’s behavior.
- Teacher: Parent/Teacher Meet (Teacher with Concern & Family): Teacher meets with parent/family to review student concern. This is not an Admin meet with family meeting.
- Teacher calls a Staffing (All Teachers & Parent/Family): This meeting is if other teachers have the same student concern. Once teacher reaches out to the parent/family to ask for a staffing with as many of the student’s teachers. The teacher who calls the staffing facilitates the meeting. Admin and counselor should be invited to the staffing.
- Admin meet with Student and Parent/Family: Admin will meet with student/family to review student behavior and explain expectations. Admin partners with student/family to solution find. (all of this was added, which makes the process take much more time to address the safety issue of students not wearing a mask/correctly)
- Student will have a behavior interview with Counselor
- Some situations could have the consequence of a classroom exclusion this is an exclusion from the class period. This happens when a student repeatedly does not comply with classroom expectations.
- Some situations could have the consequence of school exclusion this is a suspension for the school day(s) ( Consider temporarily sending a student home a last resort health and safety precaution for students who do not respond to the steps above in order to engage in problem solving among school staff, the family, and the student.)
- Online School could apply
Since September, I have been asking for a streamlined approach to addressing and enforcing the policy for students who do not follow our district’s mask requirement. I have provided the district with examples from the Onalaska and Lake Washington School Districts, who have a policy that students who refuse to wear a mask/correctly are required to call home and are picked up for the remainder of the day.
To reiterate, mask wearing should not be a disciplinary issue, but a safety issue first and foremost. If needed, then discipline should be included. We would no sooner allow a student to pull a fire alarm and have that take seven steps to address and we should not be having seven step process to address a valid covid safety concern.
We were told that students who refuse to wear a mask over nose and mouth would be addressed immediately, but they are not.
This also applies to social distancing, which is no longer enforced in the building either.
I have tried to get help from those who are able to do so. I’ve been informed to refer back to the above-mentioned building progressive discipline policy as it supposedly aligns with the OSPI expectations.
The health and safety of students and staff is endangered every time a student is allowed to disregard the mask policy and wander freely down the halls.
This letter is to raise awareness among parents and community members so they can take action to keep their children safe.