Fix student discipline woes with training in a trade

December 26, 2013 

Ms. Carol Gazell brings up a simmering problem in our education system that should be dealt with immediately, if not sooner (Letters, "Student's bad actions never merit bodily discipline," Dec. 22).

Some will recall another such problem in the school systems some years ago when both counties were trying to figure out what to do with "students" who were faced with learning problems beyond their capabilities. No offense intended to anyone. I believe history enforced the need and was eventually corrected through the ongoing trade schools.

I suggest that most students fit into either of two groups: those who are there to learn and those who are just there without any intent upon doing anything scholastic and are just passing time and in doing so making it more difficult for those who were there to work and those who would but can't, hence the constant disruption problems.

Back then it took some time and more than a few letters but finally both counties reacted by creating special schools for those students known familiarly as trade schools. Since then history has shown the wisdom in this and enabled hundreds, perhaps thousands of former troublemakers to learn a productive trade. A win-win situation.

Now we are faced with another serious discipline problem in our school system. That of the good solid person who could learn and would learn if he or she could only be exposed to the right type of hands-on training. In effect, a combination trade school with regular high school classes up to about grade 10 or 11 concentrating on only necessary core subjects.

Admission would follow advance screening for adaptability followed by a realistic trial period and would soon separate the true learners from the former miscreants. I suggest the same state financing for each student could be redirected and this plan, properly administered, could make winners out of otherwise losers to society.

Rolland S. Freeman

Longboat Key

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