Woodland Hills principal on leave for not dealing with unruly students

Nov 7, 2015 by

About a dozen of the approximately 40 teachers at Edgewood Primary School in the Woodland Hills School District have been injured by their students in grades K-3 this school year.

As a result, school principal Reginald Hickman was placed on administrative leave Thursday and the district’s curriculum coordinator, Licia Lentz, became acting principal on Friday, said superintendent Alan Johnson.

“I can’t just let that continue to happen,” Mr. Johnson said of the students’ aggressiveness toward teachers.

In addition to the leadership change, Mr. Johnson said the district will increase the number of paraprofessionals at Edgewood and review individualized education plans for all special education students there.

Mr. Johnson said Edgewood, which has 455 students in grades K-3, had an increase in the number of special education students this year, including a group of 15 to 20 students who entered kindergarten with IEPs, instructional guidelines that are crafted for special education students.

Before removing the principal, Mr. Johnson said, the district had added a kindergarten and second-grade classroom to reduce class sizes.

Mr. Johnson said he heard complaints from teachers about injuries that resulted from scratches, bites and other violence by students, who range in age from 5 to 8.

“It became clear that there were problems with how that was being addressed, that these students were not getting these problems addressed quickly enough,” Mr. Johnson said.

Mr. Hickman, who previously was principal of Woodland Hills Academy, director of the Delaney Scholars Program for young African American males and director of pupil personnel services, became principal at Edgewood this year. He declined to comment about being placed on leave.

Mr. Johnson said Mr. Hickman’s removal “doesn’t mean that Mr. Hickman is not a good principal. Sometimes you just need a new person at the helm.”

The review of the students’ IEPs, done with the help of the district’s directors of special education and pupil personnel, will determine what additional support the students need, Mr. Johnson said.

That could include one-on-one aides in the classroom or transfers to alternative programs such as the district’s Rankin Promise or approved private schools, the superintendent said.

“We are not looking to punish, expel or throw them out. But we need to do whatever we have to to make sure the other students in that room are safe and the staff members are safe,” he said.

Source: Woodland Hills principal on leave for not dealing with unruly students | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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