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Violence in Student Writing
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Violence in Student Writing
A School Administrator's Guide



November 2012 | 144 pages | Corwin
This book gives principals and other school leaders guidance in responding to student violent writing legally while still achieving their educational goals and maintaining academic integrity. Oltman highlights and explains current court cases dealing with student violent writing; shows educators how to investigate, document, and discipline student violent writing; offers strategies for responding to the writing; and shows leaders and teachers how to collaborate in this endeavor. This book:Deals with violent writing both within the classroom and outside the classroom, including cyberbullying, texting, and Facebook writingsIncludes real-life scenarios from school administrators and teachers to help illustrate the problemsShows how to shape a positive and safe school culture where students are less likely to commit school violence

 
Foreword by Allan Osborne
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Introduction
 
1. The Aftermath of Columbine on Student Writing
A Brief History of School Violence

 
The Columbine and Jonesboro Shootings: Writings as a Pretext for Violence

 
The Columbine Effect

 
The Aftermath of Columbine on the Student Writer

 
Boston, Massachusetts

 
Cary, Illinois

 
West Warwick, Rhode Island

 
Prosser, Washington

 
Johnston, Rhode Island

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
2. Schooling for Citizenship: A Legal Primer for Educators
Freedom of Expression in Today's Public Schools

 
The U.S. Constitution

 
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District

 
Bethel v. Fraser

 
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier

 
Morse v. Frederick

 
How Do These Cases Apply to Classroom Writing Samples?

 
The True Threat Standard

 
The Court’s Call for Citizenship Education

 
Citizenship Education Through the Curriculum

 
Courts Agree – Public Schools Are More Than Books and Pencils

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
3. School Culture and Student Safety
What Students Write About (And What It Can Say About Your School Culture)

 
The School Administrator’s Influence On School Culture

 
Improving Your School Culture

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
4. Regulating Student Expression: Examining Your School Policy
Why a Zero Tolerance Approach Fails Everyone

 
Incorporating Legal Principles Into School Policies

 
Sample Policies

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
5. Violent Writing Within the Classroom
Freewriting Is Not the Cause of School Violence

 
Writing as a Predictor of Violence

 
Writing Instead of Violence

 
The Unique Nature of the Writing Classroom

 
“But, Teacher, I Want To Be the Next Stephen King...”

 
The Lost Lesson: Purpose and Audience

 
Advice for All Teachers of Writing

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
6. Violent Writing Beyond the Classroom
Off-Campus Writings

 
Cases Where Schools Prevailed

 
Cases Where Students Prevailed

 
Cyberbullying, Texting, and Facebook Writings

 
When the Violent Writing Targets You

 
Staying Informed

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
7. Communicating With Teachers About Student Violent Writing
Conversing With Teachers Before the School Year Begins

 
Recognizing Potential Syllabus Problems

 
Reviewing Teacher Classroom Policies

 
Suggesting Teaching Methods When You Are Not a Writing Teacher

 
Continuing the Conversation

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
8. Threat Assessment for Student Violent Writing Incidents
Assessment Does Not Mean Profiling

 
Listening and Threat Assessment

 
Keep a Copy of Student Writing

 
A Sample Threat Assessment Form for Student Violent Writing Incidents

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
9. Acting and Responding to Student Violent Writing
The Need for a Timely Response

 
Responding Reasonably to All Student Violent Writing

 
Creating a Documentation Trail

 
Potential Administrative Responses

 
Summary

 
Practical Applications for Teachers and Administrators

 
For K-6 Schools

 
For 7-12 Schools

 
Questions to Consider

 
 
References
 
Appendix A

"Today's school administrators strive to balance student safety without compromising student creativity and supportive educational climates. Violence in Student Writing: A School Administrator’s Guide provides educators with legal and education frameworks for distinguishing students who are writing about violence from writing by violent students. Knowing the difference between the two can possibly save lives."

Kenneth S. Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services and author of Proactive School Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning

“What is so special about this book (and the author!) is the comprehensive nature of the issue, the historical and legal perspectives, and the sensible recommendations the author provides to handle what can be a tenuous situation. The author presents the reader with the social, educational and legal aspects of the issue while at the same time providing strategies and procedures that the administrator can feel comfortable about developing and implementing that encourage the creativity in students as well as ensure the safety and trust in attending school.”

Susan N. Inamura, Principal (Retired)
Manoa Elementary School, Honolulu, HI

“This book provides an in depth look at the educators and school administrators responsibility to respond to student work samples that are threatening, abusive, and violent. The aim of the book is to provide an awareness of what is student violent writing, how the English teacher can promote creative writing with guides, and applications for immediate response using a systematic approach once a report has been made involving a violent student writing.
I highly recommend this book for all educators, parents, and professional scholars interested in Education in the 21 Century.”

Robin E. Ruiz, Teacher
Denison Middle School, Winter Haven, FL

“Timely and relevant in today’s educational climate. This book will encourage educators and administrators to remain aware, cautious, and empowered.”

Marilyn Steneken, Science Teacher
Sparta Middle School, Oak Ridge, NJ

“This exceptionally practical book addresses the pervasive issues that school staff members face today.”

Marian White-Hood, Director of Academics
Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools, Washington, DC

"Gretchen Oltman offers an important book on a subject that helps us understand the challenges of the past, those of the present, and (gulp!) those we cannot yet imagine. Increased emphasis on writing, combined with evolving trends in online media and bullying, make this a book we all need to keep handy. Here, Gretchen combines her wisdom as both a classroom teacher and a lawyer, offering us a guide we can trust as we all seek to navigate our way through the complex landscape of writing instruction."

Jim Burke, Author, The English Teacher's Companion

"Rarely do authors have the ability to bring the law alive by providing teachers and administrators with deep understanding of its practical application in their schools. This book is an insightful look into the power of school culture, instructional decision making, policy development, and student well-being through the lens of violent writing, both on and off campus. The writing is compelling, the scholarship is deft, and Oltman’s clear focus on the real work of schools makes this book a must read."

Susan G. Clark, President, Education Law Association and Professor, Educational Foundations and Leadership
University of Akron, Akron, OH

"I know first hand how destructive high schools can be in handling student writing that makes them uncomfortable. In some cases students with no record of violence have been suspended, and their reputations permanently altered, just because their English teacher was frightened by something they wrote. Oltman's book presents the case for much more intelligent policies. Teams of educators who have researched the issue and have spoken to the students should be making these decisions, she says. This is a sensible guide that should be required reading for all principals."

Jay Mathews, Education columnist
Washington Post
Key features
  • Using published court cases dealing with students' violent and/or disturbing writing, the book will interpret the law in an administrator-friendly way and show how to apply the legal principles to student discipline scenarios while still upholding educational goals.
  • Deals with violent writing both within the classroom and outside the classroom, including cyberbullying, texting, and Facebook writings.
  • Each chapter will include real-life scenarios from school administrators and teachers to help illustrate the problems. Actual student writing samples will also be used whenever feasible to obtain.
  • Shows how to shape a positive and safe school culture where students are less likely to commit school violence.
  • Gives administrators strategies on how to provide guidance to teachers across the content areas, including how to recognize potential syllabus problems and how to do threat assessments of student writing.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: The Aftermath of Columbine on Student Writing

Preface


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ISBN: 9781452203973
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