Show Some Respect


Mr K

Written by Maria Putnam |

How many classrooms do you think are in the Morgan school all together? About five teachers for each department, right? Students choose which classes they take and sign up for them between January and February of each year, but one classroom is not on the list. The In-School suspension room is a classroom in which only certain students choose to put themselves. Yes, the principal has the final say, but it is the students’ responsibility. The students’ actions land them in Mr. K’s classroom. It is a choice to take their actions far enough to be placed in there. Students tend to lose sight that it still is a classroom. There are the students who don’t mind being put there because they have no distractions of the social aspect of school. They are able to get their work done. Other students have a certain perception that it is not a respectable classroom, but they are usually the ones who have never been in there for a full day. Many  students, whether put in ISS or not, feel comfortable talking to Mr. K about problems here at school or even with their home life. Maybe it is a combination of all these aspects that give people the perspective that it is “not that bad” in In-School, but being a student who has had my fair share of suspensions and who has a great amount of respect for Mr.K, I’d like to fill everyone in on the truth of what the ISS room is all about.

For some strange reason, students have the idea that being in In-School and spending the whole day, maybe even three days in a row, with Mr. K is going to be easy and fun. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. K is awesome, but I can’t stress enough that he still has the job of running a classroom accordingly.   Mr. K, he gave me the standard rules of ISS and how an average day is run. This should be a reality check for anyone who has the perception that ISS is “fun”or “easy going”.

“First off, students are asked to hand in their cellphones and all electronics, Ipods etc,. They don’t always listen and then it goes to Mr. Jacobson. It’s only recent that Ipods have been banned. I’m asked to separate kids with seating as best I can. You absolutely have to stay awake and keep your head up throughout the whole day. ISS reports are handed out in the beginning of the day, and it is mandatory that students fill them out. I then send them to teachers through email at the end of the day to follow up on the student’s progress. Books from teachers are sent down to the ISS room, and student’s are not allowed to go get work from class, it is to be sent down by their teacher. Students are to follow the normal class schedule with work. If they are run out of work for that class, they can read or sit quietly. Another rule has been added recently that students are to only drink water. We go to to lunch first to avoid students seeing their peers. We can’t go third because they close half way through. We use the strike system, three strikes from not doing what you’re told and you’re out. Short breaks are given based on performance and students are escorted to the bathroom if they need to go.”

Not only did I get the standard rules of ISS from Mr. K, but I also spoke with Mr. Jacobson. It is Mr. Jacobson and Mrs. Hagness who collaborate together to come up with these rules. I asked him about the newest rules and the classroom as a whole.

“The day is more structured towards a normal day, class by class. First period English- you do your English; bell rings then science. And if you finish early, you can work on long term work. There’s also the written expectations now. Mr. K has one of the more difficult jobs in the school. Kids aren’t usually happy they’re there. He does a nice job trying to get structure and get kids focused academically. He balances the academic/rules structure with a good rapport with students. ”

So there you have it. The truth about the In-School suspension room. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but as Mr. K puts it, “Perception is not the same as fact.” These rules and structure are enforced both by Mr. K and Mr. Jacobson on a daily basis. From my own experiences in ISS, it is not fun at all. Yes it is a chance to get your work done; yes it gets you away from the social drama of high school for a day or two, and you get to spend time with one of  the greatest guys in the building, but nobody actually wants to be in ISS. Mr. K has helped and listened to many students, including me, with school problems and issues outside of school. As he told me, “I’ve always had a passion for working with high school students and wanted to make a positive impact on them. Just because students have a good rapport with me doesn’t mean they are not held accountable for the things they need to do.”

Mr. K has one of the harder jobs in the school, but without a doubt has helped many students. As Mr. K puts it, “We’ve all been in high school, and we all know how people change from the beginning to the very end.” Now that, is the truth.