School Climate & Safety

Cleveland Schools Faulted on Climate

By Christina A. Samuels — August 25, 2008 1 min read

The Cleveland school district has an inconsistent approach to how it handles students’ behavior problems that must be addressed, in part, by better training of school personnel, says a study by a Washington-based research group.

The 52,000-student district requested the report on schools’ capacity to handle students with mental and behavior needs after a 14-year-old opened fire at a school last August, wounding two teachers and two other students before killing himself. Another report requested in the wake of the shooting focused specifically on security improvements.

The American Institutes for Research study was based on more than 100 interviews, a student survey, site visits, and a review of school documents. David Osher, the lead author and a managing director at the air, said the report was one of the most thorough he has conducted on an urban district.

Among the challenges noted by the researchers were harsh and inconsistent punishments in schools, poor adult role modeling, and a weak family-school connection.

Students were asked to rate their schools on a “safe and respectful climate,” which measures how physically and emotionally safe students feel. About 46 percent of middle school students thought their school environment “needs improvement.” Also, more than 48 percent of responding high school students said they worry about crime and violence in school, and almost 43 percent reported that students are threatened or bullied at their high school.

Mr. Osher said Cleveland officials took pains to convince him that they wanted a deeper look at mental-health capacity in the city and schools, and weren’t just looking for a symbolic gesture. In press reports, Cleveland officials said they welcomed the report’s candor.

“People are poised to be willing to take the next implementation steps,” Mr. Osher said in an interview. The institute drafted a four-year plan and intends to work with Cleveland schools for six months, he said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 27, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Video A Year of Activism: Students Reflect on Their Fight for Racial Justice at School
Education Week talks to three students about their year of racial justice activism, what they learned, and where they are headed next.
4 min read
Tay Andwerson, front center, Denver School Board at-large director, leads demonstrators through Civic Center Park on a march to City Park to call for more oversight of the police Sunday, June 7, 2020, in Denver.
Tay Andwerson, front center, Denver School Board at-large director, leads demonstrators through Civic Center Park on a march to City Park to call for more oversight of the police Sunday, June 7, 2020, in Denver.
David Zalubowski/AP
School Climate & Safety Interactive Which Districts Have Cut School Policing Programs?
Which districts have taken steps to reduce their school policing programs or eliminate SRO positions? And what do those districts' demographics look like? Find out with Education Week's new interactive database.
A police officer walks down a hall inside a school
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (images: Michael Blann/Digital/Vision; Kristen Prahl/iStock/Getty Images Plus )
School Climate & Safety These Districts Defunded Their School Police. What Happened Next?
Six profiles of districts illustrate the tensions, successes, and concerns that have accompanied the changes they've made to their school police programs over the last year.
Deering High School in Portland, Maine, one of two schools to have their SROs removed.
Deering High School in Portland, Maine, one of two schools to have their SROs removed.
Ryan David Brown for Education Week
School Climate & Safety Defunded, Removed, and Put in Check: School Police a Year After George Floyd
Education Week has identified 40 school districts that defunded their police after last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.
Police officer outside of a school
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (image: Bastiaan Slabbers/iStock)