School & District Management

L.A. Principal Tackles Discipline Problems

June 14, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

When Norm Morrow became the principal of Jefferson High School in Los Angeles four years ago, the art deco building was severely overcrowded, had poor security, and—two months into his leadership—was one of 12 schools statewide to be audited because of low academic performance.

“What I saw was a system that cheated the kids,” Mr. Morrow said in an interview last week. “Nobody in L.A. had an answer [to the problems]. I felt the kids deserved better than what they were getting.”

It seems that school officials are still struggling for answers to the problems that have plagued the 3,800-student Jefferson High for years. Recently, the school attracted unwanted national attention for a series of incidents in which student brawls broke out on school grounds. Since then, Mr. Morrow has dealt with a flood of media scrutiny.

The recent fights were sparked by tension between African-American and Hispanic students.

Overcrowding at the school, he said, made it more difficult for school officials. “It’s not easy to control such a situation,” he said.

District officials echoed Mr. Morrow’s sentiments.

“Under the best of conditions, it’s not an easy school to lead,” said Stephanie Brady, the director of communications for the 725,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District. “It takes everyone working together—parents, teachers, students, the community—which is what that principal was working toward.”

Ms. Brady said that, contrary to reports in the local and national media, Mr. Morrow was not asked to step down as principal because of the recent student brawls. In January 2005, he had already told district officials he planned to retire either this July or in January 2006. He plans to be an education consultant upon retirement.

District leaders plan to address safety issues at the school by tightening enforcement of the student code of conduct, installing security cameras this summer, and adding police and staff presence on the campus. Four community committees have been formed to foster diversity education, promote youth tolerance, and provide more after-school activities.

Related Tags:


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.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

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 & District Management 3 Ways School Districts Can Ease the Pain of Supply Chain Chaos
Have a risk management plan, pay attention to what's happening up the supply chain, and be adaptable when necessary.
3 min read
Cargo Ship - Supply Chain with products such as classroom chairs, milk, paper products, and electronics
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Vulnerable Students, Districts at Greater Risk as Natural Disasters Grow More Frequent
New federal research indicates the harm from fires and storms to school facilities, learning, and mental health is disproportionate.
4 min read
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP
School & District Management Opinion What It Takes for Universities to Conduct Useful Education Research
Many institutions lack the resources to make research-school partnerships successful, warns Thomas S. Dee.
Thomas S. Dee
3 min read
Illustration of coworkers collaborating.
School & District Management Opinion Trust Keeps Our School-Research Relationship Alive in the Pandemic
An educator and a researcher describe how their team was able to nudge forward a plan for equity even as COVID changed almost everything.
Katherine Mortimer & Scott Gray
3 min read
Illustration of coworkers analyzing data.