Friday, August 04, 2006

Houston-area School Called 'Persistently Dangerous' | News for Houston, Texas | Local News / Houston:

10:04 AM CDT on Friday, August 4, 2006

By JENNIFER RADCLIFFE / The Houston Chronicle

The suburban, middle-class Cypress-Ridge High School is the first Houston-area campus to be deemed “persistently dangerous,” an emotionally-charged label that it earned, in part, for reporting a high number of drug violations.

The suburban, middle-class Cypress-Ridge High School is the first Houston-area campus to be deemed “persistently dangerous,”

Much to the chagrin of Cypress-Fairbanks district leaders, the high school is one of just five Texas schools to make this year’s list. Fewer than 40 U.S. schools were deemed dangerous last year.

“The label ‘persistently dangerous’ is a totally inaccurate reflection of the learning environment at Cypress Ridge,” district spokeswoman Kelli Durham said.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, each state has developed a method for designating persistently dangerous schools. Schools tagged with the moniker must notify parents and allow students to transfer to another school within the district. So far, about 90 students have given notice they plan to leave Cypress-Ridge before classes resume Aug. 16.

In Texas, schools are considered persistently dangerous if they report three or more mandatory expulsion incidents per 1,000 students in each of the previous three years. The rules give equal weight to alcohol violations, assaults, arson and murder.

Cypress-Fairbanks leaders said their school is being unfairly targeted for aggressively tracking every on-campus violation and for encouraging students to report crime. Other schools with far more notable instances didn’t appear on the latest list, which tracks crimes from 2002 to 2005.

Nearly 80 percent of the 41 instances that Cypress-Ridge reported in the last three years were drug violations, Durham said. In 70 percent of the cases, a student reported the infraction either through CrimeStoppers or to an adult on campus, she said.

Among the remaining nine incidents was one case of arson and possession of illegal weapons, including knives and brass knuckles.

In a majority of the drug cases, students were caught with a few Xanex or Adderall pills, Durham said. Those medications are used to treat anxiety and attention deficit disorder, respectively, but some students abuse them without a prescription. Students who have a medical reason for taking those medications are supposed to leave them with the school nurse and those who don’t face disciplinary action, Durham said.

“The district questions whether No Child Left Behind had that in mind,” she said. “Someone who has one or two pills in their pocket is not like aggravated assault or carrying a weapon.”

To help address its drug problems, the 87,000-student district will start random testing of teenagers who compete in sports and academic events when school resumes this month. They’re also increasing surveillance at Cypress-Ridge and continuing other anti-drug initiatives, Durham said.

School administrators are infamous for grossly underreporting campus violence, he said. This national watch list, which Trump calls the “Scarlet Letter” of education, had many systematic flaws. Most states, for instance, set the required crime level so high that schools face virtually no threat of ever reaching the limit, he said.

“The reality is, in most cases, a situation like Columbine wouldn’t qualify a school to be on the list,” he said.
Parents certainly shouldn’t take this list - which also includes schools in La Joya, Laredo and Donna to be indicative of the most troubled campuses in the state, experts said.

Schools are expected to be honest on these reports, though there is little oversight. Still, administrators who don’t report all their infractions could face criminal action if the Texas Education Agency discovers the misreporting, spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said.

“It’s like any government document, the superintendent’s signing off on it and saying it’s accurate and true,” she said. “We depend on the schools to be accurate.”

---------->> my turn...

Wow! My kids all went to and graduated from Cypress Creek HS also in the Cy-Fair ISD and it was mentioned one time on a national list as one of the XX most "snobbist" schools and I'll vouch for that. It's a prime example of the kids driving better/newer cars than the teachers too. And if Jr. wraps his ride around a telephone pole on Friday night (and it doesn't kill his dumb ass), daddy just rushs out Saturday to get him something new so he can drive to school Monday with nary a care.

The article was right on about Cy-Fair keeping a lid on "things"....they HATE for word to get out that drugs are in the schools and all's not right with their world. And yet when my kiddies transferred into this district we learned right away that kids are guilty until proven innocent and once you're "labeled" you'll never be reclassified in their little narrow minds.

I wonder if they can blame the Cy-Ridge problems on the evacuee kids? The school itself is not very old and I'm frankly shocked at this whole enchilada.


Anonymous said...

Cy-Ridge has won its appeal with the TEA. The school is no longer listed as "persistently dangerous". Hooray.

TxGoodie said...

That's good news, thanks for the update!