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Allowing disruptive students in extracurricular activities...
Old 09-15-2019, 03:22 PM
 
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I'm the assistant director and pianist for the musicals at my school. For the Elementary shows (3rd and 4th graders), we are not allowed to make cuts: every child gets in. So we end up with a cast of 75-100 kids, and there are 3 faculty members involved.

Every year, there are kids auditioning for the show who are horribly behaved in school. And, it goes without saying, that they are also horribly behaved during rehearsals. They are disrespectful, disruptive, defiant, and sometimes aggressive toward other children. Sometimes these are kids who are in special ed classes during the day, a 6:1:1 environment with lots of adult support. And now, they're in this environment that is overstimulating for them, and they can not behave. It's beyond their control.

But administration says that we cannot exclude them. Nor will they give us any extra support! The parents of these children are usually equally difficult, so it doesn't help to enlist their support.

Does anyone have similar experiences? Possible solutions? We are considering a code of conduct contract to be signed by the students and the parents, maybe resulting in a "three strikes and you're out" policy. But we're pretty sure that the administration will not allow it. It's so frustrating.


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We are in the same situation w/
Old 09-15-2019, 03:38 PM
 
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sports in elementary. All students are included. However 1 thing that worked for us was if a child was unruly at a game, they could be made to "sit out" that game or practice.
You have to find someone willing to sit with or deal with them to make it work. It is not easy though if the child flips out. It is frustrating.
If a student has to sit out, their parents can become unhappy and remove them from the program.
I wish you the best of luck in solving the problem.
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Good idea
Old 09-15-2019, 03:42 PM
 
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Is it possible to approach if from a safety issue with the administration? Another idea, after so many strikes parents have to come to the practices with the student?
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:53 PM
 
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Maybe this could work and maybe not but my son, who has several issues (mental illness and neuro-developmental issues), was always in the school plays. I was happy to sign a behavioral contract-along with everybody else.

In truth, he had less issue in play practice than anywhere else. He is very talented in singing and performing arts and it was the one time he could shine so there was less stress-less stress=better behavior. This was true even when he had the lead in a musical. But I am here to tell you that once he DID get in trouble for acting out (starting crying and arguing with the drama teacher who was in charge of it all after his friend got in trouble-boy was I irritated with him. He wasn't even in trouble, his friend was and he got so worked up over it he got a helping of the trouble for himself). We were given the official warning, and he was taken out of the running for the lead-those go only to people who can be responsible, and got stuck with a nonspeaking role. Well you can bet that that never happened again.

There has to be rules and consequences.

Also if these kids are hurting others, then get THEIR parents to complain about their kids right to safety. If these kids get to be included no matter there behavior then the P needs to hire a behavior aide for them. The parents of the behavior kids are correct-their kids do have a right to school sponsored extra curricular BUT (at least in my state) they are also entitled to support-including support personnel, to help make that inclusion possible.
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after school?
Old 09-15-2019, 04:32 PM
 
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Is this after school? Are you getting paid extra for this? If not, I would tell the principal I'm not a babysitter and cancel the show. And by the way, that is all the parents of these kids are looking for anyway: a babysitter. It seems no matter what you do, your admin isn't gonna back you up, your only solution is to grin and bear it or cancel.


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Old 09-15-2019, 04:33 PM
 
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Is this something that's a part of your regular job, or something you've taken on as an extra duty? If it's an extra duty thing, are you and the others who are running it willing to say that you won't be able to continue the musicals without a behavior contract and follow through in place? Of course, you'd have to be really willing to follow through with skipping this year if admin won't budge (and I'd bet they'll do it your way next year when they see the impact that has).
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Old 09-15-2019, 04:35 PM
 
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It is an extracurricular event. With 75-100 children and many behavior issues, I would get the three faculty members together, go to administration and say you will know longer be able to offer this extracurricular activity. That is definitely not enough support for children who behave like that. All three of you need to stand strong and either administration will agree you need support or you will have free time after school.
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:47 PM
 
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I know one way my district got out of it was to make parents come to performance and volunteer in other ways. I don't know the exact wording (I could ask coworkers), but it really cut out of the parents who were using it as basically babysitting/time away from their kids.
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:00 PM
 
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I agree with all of the responses above....TBH I would get the other teachers together and just refuse to do it. Having said that, I want to thank you for organizing this! My DD struggled in certain academic areas and middle school was tough. But she tried out for the musical and loved it! It was amazing and God bless the teacher who ran it.
If you're in a position where you have to go through with it along with the "don't cut anyone" position, I'd rework the schedule so that you don't have everyone there at the same time. Obviously, you're going to have the core group with big parts. They'll need to report most often to learn lines, songs, dances and blocking. Smaller speaking roles will meet less often. Nonspeaking roles less often still. Figure out which kids are where and only call those needed for a day or week...at most you'll have how many? Gotta be fewer than 75 to 100? Only pull the full cast together as the final part approaches.
Or as an alternative, do the code of conduct and three strikes thing with a twist: say that the student could still participate with the play as long as they have a parent or guardian attend practices with them. Then you're not kicking them out, their parents are opting not to come to rehearsals.
Keep us updated.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:48 AM
 
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That's ridiculous. I would resign my extra-curricular position rather than babysit disruptive students. I have a writing team, and if it were dictated to me that I had to keep everybody, including one or two known disruptors, I'd be gone. It's that simple. Granted, it's not a stipend...


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Old 09-16-2019, 04:00 PM
 
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The other staff members and I will be hashing out a contract for parents to sign and presenting it to the administration this week.

Just to answer questions........we do get paid, but it's a stipend and boils down to about $5 an hour lol. I do love it. The good far outweighs the bad.

The rehearsals are twice a week after school until 5:30, and then Saturdays 9-12.

We do as someone suggested.....we don't have the entire cast attend every rehearsal. But there are always those big numbers that require the whole cast to learn songs and dances, and that takes time.

I'll keep you posted on our progress!
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:38 PM
 
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Ruby, pm me your email address and I will send you a copy of my contract. I direct the whole school musical with students in grades K-5.
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Ruby, pm me your email address and I will send you a copy of my contract. I direct the whole school musical with students in grades K-5.
Thank you!
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