CYBERSPACE, 2004 (D.O.T.) - A public school suspended nearly all of its sixth-graders for class disruptions and a cafeteria ruckus this week, though many of the students were allowed to return after their parents met with school officials.
Sixteen of the 147 sixth-graders at F.D. Moon Academy were suspended for class disruptions, and 120 more students were suspended after they picked up cafeteria tables, slammed them to the floor and talked back to faculty, school officials said.
Principal Elaine Ford estimated teachers spend 85 percent of their time reprimanding students and said test scores won't improve until disciplinary problems are resolved. The school, a magnet program for mass media communications and technology, is listed by the state of Oklahoma as needing improvement because of low-test scores.
``I wish you could be a fly on the wall because some of the time you'd be shocked at what your child is doing,'' Ford told parents at a meeting.
About 125 of the suspended students were allowed to return to class, a city schools spokeswoman said. The suspended students will be required to do extra work at the school on weekends.
One parent, whose daughter was suspended, said after the meeting that she wasn't surprised by the students' behavior because some parents in the audience were yelling while school officials talked.
``If we parents don't get more involved, monitoring what our kids are doing both online and offline, I don't know who will,'' she said. ``We certainly can't expect teachers to act as cops and baby sitters. Responsible behavior starts at home, with family values built on good examples set by parents and guardians.''
``Our family is going to try to do better. I can only hope others will do the same.''
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