Joe Buck's remarks on February 28, 2008, from Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools:
We are here today to show our full support for the Superintendent and his staff as they deal with the totally unacceptable acts of escalating violence that have occurred in our public school system. The Superintendent and his administrators are working hard to create an environment of teaching and learning so that students can succeed. I speak on behalf of the board to say-enough is enough. Violence against students and school personnel will not be tolerated at any level. ANY and I say again, ANY acts that relate to violence-bullying, drugs, weapons, gangs, and most especially, fighting, will be pursued at the highest level of sanction. For most of these offenses supporting the recommendation means expulsion! Expulsion means that no student will be allowed to stay in public schools and that includes our alternative schools, if they are performing any acts that keep teachers from teaching and other students from learning. Expulsion means that the young person who pursues violence will no longer have a place in the public school system-not now nor in the future.
Our teachers are working hard to help students learn and meet the standards that are dictated. Administrators and staff are working hard to provide an environment for learning. The vast majority of our students are in the classroom because they want to learn-they understand the value of what education means for the rest of their lives. We affirm our support for all of them. We as a board, united with the Superintendent and his staff, continue to strive for excellence and strive to give those students who want to learn the education that they need and deserve. Hear what I say- It is important to understand what we are saying-we will no longer assume a responsibility for those who do not want to learn-for those who only come to school because it is a place for causing upheaval and violence.
To the parents of our community-for those who struggle each day to be good parents and who discipline and teach their students the importance of good values and hard work, we pledge our support. To those parents who believe that they have no responsibility for their children and who leave it all up to the schools, we say that we will no longer assume that responsibility. If your children see violence, bullying, drugs, and gangs as the only answer for their lives, they have no place in the school system. You - as parents - gave them breath and you must assume full responsibility for their futures.
Lastly, to the members of the wider community-there are those who will say this is too little too late. I would call on you to join us, the superintendent, his staff, the principals and other administrators, the teachers, and most importantly, the students in demanding that the violence in our schools ends NOW. We need, no, we must have everyone's support as we do our jobs to make certain that students are provided the safe and secure environment to learn, to grow, and to become the citizens that our larger society and Savannah must have.
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