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Two Students Escorted from Middle School by Police

Two 8th grade students were removed from the Middle School today after an altercation during the lunch period.

Parents recieved the following notice regarding an incident at Sandy Run Middle School during the 8th grade lunch period:

Two female students engaged in threatening and disorderly behavior in the cafeteria.  When asked to leave the cafeteria, the students refused to comply and the Upper Dublin Police Department was called. All other students were moved to the outside recess area and the far end of the cafeteria, and at no time was anyone in danger.  The offending students were escorted from the cafeteria by Police and St. Mary's staff to be taken back to the St. Mary's facility. Appropriate discipline as well as resulting charges by the Police Department are pending. The incident is unfortunate as the District has increased efforts to put in place additional supports, and we again ask our parents for your patience and understanding. 

Patch has reached out to Upper Dublin Police for more information.

danny roturra May 04, 2012 at 12:01 AM
another social engineering experiment gone awry. this is unfortunate for all concerned, but we taxpayers are being taxed to underwrite st mary's villa and their quest. perhaps the church should front the money in search for misguided social justice. they thrust these kids into an environment that enhances their frustration and anxiety setting the stage for aggression. why not integrate them into the parochial schools?
UD student May 04, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Saint marys has nothing to do with your taxes! sorry
UpsetUDTaxpayer May 04, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Yet again, another disruption to the education process due to the actions of students from St. Mary's Villa.... but it's ok because, "All other students were moved to the outside recess area and the far end of the cafeteria, and at no time was anyone in danger". I'm sure that the kids that witnessed this most recent St. Mary's scene went right back to class afterwords and were fully engaged in their lessons and not distracted by the events. When is the district going to stop this? Does a UDSD student have to be physically injured before action is taken? Just how patient and understanding should we be? RE: UD student's comment: According to the email sent by Dr. Pladus (see: http://upperdublin.patch.com/articles/udsd-answers-parent-concerns-after-srms-fight), "Upper Dublin – is legally responsible for providing education services for the students who are placed, and then billing back the students’ home district for the cost of those services." Essentially, we need to FRONT the money, and then HOPE to reclaim the money from the student's home district. Assuming that we actually get the money, there are still costs associated with this actual process (administrative costs, legal fees, accounting fees, time value of money, etc). Saint Mary's has a lot to do with our taxes! Sorry.
GARY M KENDRA May 04, 2012 at 10:36 AM
my daughter has been out of SRMS
UDtaxpayer2 May 04, 2012 at 12:33 PM
The children are placed at St. Mary's by the state, not by the Archdiocese or any parishes hence why the "public school system" is required to work with them. St. Mary's is a non-profit with in the Archdiocese, has nothing to do with the Archdiocesan school system. Currently our property taxes do not pay for parochial school tuition, so if they (the state) can not afford the proper transition within the public school system costs, how would you expect they pay for the parochial schools tuition. I am confident in saying you should be arguing with the Philadelphia system that places these children and the both counties legislators for proper funding required to care for them or obvious other alternatives to help these troubled children. And perhaps know the difference between public schools funding & private schools funding & the Catholic charities in our area and how they get their funding.
Let's think about this May 04, 2012 at 01:23 PM
This issue DOES effect the taxpayers of Upper Dublin. Every time the staff of UDSD has to deal with a disruption caused by the Saint Mary students It takes resources away from our children which dilutes the level of service that we are paying for. Does the state reimburse the district for time spent reviewing and monitoring these kids? How about the time and cost the district is spending on multiple mailings to update the parents of what is going on? The cost of sending police on multiple occasions? Extra lunch aides? I'm sure our staff and administration are spending time in meetings to deal with the situation, time that could be spent on improving other areas of our district. While I do not want to be heartless ( I know these children need help) I do think the district has an obligation to the students who live here first. Obviously something is wrong with the current process that is moving these kids into OUR classrooms BEFORE they are ready. Either someone at Saint Mary's is rushing the process or Upper Dublin is blindly taking these kids with no review. Either way steps need to be taken by Saint Mary's and the district to ensure the kids are ready to mainstream.
UpsetUDTaxpayer May 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Thank you for the information on placement and funding structure. You and I are both in agreement that regardless of where the students are coming from, UD taxpayers should not shoulder the burden of payment for these troubled children. The fiscal aspect is one thing, but let's be honest, the fact that the kids that are being placed in our district are DISRUPTING EDUCATION is the reason why we even have an article to comment upon. I am really concerned that another incident will happen and a kid, teacher or administrator will get hurt. When is enough enough?
Azaz Leforte May 04, 2012 at 02:09 PM
In addition to school district taxes, St Mary's is a bad citizen WITHIN our community. Their noble mission does put stress on our other infrastructure. Look at the trickle down effect. Police are called when there is a disruption on St Mary's campus or in our school district. This is a cost to the residents - either a hard cost or a use of our capacity. St Mary's as a non profit pays nothing for this service. Crime increases locally as well. There was a recent article on a former St Mary's student who came back to break in. Again, police resources were used. This resulted in a police report... which yields a crime statistic. Insurance rates are set based upon local crime stats. Of course this may not be material, but the common thread is St Mary's. Nearby we also have Wordsworth Academy which I believe has a residential element as well. Over in Springfield there is Carson Valley School. Are these schools similarly problematic? Are the cases taken by St Mary's more difficult? Maybe this is a problem with how St Mary is run. Regardless, there IS a cost to Upper Dublin. Whether we are fronting the money, using police resources for their failure in management or vicariously through higher insurance rates due to increased crime stats. Even if St Mary's accounts for less than 1/2 of 1% of all crime in the township, this is a burden we can live without as it impacts quality of life. What sucks the most is there seems to be nothing that can be done!
Let's think about this May 04, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Dear Parents, As you may be aware, this morning for the second consecutive day, the Upper Dublin Police were called as the result of continued disruptive and threatening behavior involving four students from Saint Mary’s. The students involved in this morning’s disruption – as in the case yesterday – have been removed from school, and appropriate disciplinary action and placement is pending. This morning, Dr. Falconi, Mr. Evans (the District’s Director of Pupil Services) and I met at Sandy Run to further review the situation and to discuss what other steps can be taken in the hope of avoiding any further incidents. To help better inform parents of the background and to provide an opportunity for further update and parent input, a special Parents Meeting has been scheduled for 6:00pm this Tuesday, May 8 in the auditorium at Sandy Run. As the Superintendent of Schools, I truly regret these latest incidents. All of our students – including those from Saint Mary’s who do follow school rules and are taking advantage of the opportunity they have been given – deserve much better. Sincerely, Michael Pladus Superintendent of Schools
Mary May 05, 2012 at 12:16 PM
St Mary's is run by the The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, not by the the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Are you suggesting that Catholic school tuitions should increase for parents who pay both taxes and tuition so these students can be sent to Catholic schools instead of public? The "social engineering program" is put in place in an attempt to give these kids a chance in life. They were born into terrible circumstances at no choosing of their own. There are a lot of people who work hard to help these kids. Your comment just seems pretty cold. "Somebody" should help them, but not in my backyard, right?
justme May 05, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Being patient and understanding can only go so far....we, the parents have been very patient and understanding for the last month...but the fact is .....we cannot be patient and understanding any longer. Two periods were taken away yesterday after a horrific morning where kids were scared. This is disruption and of course a threat for safety. I cannot sit by and wait any longer....the incidents are escalating as I heard it was headlocks in yesterdays incident and our school is not equipped to deal with these types of incidents. What is next? we do not have any metal detectors, what if a kid brings in a weapon...it could happen tomorrow.....I applaud Dr. Falconi and the teachers for trying to do what they know how to do...but this is bigger than anything then we have seen before. They do not deserve to have this disruption every day, nor do the students....so, sorry...no patience and understanding left from me.....address this issue and make it stop NOW!
Elaine May 05, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Who speaks for the children who go to Sandy Run? My niece is still in Sandy Run and is petrified now to go to school. Two dasys in a row, her school day was disrupted and she was denyed her education. Her quiz on Friday was cancelled. It was mentioned that "no lock down" occurred, I disagree. When you herd children away from their scheduled activities and disrupt their scheduled classes, what do you call that? I am ashamed to say that I supported UD schools. The administration is hiding behind their words and downplaying this. Many long term students are now involved and what do you expect them to do? School should be safe and when threatened, anyone will retailiate. Who wins when our children are afraid to attend their own school? I have no problem with anyone attending our schools, but not when they are dangerous. Perhaps our administrators would like to walk the halls and sit at the cafeteria with these students. How would they cope?
tex May 07, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I guess UDSD should just thumb its nose at state law, and refuse to take any St. Mary's Villa child? Better yet, why don't UD residents just storm St. Mary's Villa and run all these people out of town? Then no more tax dollars will be "wasted". Just let me know when and were the angry mob will meet.
Azaz Leforte May 07, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Tex, Different people are just expressing their respective views here. This has nothing to do with bucking state law...although I believe this is actualyl a federal thing. Regardless, the problem in my opinion has to do with how St Mary's is clearing these individuals for main stream public school education. If St Mary's mission is conflicting with the quality of life that we as a community want and rightfully pay for, they need to know that their behaviour is unacceptable. In an earlier article I thought I read that due to budget cuts St Mary's is sending a larger percentage of their population to the public schools. If this is the case...and my recollection is correct, it is St Mary's administration that is costing us peace of mind and presenting a burden. In the end, it is ashamed that the population from St Mary's that is striving to be better is lumped with the population who is taking advantage of less oversight in public schools. Perhaps St Mary's should send their own escorts to SRMS to ensure the safety of our students if the students must continue in the public school system.
UpsetUDTaxpayer May 07, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Tex, Come on now. No one said not to take any St. Mary's students. UDSD has for years with little to no incident. What we are saying is that St. Mary's and those associated with it's funding and placement have changed their practices and subsequently are creating an environment which is causing harm to other students. In my eyes, St. Mary's Villa is not without blame. According to their own website, "St. Mary’s Villa for Children and Families provides residential care to children and adolescents coming from a variety of environments, including a designated number of beds available for children and adolescents being discharged from psychiatric hospitals, but are not able to be reunified with their families or placed in a less restrictive level of care immediately." Since we have seen a rapid escalation of school violence due specifically to St. Mary's Students, logic dictates that St. Mary's is releasing students prematurely into a less restrictive environment, IE: Upper Dublin. Therefore a strong case could be made for "Willful Neglect" and St. Mary's culpability. (Willful Neglect: Conscious or intentional failure to perform a duty due to negligence).
justme May 08, 2012 at 01:04 PM
here is my question, if it is going to cost the district money to educate these kids, and if we have no options due to state or federal law, could we use that money and reinstate the program that St. Mary's no longer has which is the crux of the situation. Why can't Philadelphia reiburse St. Marys (or not, which seems to be a concern) and leave the burden on St. Mary's to reinstitute the program that was put in place for a reason. Any child who is deemed able to be in a less restrictive environmnet, after the three month evaluation, is, in my opinion more than welcome in the UDSD, as has always been the case. It s not about banning all St. Mary's kids, it never has been....the parents just want to feel that our kids are safe when they are in school, and based on what is occurring that is clearly not the case.
Dana May 08, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Meeting tonight ...Tuesday, May 8th @ 6PM in Caf @ SRMS!!!!....Let All our voices be heard!! :)
justme May 08, 2012 at 07:18 PM
meeting is in auditorium....checked with Dr. Falconi....please let people know of correct location .....
Joe Koenig May 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Leanne: How does a post like coleman's get on line. I thought you review all posts?? This is not Craigs List's rant & raves.
justme May 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Joe, had even flagged this comment along with some others from Ms. Coleman as inappropriate two days ago when they appeared and yet, they are still here.....they need to be removed, and I would like to know from the Patch as well, why they were put up in the first place and the inappropriate flags were ignored.
Keith Heffintrayer (Editor) May 12, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Joe - The comment was deleted for violating out terms of service agreement, which prohibits the use of profanity. In most cases, we do not screen the comments. Requiring editorial approval for each comment would disrupt the flow of discussion, as there would be no guarantee that we would be available to approve them at the moment of submission. Instead, we rely on our community of Patch users to police themselves. In the event that a comment violates our TOS, we are notified by either the flag button or via email, but once in a while a comment will fall through the cracks. This appears to be one of those times. For future reference, if you have flagged a post and it's still on the site, shoot me an email at keith.heffintrayer@patch.com and I'll look into it.

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