Silence is golden at T.T. Knight Middle School - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Silence is golden at T.T. Knight Middle School

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Simply talking in the hall can land students at one school in detention.  The principal says it's a move to keep kids out of trouble, but one parent says it's not working.

Many of us remember the olden days at school -- the bell rings, a mob hits the halls, and then there was five minutes to see friends, get gossip, and get to your next class.  At T.T. Knight Middle School, those days are gone.

"I think it's unfair," says student D.J. Herm.

Silence is the rule there, because, as Principal Faith Stroud puts it, "I am a principal that uses data."  She installed hallway cameras in October and found that sometimes bullying and fights start there between classes.

In January she cracked down:  "We have a structured protocol in place.  When it's time to dismiss the students, line up single-file one behind another, and the teacher actually escorts them from class to class."

Some kids are passing by while others are still in class.  If they talk they can get detention.  D.J. Herm says, "When I got detention I think seven or six other kids got it as well." He received three detentions in two weeks.

D.J.'s father Don Herm says, "When you get a call from school, you're usually expecting the worst. Your kid's sick, or hurt, or they did something terribly bad.  But when you get a call and the teacher says he has detention because he said 'Hi' to a friend in the hallways, you're kind of like, you know, isn't there more important things they need to be looking at in the schools?"

Principal Stroud says this is part of a larger effort to turn things around at Knight.  The state labeled it a persistently low achieving school because of poor test scores.  "We've reduced the number of suspensions," the principal says.

But Don Herm says, "Not giving anything to the parents to let them know what was going on, I think it was drastic."

Herm took the fight to JCPS administrators, who would not change the policy.  Similar protocols are in place throughout the district.

So D.J. is returning to class and perhaps the real lesson for the day is consequences.  "I think we should at least be able to whisper," he says.

Now it's your turn -- tell us what you think.  Do you agree with Knight Middle School's decision to ban all talking in school hallways? Why or why not?

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