Mont Pleasant

Fogle: Kids picking fights to get YouTube money

Forum explores causes, solutions

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
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Mont Pleasant

Vickie Salvo of Schenectady, tells about an assault against her daughter in a 2nd floor rest room at Mont Pleasant Middle School at addresses at an open forum with the Schenectady School District in partnership with the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission, in the McChesney Room at the Schenectady County Public Library Wednesday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Vickie Salvo of Schenectady, tells about an assault against her daughter in a 2nd floor rest room at Mont Pleasant Middle School at addresses at an open forum with the Schenectady School District in partnership with the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission, in the McChesney Room at the Schenectady County Public Library Wednesday.

— A fight club at Mont Pleasant Middle School wants to get money from YouTube for posting videos of fights, gang investigator LeRoy Fogle said at Wednesday’s forum on problems at the school.

Fogle, a panelist at the forum, was hired by the Schenectady City School District to look into gang connections relating to the many fights during and after school. He said he’s learned students are trying to get 1 million views on YouTube because they think they can get ad revenue from the site.

YouTube commonly invites posters to become “partners” if they get many views on a video. Partners allow YouTube to put ads in their videos, and then get paid a percentage of the ad revenue. YouTube’s rules prohibit videos of fights, but such videos are common on the site.

Fogle said his next step is to figure out who came up with the YouTube revenue idea.

“There’s a leader, and we’ve got to find it,” he said.

His comments came about halfway through Wednesday’s forum, in response to a parent who described a chilling attack.

Vickie Salvo said her daughter was dragged into a school bathroom during school hours by girls she thought were her friends. There, 11 students blocked the door and instructed her attacker on how best to beat her up while they recorded it on a smartphone, she said.

“They were saying, ‘Step on her head.’ ‘Grab her hair again.’ She grabbed her by her hair and slammed her head on the floor,” Salvo said. “My daughter fought with all her might to get out of there. No adult came to rescue her.”

She asked Superintendent Laurence Spring where the hall monitors were during the attack. She also said that only the girl who attacked her daughter was punished, with “three days vacation.” The other 11 students were not punished, she said.

“Why?” she demanded.

Spring, one of the panelists at the forum, promised to look into it and call her today.

“It’s truly a horrible story. No one should have that experience,” he said.

Mental health counselor Robyn King, another panelist at the forum, said the other 11 students should have been punished.

“Anyone who witnesses an event like this, not to mention encourages it, is equally culpable,” she said.

Spring said many students have been suspended as school officials try to control the school. But, he said, often students see suspension as a “vacation.”

He asked for help.

“We need more staff,” he said, adding he particularly needs more assistant principals who can patrol the hallways and follow up quickly on disciplinary issues. He also needs more psychologists. It comes down to money, he said.

Every day, his psychologists “triage” students, handling only those who are in crisis because they simply don’t have enough time to help everyone, he said.

“There is more [mental health] baggage coming into the school than we are equipped and armed to deal with,” he said.

He put some of the blame on the state for not giving the district the $62 million the state aid formula says the district needs to provide a sound, basic education for all its students.

“Being shorted $62 million means we’re making unacceptable sacrifices every day,” he said. “This is killing our community. We’re being starved.”

He also said school officials are meeting with students in groups of 25 or 30 to lay down the law about behavior and punishments. Officials are also using that time to tell students that they cannot play such games as “grab breast Tuesday” and “slap butt Friday,” he said.

Panelists also stressed the need for parents to enforce rules about behavior and provide structure for children.

“I think it comes back to the family,” panelist and city police Chief Brian Kilcullen said.

Spring said he wants to find a way to reach the families that don’t come to forums and other events, because they are the “most influential” people in their children’s lives.

“We need to engage our parents much more substantively than we have,” he said.

He also said every student needs an adult who will not let them fail, but will help them recover from mistakes and ensure they become a successful adult.

“We’ve got lots of kids who do not have an adult like that,” Spring said.

But some parents took exception to that, saying they were doing all they could for their kids. One woman told Spring that since there will always be some inept parents, he was responsible for filling the gap.

“That’s a tall order for us,” Spring said as she shouted at him.

Other parents said they wanted the district to provide more hall monitors and other measures to keep their children safe — even metal detectors.

“I’d rather have my children in a safe fortress than preyed upon by juvenile delinquents,” said parent Debbie Roberts.

Several parents said their children, who attend Mont Pleasant, were afraid to go to school.

But Spring said he couldn’t afford to do everything.

“It’s not as though we’re not funding safety,” he said. “Some of it we don’t have the money for.”

Later, he added that he was regularly forced to choose between money for education, money for safety and increasing taxes. But he said the issue was more complicated than simply hiring staff.

“These are very complex problems. They’re not going to be simple solutions,” he said.

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November 14, 2013
7:58 a.m.
Ahmjrcpa1 says...

Charge the offenders with "child molestation" and have them live with the general population at the city/county jail - they will find out what a school "vacation" really is

November 14, 2013
10:01 a.m.
wmarincic says...

I looked at the NYS Schenectady City School district pay chart. 148 teachers and administrators collect paychecks that exceed 100K per year and 254 collect over 90K per year. Lets talk about those underpaid overworked teachers with summers and holidays off, I'm in the wrong business.

November 14, 2013
10:55 a.m.
irene58 says...

Assistant principals to monitor the halls - hire some retired law enforcement personnel, better yet, hire some displaced workers from Tryon, and let them handle the offenders.

Time to try something different.....

November 14, 2013
11:10 a.m.
d2delaney says...

wmarincic, Perhaps your disdain for teachers goes back a little farther than you let on. Had you paid attention while you were in school, you would know how to interpret a data chart. The numbers you cite are completely inaccurate. The final column on the chart that you linked gives the dates of service. Look for salaries for 2012-2013 only, and correct your numbers. Feel free to resubmit your work once it is complete!

November 14, 2013
12:24 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

Isn't this covered by the 'Son Of Sam' law?

It was a law enacted to prevent criminals from profiting from books, radio, TV, movies, interviews etc that related to their crime.

November 14, 2013
12:52 p.m.
wmarincic says...

d2delaney, wrong again. Take for instance the last person on page 1, Tonya Federico, it shows 118K plus for 2011-2012, if you type in her name it shows 123K plus for 2012-2013. Maybe you should check YOUR numbers. My numbers might are probably much higher.

November 14, 2013
2:22 p.m.
wmarincic says...

sp 'My numbers are probably higher.

November 14, 2013
3:39 p.m.
gazettereader says...

wmarincic... what people are saying is that 1) You miscounted. There are only 51 Scdy employees on the list for the last school year who make over 100K. Not 148 as you say. 2) You use the number to attack teachers, when there's not a single teacher on that list. If anything, you just proved that teachers need to make more!

November 14, 2013
3:54 p.m.
MEMA says...

Who cares how much the teachers make!!?? This is about kids who have absolutely no regard for other people. This is about learning and bullying. Instead of giving these little punks a "vacation" throw there butts in jail for a few days or make them do some community service picking up garbage on the streets. Might as well get them used to that as that's what most of them are going to do for the rest of their lives if their not taught respect for others!! The teachers are there to teach not control the fights. Parents need to step up. I'm sure most of us grew up fearing out parents if we ever got in trouble at school.

November 14, 2013
3:58 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Gazettereader, maybe you need to re-check, I did by typing in the name for those who show 2011-2012 and they all have increases in 2012-2013. There are mostly teachers on those 10 plus pages of names.

November 14, 2013
4:10 p.m.
MEMA says...

This is not about what teachers make. this is about kids getting beat up by other kids. Really wmarincic d2delaney and gazettreader. what's wrong with you?

November 14, 2013
4:49 p.m.
gazettereader says...

MEMA is right in that the article is about kids beating up kids, before the comments were hijacked by a warrantless and untrue attack on teachers. I guess while other commenters on the site can't be there to stick up for the kids, we can at least be there for the teachers, when they're attacked and slandered on here. Heck, the "teacher" named for making too much as a teacher, isn't even a teacher. *Shakes head*.

November 14, 2013
5:40 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Right the teacher named for being a teacher is also not supposed to be working according to you people. Maybe if the teachers made a little less money and the teachers unions charged a little less in dues we could actually hire security officers. You liberals are whining now but it is years of your crappy PC policies that are causing these problems today. The schools are being overtaken by this hip hop gang culture where the music glorifies violence and the disrespecting of women. Kids have more rights than the parents, God can't be mentioned in school but anal and oral sex as an alternative is fine. How do you like it?

November 14, 2013
9 p.m.
gazettereader says...

God is mentioned all the time in schools, it just can't be forced on kids. And sex, unlike god, is true and is actually something students need to learn about. Lack of sex education results in unplanned pregnancies (remember Bristol Palin?). Like they say, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias".

November 14, 2013
9:58 p.m.
wmarincic says...

wrong again gazettereader

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