UPDATE: East Grand Forks Teacher Returns To Work Tomorrow

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UPDATE

East Grand Forks teacher, Bryan Perkins just finished a meeting with administrators and will return to work tomorrow morning.

Perkins tells Valley News Live, "I have done nothing but my obligation, which is to use best practices in education."

We'll have more information later this afternoon and tonight on Valley News Live at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Long time East Grand Forks High School Teacher, Bryan Perkins has been put on paid administrative leave, while an investigation of potential wrong doing continues.

So far there has been no comment on the situation from superintendent David Pace. However, several students tell Valley News Live that it all stems from an e-mail sent by Perkins.

The students say Perkins allegedly said something to the effect that Somalian students are getting special treatment in schools.

A Facebook friend shared the email in question with Valley News Live. It can be seen attached to this story.

Stay with Valley News Live for updates on this developing story. The email, allegedly written by Perkins, is below.

So here comes a "rant" that has been building for sometime....

Without naming names, I will state that roughly 30% of my Somali students have VERY bad attendance. Nearly 100% of our Somali students struggle with the rigor of a regular education class. However, having done some research, I will agree with the district's effort to immerse these students. Most studies will tell you that ESL students benefit from a SEI/Structured English Immersion program. Said programs should be approximately 50% ESL building block and 50% regular education courses (give or take depending on reading level). Although dealing with the added classroom needs can be frustrating for teachers, it is best for the kids and therefore needs to be done. No argument, we are teachers. That not withstanding, the problem I am running into does not pertain to modifying/differentiating/or any other "currently hot" term. The problem I see is a lack of commitment in many student's attendance and a lack of accountability in those same students' appreciation for what is required of them.

I realize that it would be difficult and legally it may be VERY difficult, but is there some type of attendance requirement that we may impose on these kids? My thinking is that when kids have poor attendance, they suffer. When those same kids return to school (if they are literate) it is his or her responsibility to catch-up. However, with the ESL (mainly Somali) population, we must physically stop class to re-teach (explain slowly, very slowly , modify, differentiate, or in some cases ever type on a computer screen for them ) most of what they missed because they are not capable of reading and interpreting their assignments for themselves. And, in many cases this needs to be done immediately at the expense of the other 25 students in the room.

So, I am asking at what point of falling behind (attendance based issues) are these kids better off in an ESL room all day, versus 1/2 day immersion? And at what point, are the rights of our other students being taken advantage of...?

It seems that my ESL students of all nationalities are doing "OK" if their attendance is good.

Bryan J. Perkins
Social Studies Department
EGF Senior High School