After a decade in classrooms, cheering on young people and believing in their progress, David Levine’s faith finally wilted. Three of his top students had walked into the front office at Big Picture High School reeking of marijuana at the precise moment that a donor stopped by with a $1,000 grant for new sound equipment.
Years ago, Levine might have recommended suspension for each young woman. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, went his general thinking, right in line with prevailing American beliefs.
But discipline at Big Picture in the Highline School District has changed. In the process, its teachers have, too.
Rule breaking is now treated as harm done to a relationship — in this case, that between Levine and his students — rather than a reason to mete out punishment.