Education: Preparing to Wield the Rod

Reagan clashes with schools over the issue of discipline

Before Francis Nakano became principal of Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles in 1982, the school was a combat zone. Teachers walked in fear of assault, gangs roamed the litter-strewn hallways, students were arrested for drug dealing, and vandals had just burned the administration building to the ground. The tough new principal changed all that. He painted the school, put in an alarm system, provided enough lunch benches for students to eat sitting down and bought some trash cans. He made each teacher responsible for the behavior of 120 students, and gang...

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