THE school district protects troubled students, often putting no responsibility on them or their parents for their actions, but teachers still have to teach them with little support and tons of demands.

A teacher was punched in the stomach, pressed charges, spent a Friday night at the police station, and the student only got a one-day suspension.

He is on learning support, so he's protected. After staff fought back, the student got three more suspension days.

When the student returned, he was sent to another fourth-grade class. He walked out several times, then called his ex-teacher's room and hung up three times. The next morning, 30 minutes before school began, that same student was pacing the hall outside his classroom. Shortly after that, he was found to have a razor on him, and again was escorted out by police. Teachers try to make their students feel safe in the classroom. Who makes teachers feel safe?

Another student's behavior changed drastically over time. The parent refused to come to school, and the behavior worsened. The student was suspended on a Friday for destruction of school property, with the intention of "forcing" his mother to appear when he was reinstated. He came to school the day he was suspended, said it was the teacher's responsibility to "teach" him, misbehaved, and no parent ever showed.

I teach in West Philadelphia, and these are my stories. I know there are countless others here in Philadelphia similar or worse than mine.

Why do students have all the rights and teachers have few to none? I realize I'm talking about an 11-year-old, but some at 11 aren't innocent.

These students misbehave like adults, so they should suffer the consequences.

They shouldn't be exempt from punishment because they have a learning problem or their parents condone inappropriate behavior. How is this fair, and how do teachers stop it?

Stephanie Somers

Pennsauken, N.J.