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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Bennie Higgins, December 28, 1990. Interview M-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Attendance is a challenge for a principal

Smith High School did not present discipline problems, Higgins recalls. Instead, the school's main challenge was attendance: the lure of making money often kept students out of school, he remembers.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Bennie Higgins, December 28, 1990. Interview M-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

GOLDIE F. WELLS:
Well, would you say that I know that your school did have a high minority population. Do you think that discipline was your major problem? Did you see it?
BENNIE HIGGINS:
I really did not see discipline as a big problem. You know, you read and hear so much about discipline being a problem in schools in America today. Our biggest problem really was attendance which fell in the area of discipline but as far as problems that were existant between students and students, and students and teachers, except for the routine kinds of things that you would expect in a large urban high school. But I didn't really feel that it was a major problem but I did feel that attendance was a major problem because students today because of some reason don't feel that they have to or ought to be in school every day. Many of them are looking for jobs and many of our kids at Smith had after school jobs and in some cases their employers would even call us and ask us to excuse them from school so they could work if someone were sick and they would want one of their part time workers to come in early and that just really upset me and of course the fact that students were easily influenced to do that because the prospect of making money for a 17 year old is much greater than the need for an education. At least they can't realize that until they are out of school.