How a Few Bad Apples Ruin Everything is an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal describing the disproportionate effect “bad employees” can have on the workplace. Bob Sutton, the author of the article, elaborates on it at his own blog.

There has been one time in my teaching career where it reached the point where a student just had to be moved. There have been other times when I thought life for the class — and for me — would have been a lot better without a student, but it was manageable if I focused a great deal of my time and energy on that particular student. Unfortunately, that took away my attention from others.

John Thompson quotes another author calling this the “Leo Effect,” where one or more students can “bring down performance” in a class, and shares some thoughtful comments about that kind of challenge, including suggesting we develop high quality alternative schools.

Based on what I read about the Turnaround For Children program which, admittedly, is just what I read in this recent New York Times article, it sounds like they might use a somewhat related strategy. Instead of removing the challenging students, though, it sounds like they “confront the 5 percent of students who behave the worst” but keep them in the school.

Clearly, some students face so many challenges that they cannot function in a regular school situation. But when, and who, makes that call? How many chances are students given?

When, if ever, have you reached a point where a student “had to go?” Charters obviously have more options to remove students from their school than non-charters. How should non-charters handle this kind of situation? What criteria should be used? What are our moral, ethical and legal obligations?