Disciplinary Incidents Decline In Township Schools From 2016-17 To 2017-18

Orvyl Wilson, the school district’s director of operations, talks about school disciplinary incidents at the Oct. 18 Board of Education meeting.

Overall discipline problems decreased in township schools between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, the Board of Education was told on Oct. 18.

The district saw “significant” declines in the number of students “written up” for violations and in the number of students suspended in that time period, Orvyl Wilson, the district’s director of school management, told the board.

The picture Wilson painted was not completely rosy, with upticks in the number of classroom disruptions in Franklin High School, and an increase in incidents on elementary school playgrounds.

At Franklin High School, the total number of office discipline referrals dropped from 2,018 in 2016-17 to 1,579 in 2017-18, he said.

The number of “cutting class” incidents rose from 489 in 16-17 to 644 in 17-18, according to data Wilson displayed.

Tardiness incidents also increased from 113 to 143 in that time period, according to the data.

But all other areas saw year-over-year decreases, according to the data.

For example, incidents of noncompliance and disrespect dropped from 328 to 147 in the time period, and incidents of physical aggression dropped from 110 to 64.

Speaking of the increase in FHS classroom incidents, Wilson said, “We were concerned about this uptick, but now we understand it and we’ve done some things to address the uptick in the classroom in particular.”

Those strategies include more teacher training in classroom management, and regular visits to classrooms by school administrators, he said.

At Franklin Middle and Sampson G. Smith Intermediate schools, the total number of office discipline referrals fell from 1,432 in 2016-17 to 908 in 2017-18, according to the data.

The number of bus disturbances in those schools increased from 191 to 223, while incidents in all other categories decreased, according to the data.

Wilson said the district is dealing with the bus disruption issue by rotating safety officers on the buses “as needed.”

He said that with the advent of two middle school campuses this year, congestion at both schools is lessened, which should result in further reductions of hallway disturbances, which dropped from 267 in 2016-17 to 118 in 2017-18.

At the elementary schools, the number of overall office discipline referrals dropped from 893 in the 2016-17 school year to 774 in 2017-18.

Incidents of noncompliance and disrespect increased from 112 to 162 in that time frame, and incidents of threats grew from zero to 27.

The number of bus incidents in the elementary schools dropped from 391 to 340, which Wilson said was the result of direct action by the district.

“One of the goals at the elementary levels for the past two years is to reduce the number of bus behaviors,” he said. “We’re starting to see that come to effect.”

He said that student peer leaders have been designated for the buses, safety officers have been put on rotation on them, and bus drivers have received additional training.

Incidents on playgrounds did increase, from 33 to 70.

Wilson said additional safety officers at the schools will supervise playgrounds and cafeterias.

Suspensions were also significantly reduced from 2016-17 to 2017-18, especially at the high school and Franklin Middle School, Wilson said.

That’s because those two schools were able to use a “Saturday Academy” to divert some students.

“One of the things that the high school and middle school were able to use was a Saturday academy, which was an option to suspension,” he said. “Students with minor offenses, rather than being assigned a suspension, they were given the option of Saturday academy. Sampson did not have that option.”

Wilson said that now that SGS and FMS are two campuses of the middle school, SGS has the option of Saturday Academy.

Overall, 7 percent of district students were issued at least one out-of-school suspension in 2016-17, compared to 5 percent in 2017-18, the data show.

Just about 5 percent of all district students received at least one in-school suspension in the 2017-18 school year, according to the data.


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