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The number of student discipline incidents has dropped considerably over the last five years, which in turn means more students have been able to stay in school and continue learning.
“We’ve implemented several proactive measures to help our students learn appropriate behaviors, and to address inappropriate behavior when it happens,” said Mina Griffith, assistant superintendent for student services. She recently shared updated discipline statistics with the Board of Education.
As a result, Griffith said, updated discipline data show significant improvement since 2007 in the percent of students receiving discipline referrals of some kind at the elementary, middle and high school levels:
- 10 percent of all elementary school students received a discipline referral this past school year, down from 13 percent five years ago
- 15 percent of all middle school students received a discipline referral this past school year, down from 37 percent five years ago
- 41 percent of all high school students received a discipline referral this past school year, down from 45 percent five years ago
Equally impressive, the total number of students brought before the Board of Education for the most serious infractions, dropped from 174 five years ago, to only 48 this past school year – a 72 percent decrease.
Among the 48 discipline cases heard by the Board of Education, only 11 students were expelled this year, compared to 28 five years ago.
Instead, 36 students were placed in an alternative school setting, which keeps the student in a structured, academically-based school setting. And, even that number was down significantly from five years ago, when 112 students were placed in an alternative school setting.
“We know that simply suspending or expelling students does not necessarily fix the issue that caused the disciplinary problem. It only temporarily moves the child out of school,” Griffith said.
“Whenever possible and appropriate, we would rather keep students in school so that they continue to learn both academically and behaviorally, and get the support that they need,” she said.
Griffith credited several proactive initiatives and programs for the decline in disciplinary numbers, including the creation of Plainfield Academy, District 202’s alternative school for middle and high school students.
As well, District 202 has had great success with “Catalyst”, a three-day intensive in-school program specifically designed to get students back into their regular school environment as soon as possible, while offering them help and support. District 202 has also added a special program for students with emotional behavioral challenges.
Griffith added that initiatives to consolidate the district’s programs for students with emotional and behavioral needs and streamline its discipline referral procedures have also helped improve student discipline numbers.