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School CP - June 2005
The Sun-Times, Heber Springs, Arkansas, 1 June 2005
Nepotism, personnel issues come up at Quitman meeting
By Jim Brown
QUITMAN - Personnel policy issues dominated a long school board meeting on Monday night of this week. While most of the issues had been settled before the meeting, there were some rather heated exchanges and disagreements.
Superintendent Robert Stewart related information he had received from the school board lawyer on needed changes to the policy handbook for Quitman, and was met with some disbelief by the large number of teachers present. At issue were some items the lawyer says should not be included in the handbook but should be included in a completely separate book of policy for the district. Teachers want all the policy to be contained in one book.
Both the teachers' version of the school policy handbook and the school board version, as advised by the school board lawyer, were presented and will be worked on in committee in the next few weeks. A final decision will be made at the June school board meeting.
In further business before the board First Team Bank was designated as the primary bank for Quitman school financial business, and it was decided to purchase a John Deere commercial lawn tractor from Norman Implement Company in Damascus. Corporal punishment was discussed and Quitman schools adopted the State School Board Association policy.
Florida Times Union, Jacksonville, Florida, 7 June 2005
Paddling students in Duval: Good discipline or a relic?
'Swats' have long been used here, but tonight's vote could end that
By Beth Kormanik and Tia Mitchell
Assistant principals at Eugene Butler Middle School do not spare the rod.
Nearly half of the 529 students at the school were paddled last year, more than any other Duval County public school. There were, on average, about four paddlings a day at Butler. No other school averaged more than one paddling a day, according to the school system's statistics.
Administrators at Butler, which has struggled with both
academics and student violence in recent years, said corporal
punishment teaches students how to behave.
SOMETIMES, PARENTS WANT IT
Many parents over the years have asked Principal Marilyn
Myrick to spank their child. Myrick used corporal punishment to
discipline students during her 20 years as an elementary school
principal in three Duval County schools, but she stopped the
practice when she moved to James Weldon Johnson Middle School two
years ago. She didn't want to use spanking with older children.
MANY SAY IT WORKS
Paddling works, according to the school's three assistant
principals, who administer the swats. The school's statistics
show that students tend to act up in the beginning of the year.
The assistant principals said students respond to the swats and
by the end of the year are behaving better.
POPULAR IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
Other Northeast Florida counties said they have no plans to
end corporal punishment.
ALTERNATIVES TO PADDLING
If corporal punishment is banned in Duval County, school principals will turn to other ways to discipline students. Below is a partial list of alternatives listed in the student Code of Conduct:
After School Detention: Assignment to a designated area on campus for a specific period of time at the end of the regular school day.
Behavioral Contracts: A contract between a teacher or administrator and a student and his or her parent/guardian agreeing to modify a student's behavior. The contract shall also contain consequences for breaking the agreement.
Cafeteria Suspension: Denial of the privilege of eating meals in the school cafeteria with other students and assignment to another area for a specified period of time
Class Suspension: Denial of the privilege of attending an individual class and assignment to another area in the school for the time that class meets.
Student Option for Success Program: An evening counseling program to assist middle and high school students who are experiencing disciplinary problems. Parent participation is required.
Work Assignments: Upkeep and maintenance tasks around the school.
Starkville Daily News, Mississippi, 8 June 2005
New discipline policy adopted for city schools
By Becky Wilkes
A new Starkville School District discipline policy was approved at the June 7 meeting of the school board.
President Bill Weeks and members Tommy Cobb, Walter Taylor, and Eddie Myles all voted in favor of the policy; board member Anne Buffington was absent from the meeting.
The policy was approved section by section, with the only dissenting vote being on the section addressing corporal punishment. Board member Tommy Cobb had earlier expressed a desire to maintain the previous policy on corporal punishment.
According to the new Student Conduct Policy, all employees will be provided with an explanation of their role in maintaining order, discipline and an appropriate educational environment. Training will be provided for them. Many of the specifics of the policy come from state law.
The policy prohibits district employees from administering corporal punishment. Corporal punishment was allowed previously only with parental permission.
There are 16 general rules of student conduct designed to promote an atmosphere conducive to learning. The rules range from which side of the hall students should walk on to sexual harassment, possession of controlled substances and weapons. Six of the rules deal with controlled substances or weapons.
The Press-Herald, Minden, Louisiana, 14 June 2005
Board approves specifications for spanking
By Kristi Richie
Corporal punishment was a hot topic at Monday’s meeting of the Webster Parish School Board.
Kevin Washington, supervisor of child welfare and attendance, addressed the board concerning changes in the policy on spanking at school.
L'Observateur, LaPlace, Louisiana, 14 June 2005
New Wine opens school for behavior problem kids
By Jessica Daigle
LAPLACE -- A school designed for students with behavioral problems that carries a faith and discipline-based academic message will continue for the 2005-2006 school year, after completing a pilot program.
"We will wait to see the need (before we grow)", Bernard said, "and we will weigh things out."
Wise said he takes no issues with the idea of the school, but did stress concerns of it being non-accredited.
Copyright © 2005 L'Observateur.
Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, 16 June 2005
Paddle ban cost could hit city hard
$5.6 million surprises some on school board
By Ruma Banerji Kumar
Replacing the paddle could be costly for Memphis city schools.
Two years of training, conferences and a massive expansion of the in-school suspension program could set the cash-strapped district back $5.6 million, according to information released to the Memphis school board this week.
The training is part of the Blue Ribbon Plan -- Memphis Supt. Carol Johnson's overhaul of the district's discipline programs. The plan, which advocates more personal intervention and counseling to improve behavior and make schools safer, was born just weeks after the school board voted to ban the paddle last year.
But the cost has surprised some school board members who didn't expect the total to hit seven figures.
When school board member Patrice Robinson looked over the numbers at a meeting Monday night, she said, "I had to take a deep breath."
School board president Wanda Halbert, who voted last November to keep paddling students, had more pointed criticism:
"How much money does it take to effectively, efficiently implement corporal punishment? Zero. Now I'm paying $5 million to replace it."
The board plans to discuss its concerns with the superintendent in coming weeks.
A big chunk of the $5.6 million -- $4.3 million -- will be spent on salaries for 170 in-school suspension (ISS) teachers. Most schools don't have ISS programs, and those that do often treat them like babysitting programs with little accountability and little attention to helping students with chronic behavior problems. The superintendent and her staff are trying to change that.
Deputy Supt. Bernadeia Johnson said the ISS program overhaul and the behavior and classroom management training and conferences are necessary to help the district outgrow a damaging era of paddling. Board member Deni Hirsh agreed.
"The cost is small when you consider the ramifications of what corporal punishment did to students," Hirsh said, "and how positive (Blue Ribbon) can be for children who will, some maybe for the first time, get positive reinforcement."
The Blue Ribbon Plan rallies teachers and principals around a singular goal to make schools safer, Johnson says, something the school board has endorsed as one of its top priorities.
"You want to create this compelling reason for people to change," she said. "You want to create this synergy around it."
But there are parts of the plan that board members worry are too indulgent, like the amount spent on a 5-day training conference that started last week.
Stipends paid to teachers attending the conference, speaker fees and manuals added up to more than $555,000.
On top of that, $30,000 is being spent this year to market the program and another $150,000 is being spent printing a new student conduct guide that will incorporate the district's new Blue Ribbon principles.
While the cost of some of the programs ($887,578) will come from an already approved 2004-05 budget, the remaining $4.7 million will come from a 2005-06 budget that board members are struggling to get the County Commission to fully fund.
"I don't know whether we have the money in the '05-06 budget for this," said school board member Tomeka Hart. "And I need to know how this will relate back to improving student achievement."
Deputy Johnson said the district is working to garner school safety funds under the federal No Child Left Behind law and other private or nonprofit grants to cover part of the tab.
Spare the rod, spoil the budget?
Here's a breakdown of the cost over two years for Memphis Supt. Carol Johnson's Blue Ribbon initiative -- a behavior plan she has pushed since the corporal punishment ban last year.
Training manuals on classroom management (5 per school): $18,700
Behavior intervention manuals for teachers (5 per school): $50,000
Summer Blue-Ribbon conference: $555,823
Special training called "Capturing Kids Hearts" for 7 schools: $79,000
Classroom management training: $4,055
Blue Ribbon Marketing and Campaign strategy: $30,000
Printing student conduct guide and hiring a professional writer ($3,000): $150,000
Adding 170 positions to have in-school suspension (ISS) programs in all middle and high schools: $4.3 million
Training for ISS workers: $48,250
Second Annual Blue Ribbon Conference: $300,000
Two mini-conferences for school discipline teams: $50,000
Printing materials and supplies: $30,000
Consultant fees and trainers: $410,000
Source: Deputy Superintendent's Office, Memphis city schools
Copyright 2005, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
Sequoyah County Times, Sallisaw, Oklahoma, 17 June 2005
Sallisaw School Hires Five New Teachers
By Monica Keen
The Sallisaw School Board hired five new teachers, one of whom will coach girl's high school fast-pitch softball, at their regular meeting Monday night.
The board approved the 2005-6 handbooks for Liberty, Eastside, and Tommie Spear Middle School. Wyrick said the punishment of corporal punishment was taken out of the handbooks. He said the board voted several years ago to do away with corporal punishment, but to keep the option in the handbooks as a threat.
"That threat doesn't work any more," Wyrick said.
The high school handbook will be on the agenda for approval in July. Wyrick said the start time for the high school will be 10 minutes later in order to help with lunch and breakfast periods.
Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat, Oklahoma, 21 June 2005
Pairs with BEST Center renovations
New to Muskogee Public Schools? You can enroll your child at a central
enrollment center in downtown Muskogee.
Copyright (c) Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat. All rights reserved.
Daily Town Talk, Alexandria, Louisiana, 28 June 2005
Rapides school paddling policy is streamlined
By Emily Peters
A proposed corporal punishment policy would let Rapides Parish principals
paddle students in the future, but the guidelines are simplified.
Copyright (c) Alexandria Daily Town Talk. All rights reserved.
Nevada County Picayune, Prescott, Arkansas, 29 June 2005
New group focuses on school district
By John Miller
A group of parents have gotten together to try and help improve Prescott’s schools.
The group Concerned About Prescott Schools (CAPS), met Tuesday, June 21, at the Prescott-Nevada County Library to discuss the results of a meeting of its handbook committee.
Eric Barbaree, chairman, said he had met with Prescott Superintendent Hyacinth Deon, telling her of the group’s plans and what the parents are concerned about.
Barbaree told the group he told her of the concern parents have about the school district and that they want to see the school improve. He also got information about parental involvement from Deon.
Penny Plunkett said overall the handbook is good, but the rules need to be enforced. "There does need to be some changes. If the handbook were enforced we would see big changes."
There was discussion about students being tardy for class. Wilson handed out information concerning discipline problems addressed this past school year. Students being tardy, he said, is the reason for most being sent to In School Suspension (ISS).
The district’s handbook committee addressed the tardy issue as well. It suggests corporal punishment or detention for the third tardy, with a letter being sent to the student’s parent/guardian explaining the next series of steps. The school’s committee proposes three days in ISS for six tardies, and Saturday schools for nine tardies.
One of the problems at PHS, he said, is how teachers define what tardy is. Some say a student is in class if they have broken the plane of the doorway as the tardy bell rings. Others consider students tardy if they aren’t in their desks when the bell rings. "We need uniformity."
The Brunswick News, Brunswick, Georgia, 30 June 2005
Student conduct under review
'Common sense' plan for discipline needs board OK
By BJ Corbitt
Glynn County schools could soon be taking a new approach to discipline, with less emphasis on zero tolerance and more leeway for school administrators to use their judgments in doling out punishments.Needwood Middle School Principal Ricky Rentz said the proposed changes, which would come as part of an overhaul of the system's student behavior code, are part of a common sense approach to discipline problems.
Rentz headed up a 28-person committee of teachers, administrators and parents that drafted a new student behavior code at the request of interim superintendent Delacy Sanford. The changes must still be approved by the Glynn County Board of Education, which discussed the proposal at a workshop meeting Tuesday.Rentz said current school system policy is "cut-and-dry" regarding punishment of student offenses, even relatively minor ones.
Students who are found with cell phones or cigarette lighters at school automatically receive out-of-school suspension under current regulations, Rentz said. No consideration is given to whether the items are being used or if the student has a previous record of disciplinary infractions.The proposed regulation change would lay out a variety of possible punishments or consequences for many violations, based on five levels of disciplinary action. School administrators like Rentz would be able to decide which response is most appropriate for each case.
"You don't have to burn them the first time, so to speak," Rentz said. "You can say, 'You messed up. There is going to be a consequence, but next time it's going to be more severe.'"As an example, tobacco use would be an initial Level 1 or Level 2 offense for middle school and high school students. Possible punishments would include after-school detention, writing a paper on the misbehavior or having a conference with a parent, teacher and principal.
Younger students would automatically receive Level 3 or Level 4 discipline for tobacco use. Possible punishments would include exclusion from special events, suspension or expulsion.The highest level of punishment, Level 5, would result in a student being placed in an alternative education program. It would be reserved for a very specific group of offenders: elementary school students who commit violent or illegal offenses. Older students would not be subject to Level 5 discipline.
No forms of corporal punishment are included in the proposed regulatory changes, and the school system's official policy allowing corporal punishment has been targeted for repeal at the board's July 12 meeting.
Policy committee members have agreed that any advantages offered by corporal punishment are outweighed by the potential for legal recourse its use offers. They also have said that while it is currently allowed, the practice is rarely used in local schools.
Board members have publicly supported the proposed discipline overhaul."I agree with (the changes)," board member Earl Perry said during a meeting of the policy committee last week. "This zero tolerance, it sounds good, but it doesn't work."
Rentz said that parents have been critical of the current behavior code regulations.
"A lot of parents felt like (it) was unfair where two people might do the same thing and one person, this might be their 10th offense and they get the same consequence that the other person will receive for their first or second offense."
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