Only 22 percent of the student body got in trouble during the recent school year, but Clinton City School officials would like to bring that number down.
Clinton City Schools released discipline data for the recent school year, which revealed the amount of incidents committed by students at each school. Terrace Miller, assistant superintendent, reported 649 incidents when students were assigned to either In-school Suspension (ISS) or Out-of-School Suspension (OSS). She said it’s rare for students assigned OSS unless they’ve been in ISS on several occasions.
“Our goal is to keep our students in school as much as possible,” Miller said. “Although our numbers may not look like it, the principals have tried really hard to keep our students in class. Obviously, they can’t learn when they’re sitting at home.”
There’s close to 2,500 students in the district. Only 5 percent of students had three or more incidents, according to data.
At L.C. Kerr School, there were a combined total of 124 ISS and OSS incidents committed by 46 students. Butler Avenue School had a total of 61 incidents from 33 students. At Sunset Avenue School, 137 students accounted for 242 occurrences.
During the report, Miller said some of the number of OSS incidents may have increased in certain situations due to mental health matters. In addition, the closing of New Dimensions affected the district by not taking in disruptive students.
“We have depended on New Dimensions to provide that service for us,” Miller said. “Now our principals are trying to come up with creative ways to keep them in our school buildings without being a disruption to other students.”
Miller also reported that Sampson Middle School had 276 discipline incidents from 160 students. The school decreased its ISS amount by 7 percent and the OSS by 13 percent. Data at Clinton High School decreased as well. Miller reported 255 students were responsible for 423 ISS incidents and 114 OSS occurrences. The ISS decreased by 29 percent, while OSS dropped by more than 50 percent.
Miller reported that Sampson Middle and CHS created alternative programs and structured day methods, which kept students in school, accounting for the decrease in the amounts. It’s something the principals plan to do next year.
“It’s important to keep the students in school although it’s a temporary learning environment,” said Dr. Steven Miller, principal of CHS.
While discussing alternative methods, Board member E.R. Mason was concerned about the amount of discipline incidents in the lower grade levels and questioned how school officials could tackle the issue.
“That looks bad,” Mason said. “I know that you’re doing all that you can do and you can’t have them there if they’re not going to obey, but we must come up with something.”
Miller said the numbers were alarming to school officials too. Another problem is that the number of teacher’s assistants (TAs) who assist continues to decrease. She said L.C. Kerr is working to develop an ISS program where students can go cool down and get themselves back together.
“It really is a stretch with their manpower when it comes to being able to provide their TAs in the classroom and for discipline,” she said.
Board Chairperson Jason Walters said it is up to board to utilize resources for discipline matters and mentioned that taking TAs away from a classroom may hurt a teacher because they are left in the classroom by themselves.
Superintendent Stuart Blount applauded the majority of students who did not receive discipline referrals.
“It’s important to look at where we need to improve, but we have 2,340 children that never went to ISS and were never suspended out of school,” Blount said. “That is a testament to what they bring to our school. It’s a testament to what our teachers do in the classroom and what their parents do at home. I applaud them and we will continue to work on the 649.”
Blount said he was passionate about the activities going on in the classroom and does not want everyone to forget about the children who come to school every day and are productive throughout the day.
“I thank them, I thank their parents and I thank our teachers in the classroom and those in our school who provide them with learning opportunities,” Blount said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.