Union R-XI School District officials are concerned about the high number of discipline reports at its three elementary schools, particularly in the lower grade levels.
Board members and administrators reviewed the out-of-school (OSS) and on-campus (OCS) suspension reports at their meeting last Wednesday.
The board voted to accept the reports, but had questions for building level administrators, several of whom were attending a conference and not at the meeting. The suspensions will be discussed again at the next school board meeting Monday, June 24.
Two of the most frequent offenses at Central Elementary, which serves kindergarten through third grades, was physical abuse to staff and fighting, scuffling and pushing.
Four students in kindergarten, first and second grades received a combined total of 22 days OSS for seven separate incidents for physical abuse to staff, while seven students in first through third grades received a combined total of 203 days OCS for 10 incidents.
For fighting, scuffling and pushing, 10 students in kindergarten, second and third grades received a total of 49.5 days OSS for 20 incidents, while two students in the second grade received a combined total of six days OCS in two separate incidents for the same offense.
Other offenses included disrespectful speech, disruptive speech, harassment vandalism and insubordination.
Clark-Vitt, which includes fourth through sixth grades, reported only one day of OSS for one student in the sixth grade.
However, there was a combined total of 291 days OCS, mostly from six incidents of assault where four students in grades four and six received a combined total of 235 days OCS. There were two incidents of threat of bodily harm and four incidents of fighting, scuffling and pushing for which students received OCS.
Other offenses included obscene language/actions/material and lying or being deceitful to staff, and insubordination.
At Beaufort Elementary, which is a K-6 campus, there were no reports of OCS; however, 10 students received a total of 106 days OSS for 12 separate incidents.
Most of the days OSS assigned were at the fourth-grade level for horseplay/disruptive/physical behavior.
There were two incidents of assault at the fifth-grade level by two different students.
Other offenses at Beaufort include insubordination and one incident of threat of bodily harm by two first-graders.
Superintendent Steve Bryant said he is concerned about the high number of disciplinary incidents happening in the lower grades, but the district has implemented some character-building programs and is looking at several different models of positive behavior support programs.
One of those programs Bryant said the school has seen implemented in other districts and Union is considering is The Leader in Me.
According to the program website, The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer — it improves performance of all other programs.
Based on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Dr. Stephen Covey, The Leader in Me produces transformational results such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems, and increased engagement among teachers and parents and equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy.
The Leader in Me program was developed by an elementary principal, Muriel Summers, who was almost forced to shut down her school due to many discipline problems in her school. She surveyed parents and business leaders to see what they would like to see in their school and from those comments adapted the Seven Habits to the younger generation at her school.
In 2006 Summers’ school, A.B. Elementary, became the No. 1 magnet school in the country.
Bryant said he particularly likes this model, but that “it takes a total buy in” from teachers, administrators, students and staff in order to work.
“We realize we have concerns, but we are looking for ways to improve that,” he said. “Our OCS program instructors are incorporating more character education type assignments.”