I hope you all have a great weekend!
As you know, Gary and I meet with Central Office Administration regularly. Many issues are resolved during these meetings, and some are ongoing discussions. While student matters are generally not considered labor issues, that has never stopped us from advocating for and contributing to potential solutions. (When you consider that students' learning conditions are our working conditions, that gives us an avenue to initiate discussions.)
In our recent meeting with Dr. Lohman, we (again) included discipline concerns on our agenda. He explained that he understands what we are experiencing as far as student behaviors and that he is committed to taking discipline very seriously, especially in incidents when a student involved in a fight results in a teacher getting pushed, hit, or injured. In addition, students who do not respond to a teacher's directives to "stop" in attempting to break up a fight, will receive a significant suspension. These have already been implemented. Of course, our students' classifications are always considered in these decisions as required by law, but there is a serious commitment on his part to address student behaviors. Also, an ISS room is being added at the MS. Badly needed! Another positive addition is that a third AP position is planned at the MS; both should assist in student discipline issues there. Dr. Lohman also shared that there have been significant increases in suspensions and alternative student placements as a result of student behavior since he started as Superintendent.
We discussed that restorative practice and disciplinary consequences are NOT mutually exclusive and can be applied in tandem to maximize the learning opportunity for students who have made bad decisions. There is no quick fix for most of these issues, and so many variables that are at play, but these are some concrete steps that should have a positive impact.
Of course, we are aware that there are discipline issues in all buildings. The MS, due to its unique structure, is dealing with particularly egregious behaviors and these steps should have a positive impact there.