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Officials, parents discuss

discipline in schools

By BETH LAKEY

Staff Writer

School just dismissed for the summer, but Troy Elementary School is already preparing for next year.

Monday afternoon, teachers and parents met with principal Geoffrey Spann to discuss options for discipline.

Spann said he called the meeting in an effort to involve parents in discipline issues and creating a plan on how to handle students who are disciplinary problems.

"I think we heard some meaningful comments," Spann said after the meeting, which lasted more than an hour.

"They (parents) are the stakeholders," Spann said of his efforts to get input from those whose children attend TES.

Michelle Harris is the mother of five ­ three of whom attend TES ­ and was interested in the Monday meeting.

"You need to let them know, right from the start, this is the way it’s going to be," Harris said of dealing with discipline. "You need to let kids know you won’t tolerate that kind of behavior from the beginning."

If that is done, she believes, many problems can be eliminated.

She and other parents openly discussed their ideas and problems they see.

Some parents talked about students being treated differently and asked the methods of discipline be consistent.

Most teachers and parents, Spann said, realize most classrooms have at least one student who constantly disrupts the learning process.

"I’m not going to paddle a child 50 times a year," Spann said, adding the only recourse, now, is repeated suspensions.

Troy Elementary has in-school suspension, which is designed to keep school officials from having to send students home on suspension.

That and other problems are what Spann wants to attack with a schoolwide disciplinary plan.

One teacher pointed out everyone has to deal with distractions, but not to the point where teaching and learning is interrupted.

"We’re not trying to do anything to hurt your child, like taking an outgoing child and putting him in a box," Spann said.

The issue of communication was also discussed with Spann saying he believes parents are sometimes not as informed as they should be.

"If it’s a hit, I think you have a right to know about those kinds of things," Spann said of fights involving children at school.

His idea is to send letters home to parents if something happens involving their child.

"Communication is going to be an issue in our plan."

Spann said one problem is parents often don’t report incidents that happen to their children. Those incidents, in some cases, continue and the parents come in upset about the fact nothing has been done when school officials were unaware of any conflict.

Harris agreed that communications with parents is important.

"Communication is the key," Harris said. "Without it, you have a lost cause."

With that said, Harris voiced her displeasure over more parents not being at the meeting.

"How can you know if you’re not involved?" Harris questioned.