Discipline incidents increase this semester at Jefferson City Public Schools

Discipline incidents increase this...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Reported discipline incidents at Jefferson City Public Schools are up again this school year.

ABC 17 News reported earlier this year, JCPS is working to change student behavior after the number of incidents rose in previous years.

New numbers from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or DESE, show discipline incidents at JCPS rose from the 2014-15 school year to 2015-16. The incident rate more than doubled in two years.

So far this year, there have been about 120 more reported incidents this school year than this time last December, according to district officials.

But with a few changes this semester aimed to improve behavior, including stricter enforcement, school officials said they expected higher numbers this year.

"I think we do have some incidents that are going up, but I also think we're doing better at being more accurate with our data," JCPS Director of Secondary Education Tammy Ridgeway said.

ABC 17 News reported, JCPS formed a behavior task force this past summer to bring those numbers down.

One thing that sparked the task force was staff asking for a change in a survey by the superintendent.

"One of the primary responses that came back in his survey was staff saying we have got to take a serious look at our discipline policies and the things that we are addressing within our building and how they're being addressed," JCPS Director of Elementary Education Brian Shindorf said.

This school year, the district is focusing on keeping all schools consistent with which incidents are reported to the state.

"We've actually, just in the last two years, gotten tighter with different areas of our discipline--everything from disruption in the classroom to having stronger consequences for drug or alcohol in the schools," Ridgeway said.

"We are not proposing a change in our discipline procedures or policies," Shindorf said. "What we're proposing is that we enforce the ones that we have."

Superintendent Larry Linthacum talked to parents at each school earlier this semester about the district's behavior improvement efforts.

JCPS also added behavior intervention coaches this semester following a recommendation of the behavior task force.

The top three behavior issues in the district are disruptive conduct, disrespect to staff and buss incidents, according to Ridgeway and Shindorf.

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