Administration adresses suspension issue


Isaiah Freedman sports editor
Jason Harward staff writer
Compared to those of the 2015 fall semester, suspension rates in all grades have risen, some by more than double. The rise has been most significant in ninth and tenth grades, increasing from three to seven and two to seven, respectively.
The rise is significant, as administrative methods have changed between 2015 and 2016 in the hopes of reducing these behavioral issues. During the 2016 fall semester, the administration has moved toward counseling and intervention, as opposed to suspension, to combat behavioral issues. These new amendments, however, have not had the impact that administrators hoped for.
According to principal David Jackson, counseling and smaller punishments, such as essays or trash pickup, have been used instead of suspensions.
“When [students] do something wrong, they come up to the office, and instead of suspension, we’ll do an intervention. We may do trash pickup, Saturday school, we may do counseling, we may have them write an essay; there are all sorts of things we do,” Jackson said.
This means that suspension should be dropping. But, they are not.  House A assistant principal Luke Pavone believes the sheer volume of issues that cross his desk is uncharacteristic for a school of only 1,500 students.
“I was in a school [in Chicago] of almost 3,000 students and I did not have the number of disciplinary referrals that I have seen here,” Pavone said.   
Yet the disciplinary referrals that come across an assistant principal’s desk do not encompass all of the behavioral issues.
“I actually hope that [teacher discipline] is going on because I like when teachers are handling student issues on their own first, and then if it’s amped up or it’s repeat behavior then they send it to us,” Pavone said.
Although Pavone doesn’t notice anything different about this freshman class, multiple school sources have noticed increased confidence from the ninth graders.
A school source who wished to remain anonymous due to the nature of the situation believes that there is “an unprecedented rambunctiousness to this class.
Senior Owen Lloyd has also observed first hand the discrepancy in freshman behavior compared to years past.
“I have noticed that the audacity of freshman this year is pretty unreal,” Lloyd said. “Several freshmen have come up to me this year talking smack of some sort, which would never fly back in my day. Freshmen at our school seem to get worse every year. Standards are declining; we are going to get Noah’s Ark’d any day now.”
Algebra I teacher Joshua Glass has noticed the subtle change in freshman behavior, but he still does not want to thrust all of the freshmen into one stereotype.
“You do not want to paint all the kids with just one brush. There have definitely been more challenges this year [regarding freshman behavior] than I have had in the recent past, but I also have some great kids this year too,” Glass said.