Teachers See More Behavior Problems Speakers Suggest Discipline Policies

Article excerpt

As test scores in Duval County public schools continue to increase, so do the behavioral problems teachers face with students.

During the 1999-2000 school year, 30,832 students were sent to in-school suspension for being disobedient in class or violent to others -- an increase of 243 percent since the 1995-96 school year.

In the past, educators blamed these problems on others, but now schools need to play a larger role.

Schools could drastically reduce these numbers by developing schoolwide discipline policies and having teachers strictly enforce the rules, guest speakers told more than 50 Duval County principals, teachers and guidance counselors.

"I know it would be easy for us to want the trouble students out of the classroom, but they come back. And while the initial steps are difficult, we can help students, limit the disturbance and create environments for all students to learn," said Brenda Williams, a student behavioral management trainer for Broward County public schools.

Williams and two other speakers met with educators, parents, church leaders and others yesterday and Thursday through meetings organized by the Interchurch Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment.

Teachers from Arlington Heights, Biltmore, John E. Ford, Norwood, Rutledge Pearson and St. Clair Evans elementaries, as well as Ribault Middle and Raines High attended the meetings.

Those were the schools that responded to invitations from ICARE, a faith-based organization dedicated to improve the quality of life in Jacksonville.

When students act out they effectively halt learning.

If teachers are not trained on how to handle the outbursts they tend to send students to the principal's office, Williams said. …