Discipline problems skyrocket with new CCSD discipline policy

Discipline problems skyrocket with new CCSD discipline policy
May 31 18:14 2017 Print This Article

In August 2016, the Charleston County School District (CCSD) introduced the Progressive Disciple Plan for middle and high schools. This plan contains 3 levels of disciplinary violations with varying consequences. Here are just a few of the examples of violations for each level:

Level 1 – Disorderly Conduct
• obscene gesture
• cutting class
• disrespect
• computer violation –non-criminal (visiting inappropriate website)
Level 2 – Disruptive Conduct
• alcohol
• cutting school
• fighting
• drug usage
Level 3 – Criminal Conduct
• arson
• assault, aggravated
• bullying
• disturbing school
• homicide

The consequences for these violations range from warnings, temporary removal from class, conditional suspension (the parent must meet with a school administrator in order for a student to be readmitted to school), In-School Suspension (ISS), referral to law enforcement, and Out-of-School Suspension (OSS). Read the CCSD discipline policy here: https://www.ccsdschools.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_2973281/File/CCSD_Information_for_Fami/ParentResourceManual_StudentCodeOfConduct_MiddleHigh.pdf

One of the problems facing principals is that the funding for ISS proctors was eliminated at the beginning of the current school year. When this plan was approved, the teeth of the plan was to use ISS, and then funding for it was eliminated. One principal told Lowcountry Source that it was very detrimental to the school atmosphere to eliminate a program that was working. Administrators are now spending a lot of their time with repeat offenders.

At the May 22, 2017 Charleston County School Board meeting, veteran West Ashley High School Teacher Cheryl Green stated, “In August, schools were forced to implement the Progressive Discipline Plan that crippled schools by undermining control of discipline and denying our students a climate conducive to learning.” She went on to say that students who have committed level 3 offenses such as assault, and even death threats are quickly returned to the classroom.

Part of the motivation for the district to quickly return students to the classroom is financial, because federal funding is based on average daily attendance. This leads districts to reduce days of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. Teachers and students have told Lowcountry Source they don’t feel safe with the current school climate.

When a student is finally referred for expulsion, the student can wait months to receive a hearing. In the meantime, the student can continue to attend class and disrupt. This is not true of charter schools. Charter schools are public schools that are under the authority of an independent board of directors. If a student commits a serious discipline offense, a charter school board can convene the following day and conduct a hearing. The student may be removed immediately.