Region 8 school reviews discipline policy after fights

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

PEMISCOT CO, MO (KAIT) – Fed up with student fights including four in just two days, teachers and parents at South Pemiscot School District in Steele, Missouri are now fighting back!

"I think the fact that they happened so close together put people on edge a little bit more than usual," said Assistant High School Principal Sherry McMasters.

The classroom is supposed to be a place for learning and a place where students can feel safe.

"We are concerned with the children's safety and we want the students to feel safe when they're at school," said McMasters.

McMasters said the district tweaks their policy every year and had already decided changes needed to be made.  Fights last week have moved up when those changes will happen.  There are over 300 students at South Pemiscot High School.  Teachers are trained to watch out for the students not only in the classroom, but in between classes.

"We require teachers to be out in the hallway between classes to monitor the students," said McMasters.

She said they may go months without any discipline problems but now they want to focus on preventing fights and other types of school violence all together.

"I can't say that we've had anymore fights this year than we've had in the past," said McMasters.

McMasters said with social tools like Facebook and Twitter kids can spread rumors and start on-line fights that can spread to the school.  On Monday administrators met with teachers to discuss the need for the changes.

"We are in the process of making some changes and we're going to try to do that quicker than what we planned," said McMasters.

Thursday night a public meeting was held to include parents in the discussion and find out what their concerns are.  One idea thrown out is to make the punishment for fighting more severe.  Currently students get three days of in-school suspension for the first offense and five days in ISS on the second offense.

"That is a punishment for committing that act we want to be proactive so that they don't get to that point," said McMasters.

They hope to have the new policy in place in the next couple of weeks.

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