Safety, discipline committee drafts discipline matrix

Moore County Board of Education’s Safety and Discipline Committee reviewed behavior management at its June 1 meeting.

Director for Student Support Services Tracy Metcalf presented her research findings for creating a new elementary discipline matrix.

“I used two elementary principals from each area,” Metcalf said about how she conducted team research. “The principals were excited about a common matrix but knew they needed committee approval for the same format for middle and high school but with different discipline measures.”

Metcalf led a discussion on how to document behavior management. Investigations use the disposition, a summary of behavior-related events, to determine management. They discussed including the disposition in the handbook.

The current Parent/Student Handbook and Code of Student Conduct may be viewed here.

The committee discussed looking at which offenses should be handled in the classroom and which should be handled by administration.

Automatic administrative handling of behaviors is fighting and assault.

Aggressive behaviors without physical contact are when a student bows up and invades another’s space. This is usually handled without administration.

“Investigation reports get difficult,” Metcalf said about determining why disagreements occurred.

Chair Philip Holmes said data shows an increase in administrative referrals.

“Principals say there are increased behavioral problems,” Holmes said.

“We are finding students lacking social skills,” Metcalf said about students who did not know how to handle conflict.

“We had verbal judo classes to learn how to de-escalate situations,” Holmes said about police force training.

“We do some of that by targeting social deficits. We conduct lessons on handling social conflict and congratulate kids when they do,” Metcalf said.

“Numbers show an increase in behavior problems. Is there a middle school orientation?” Holmes asked.

“The district is working on parent education to teach what is different in middle school,” Metcalf said about helping students progress from elementary school. “I argue that we need in-school suspension with elementary school and its fifth graders.”

The committee plans to create a team with teachers to learn how they have dealt with offenses to create a unified behavior and consequence matrix for all grade levels.

Students with individual learning plans and exceptional students do not follow the same behavior system.

Bus drivers now use discipline forms, and some buses have monitors. The bus has a code of conduct, and students can lose the privilege of bus transportation.

Truancy, skipping school, is worked through social services and includes skipping classes. Some educators want to add repeated tardiness to truancy.

The committee plans a pilot program for 2023-2024 to test the behavior matrix, first at Pinecrest High School, perhaps Highfalls Elementary, and a middle school.

After modifications based on the pilot program, the behavior matrix will be implemented in 2024-2025 for all Moore County schools.

Feature photo: Moore County Board of Education’s Safety and Discipline Committee reviewes behavior management at its June 1 meeting.

~Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers; BS Mass Communications and Journalism, MFA Creative Writing. Contact her at [email protected]

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