I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Getting Better Numbers Part III: Coding Infractions Incorrectly
When a discipline infraction occurs in our schools, if it rises to the level that consequences must be administered, a certain code is assigned to the infraction.
This coding drives the discipline consequences.
Politicians in Tallahassee and in DC have over the last several years made bullying a high priority issue. It is for this reason that Florida DOE puts a school district's Safe Schools allocation (for Escambia County it is about $1Million dollars) on the line if a district does not accurately report and code bullying in the system.
I know that school administrators don't want to have bullying be an issue on their campuses--nobody wants that problem.
But when a teacher uses the word bullying in a written referral, and the corresponding coding is not utilized, I have an issue with this. This month there are instances of this and I am going to ask about this. In a particularly blatant instance--the classroom teacher writes the referral on a student she has witnessed bullying and harassing her students in her class. She uses the word "Bullying" two times in the referral.
"[he is] bullying another student.. XXXXXX Knows he is on thin ice. He tries to control his behavior but I do not tolerate bullying against another student who is trying to learn"
In this instance, the bullying was then coded to "disruption,minor, instigating trouble, refused to follow instruction" but no bullying listed.
Our board rule stipulates, in 7.18, as does the state law, that once the term bullying is used a specific set of steps must be taken to address the behavior, generating an incident report of the findings. Within ten days an investigation must be concluded and a report generated.
I have asked the superintendent today for a copy of that report as it relates to this student's infraction from 12-2-2014. I hope it was completed and the process was followed, because this infraction was not the one that led to this particular student's removal from school; that infraction happened later in April and was much worse, leading to his arrest on a Felony charge.
But why was this behavior not curtailed after all the earlier transgressions, the bullying, and other infractions this student committed? Why?
Having the greatest reporting system in the universe and a magical "Discipline Intervention Matrix" does nothing if they are not both properly utilized and aggressive, abusive, and violent behavior is not swiftly addressed.
School board rules have a specific set of steps that must be taken when bullying is alleged and I'm going to push and push on this until I know these steps are being followed.
Are these reports being completed as board rules dictate? I do not have complete confidence that this board rule is being followed.
I certainly hope it is not being done deliberately in order to get lower numbers.
If so, it is not right and it will jeopardize, potentially, not only student safety but also our safe schools allocation.