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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Board approves new program

Monday, July 13, 2009

Students may be looking at a new way to spend their suspension days.

The Clay Community School Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a pilot program with the input of the Clay County Classroom Teachers' Association, which would result in a court-administered form of school suspension.

The program is a mimic of the GRASP (Generating Responsibility Through an

Alternative to Suspension Placement) program in Putnam County and would involve Northview High School, Clay City High School, Cumberland Academy, the Clay County Prosecutors Office, Clay Community Corrections and Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph D. Trout. The program is scheduled to be implemented at North Clay Middle School in the spring.

Assistant Supt. of Curriculum Kim Tucker, NHS Assistant Principal Lynn Romas and NHS Principal Tim Rayle presented the proposal to the board.

"It may need to be tweaked along the way," Tucker said. "It isn't an exact replica of the GRASP program, but it is a nice program that fits our county, our school system and our schools."

The goal of the program is to be a deterrent for suspension while still allowing students to get their homework done in a timely manner.

Members of Clay Community Corrections, administration from both high schools and North Clay visited Greencastle to observe the program.

Romas said when he suspends students, parents ask why, because the students look at it as a "vacation."

"This isn't a vacation," he said. "This is study time, directed study time, they receive help when studying and it is community service for our community."

One example is if a student were to get into a fight on a Monday, the parent would be called to pick up the child. At that time, the parent and student will be told to be in Judge Trout's courtroom at 8 a.m., Wednesday. The hearings are only scheduled to take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Judge Trout will visit with the parent and student and assign them to the program, and there is a $15 fee, which is handled through the courthouse. The parent is then in charge of taking their child to Cumberland Academy. An instructional assistant will be in place at Cumberland to help with homework and students will receive credit for completed homework. At noon, a representative of community corrections will pick up the students and take them to the work site determined by community corrections. There is a limit of 10 days that students can be in the program and students will be kept separate from adults. Students will be monitored at all times by a corrections employee.

"If a parent is instructed to appear before Judge Trout and they refuse, what happens," board member Terry Barr said at a recent school board meeting.

"I believe there is an Indiana code that says they will do this," Romas replied. "If they don't do that, then they can be held accountable."

Board member Dottie King also asked about the student getting into trouble Tuesday morning and not getting into see Judge Trout until Wednesday morning.

"What would happen to that missed day," she said.

"That would be one day where the student was in out-of-school suspension and they were at home," Romas said.

Though King agreed it is a great idea, she asked for caution so the discipline in the schools isn't turned over to law enforcement.

"We can make use of (law enforcement), but these are still our kids," she said.

Romas is hoping the program will be in place when school starts in August and plans to provide an update to the board after six months.

"Some of these things kids are doing is against the law," Romas said. "It is serious. To some of them, it is a vacation."

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Wonderful idea!

-- Posted by sassypants on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 9:13 AM

Great idea; we need for parents to be accountable for the actions of their kids who are habitual offenders. That 15$ dollar fee and the shame of an appearance in court should be a wake up call to parents and students alike whom in some cases have shown little respect for the educational process. I am concerned for the kids and parents who are engaged in their educations and the negative affect that habitual offenders have on the educational process for all. I bet if you studied the problems that occur in schools you would find out that 5-10% of the student population is causing 95% of the disruptive elements in our school. This program will make the parents take notice that their kids disruptive behavior is something that must be addressed.

-- Posted by Mrs. Positive on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 9:41 AM

Who should be responsible for a child? Isn't the answer apparent (a Parent)? By the time that a student is in middle school, they know what is and isn't allowed and what they are responsible for; yet some try to get away with as much as they can. School disciplinary actions, such as "in-school suspension", "after-school suspension", and the "reward " of the three day expulsion, are a case of "too little, too late". That was made apparent in October of 2007 when Dr. Allen stated to the board that suspension for chewing gum in class occurred after twenty occurrences. While some may view that as a minor infraction, such flagrant disregard of rules does not carry over into the real world. Imagine running twenty stop signs with a police officer behind you.........lol!

Some of these students DO NOT CARE. They refuse the education offered and, by their antics in the classroom, distract the teacher from teaching their classmates. Believe me, I know as I'm dealing with one of these students on a personal basis. I've had to carry books to class and sit in class in an effort to maintain order, but my effort had little effect the next day. Frankly, I don't think that anything will, but am willing to try anything.

I see Dottie King's statement, "We can make use of (law enforcement), but these are still our kids," in a slightly different light. These are our children, but in our schools they are not the parent's alone, they are all of society's. I agree that these are kids, but what my student does affects what your student is able to learn in the classroom; therefore, it is in the best interest of all if discipline is maintained. Forty years ago when I was going to school, any disciplinary action by the school would have merited a far greater punishment at home. In the case of my student, restrictions do not work, encouragements of proper behaviors do not work and professional counseling has no effect. Frankly, it does not appear that an old-fashioned trip to the woodshed that would probably land me in the jail would convince this student to act properly in school. If that appeared to be a solution, you would have already read my name in the police blotter because I care about this student's future.

I view this program with hope. Perhaps it will have the desired effect and allow our teachers to get back to teaching.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 10:47 AM

Mrs. Positive: I agree with you that a small percentage of students are causing the bulk of the disruptions. I have to disagree, both from personal experience and from observation, that anything that we can do will hold the parent's of many of the disruptive students accountable. Many people do not realize that the child, in many cases, are not with their parents, but with grandparents or other relatives who took control after the parent's lack of discipline allowed the child to get out of control to the point that the law allowed that to happen. By that time, the child had developed such a disregard for any control that it is almost impossible for anyone to instill respect for authority in them.

Frankly, I'm to the point that I would pay the $15 dollars to voluntarily enroll a certain someone in this program, but I'm not that student's parent. I know of several "class clowns" that I would also pay for and they are not related to me at all...........LOL!

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 11:05 AM

I sympathize with your situation Mr. Southworth and I hope your situation improves. You get at the heart of another problem in our society; parents for varied reasons have lost custody and care has fell on to grandparents to pick up the pieces. How doe "we" help your situation and what steps can we take to help your situation. (Juvenile boot camps, military type schools, work camps with intense therapy, larger alternative schools etc.) What would help your situation the most?

-- Posted by Mrs. Positive on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 8:52 PM

Hey this really could work. Many of the students

are repeat offenders, so maybe this will embarrass

them to the point to stay in school. I know that

miracles do happen. Good luck with the program.

-- Posted by busymomandstudent on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 10:45 PM

I think this is a great idea. I've always said when they suspend kids they play right into their hands as they don't want to be there anyway and it's like a vacation to them. Where's the punishment in that and what keeps it from occurring over and over again. This might actually work!

-- Posted by townisamazing on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 9:01 AM

Where is Cumberland Academy?

-- Posted by townisamazing on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 9:02 AM

I am not sure why it has taken this long to implement this type of procedure!!! I also think that wasting time on who to blame is creating more of a problem than encouraging a solution. I have heard several kids say that they get into trouble so they can go home and play video games or get into things that they shouldn't be doing. Too, I have heard parents on several occasions say they can no longer control their children. Just put something in our school system that will act as a deterrent. I also think that the principals need to be provided with a methodology for use of this program. Punishments need to be consistent and fit the infraction.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 9:57 AM

Mrs. Positive -- frankly, I do not know what my situation needs. The situation is under control in the home, but out of control at the school. Most of these young people will comply with rules, but only in the face of what they consider "draconian" disciplinary measures. Mine, at home, is to restrict the child to the home with no visitors and absolutely nothing electronic. With the prospect of having nothing to do except twiddle your thumbs or read a book, the child will comply.

However, the school does not have the same options. I can come to a full stop to enforce compliance within the home, the school cannot afford the manpower to assign an adult to every "problem" child until such time as the child decides that they have had enough of the disciplinary drill.

As I have said, many of these kids would comply in a boot camp or things like that but would revert as soon as they left. How do you convince someone that they must live within society when they just want to do what they want to do........LOL? Somehow, I get the feeling that this question is asked in every generation.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 10:34 AM

I do not know if you can embarrass some of these students into staying in school.

I agree that expelling some of these students is a reward instead of a punishment to them. However, if society denies them an education but ends up supporting them through the welfare system or through the prison system, isn't society actually hurting itself?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 10:44 AM

Cubbiefan -- I think that it has taken this long to implement a policy such as this because it is a viable "next-step" when it has been realized that what has been in place is not working.

I, too, have heard what kids and parents say. Personally, in dealing with a child that doesn't realize the future ramifications of actions in the present, I don't know if I'm gaining gray hairs or going bald from pulling out my hair.

Perhaps the combination of schoolwork in the morning and labor in the afternoon is the answer. At least the community recoups something and perhaps these children will learn some work ethic. I do not know.

I agree that discipline needs to be consistent and fit the infraction. I think that the corporation should have a standard policy as to what the consequences are on paper that principals adhere to and that the principals' responsibility should be reduced to determining the effects of mitigating or aggravating circumstances that influenced the infraction on the dispensation of the prescribed disciplinary action. As I said in an earlier post, I was shocked to learn that a student was expelled for chewing gum only after over twenty occurrences of being caught.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 11:08 AM

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