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Clarke County School District Releases 2017-2018 Student Discipline Results

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Please direct inquiries to:

Mary Walsh Wickwire, 706.546.7721, ext. 20703

wickwirem@clarke.k12.ga.us

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Clarke County School District Releases 2017-2018 Student Discipline Results

 

ATHENS, GA (August 3, 2018)  — The Clarke County School District officially released its 2017-2018 student discipline data results on Friday, August 3, 2018.

 

The data reveals that while black students make up just 49 percent of the student population, they account for 81.6 percent of students who received an out-of-school suspension. Black students represented 75.6 percent of discipline incidents requiring a due process discipline hearing at the district level. Middle and high school students referred to a district discipline hearing have generally violated the code of student conduct related to weapons, battery or other serious issues, and as a result may be recommended for reassignment to an alternative school.

 

The data also revealed that 18.9 percent of all black students in Clarke County are served through special education.

 

“This disproportionality is of grave concern to me,” said Dr. Demond Means, Superintendent. “It is clear that by any analysis of data, whether it’s academic or discipline related, our students are in crisis—specifically, our black students. The current state is unacceptable.”

 

Additionally, black students comprised 71.4 percent of all elementary-level students who were placed on an “administrative timeout,” a tool often used instead of out-of-school suspensions for younger students.

 

Disparities in student discipline reflect a complicated issue, according to Means, as the poor behavior of a few can not sacrifice the educational environment of all students. The district’s first responsibility is to maintain safe and orderly schools.

 

“We will continue to address behavior that disrupts the classroom environment or violates the district code of conduct,” Means said. “At the same time, we will address the elements of student discipline that are in our control as professional educators.”

 

Means specifically pointed out that more engaging and active classrooms can reduce student behavior concerns. Additionally, more proactive and deliberate adult supervision of common areas—including cafeterias, hallways and playgrounds—may be necessary to help reduce the disparities in student discipline.

 

“I firmly believe that if we approached instruction differently, all our students would be more engaged. When that happens, their inclination  to misbehave will be drastically curtailed,” Means said.

 

Over the past year, two major areas of focus for the Clarke County School District have been educational equity and social-emotional health. In a recently adopted policy, the district declares that the elimination of institutional and historical inequities starts with the staff members charged to serve students.

 

“The district will provide ongoing professional learning opportunities to support this endeavor,” Means said. “We will continue to ask educators to examine themselves and their practices to reverse the data trends of disproportionality in discipline. Educators will consistently be offered opportunities to develop a growth mindset about their ability to reach all students academically and social-emotionally.”

 

Means says that the social-emotional health of the school district also starts with staff.

 

“I believe that if students are taught and led by socially and emotionally grounded staff who embrace the unique opportunities afforded an educator working in an urban district like Clarke County, the impact will be that students also become more socially and emotionally grounded,” he said. “In short, the change we all want to see in our students starts with how we approach our work as educators.”

 

The Clarke County School District is committed to making instruction more active and rigorous in the upcoming school year. The district has invested in professional development for educators to ensure key strategies are implemented in the areas of culture, systems and leadership throughout all schools. The district has also hired a new Director of Social-Emotional Learning and Counseling to lead efforts in addressing social-emotional instruction in all 21 CCSD schools.

 

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2017-2018 Student Discipline Data