New reports from the Texas Education Agency revealed trends in student discipline for school districts across the state, including Copperas Cove and Killeen.
The agency’s annual discipline summary reports use data submitted by the districts to track several areas, such as the number of reported incidents, expulsions, suspensions and removals to juvenile justice and alternative education programs.
Copperas Cove schools
The statistics from the 2011-2012 school year show the Copperas Cove district’s overall number of reported disciplinary incidents dropped from 4,716 in the 2010-2011 to 3,891.
The district also saw drops in specific areas of discipline tracked by the TEA’s reports. Those included halving the number of students expelled from 20 to 10, decreasing the number of in-school suspensions by 170, and lowering the number of students suspended out-of-school by 97.
Copperas Cove Superintendent Joseph Burns credited principals and campus staff with bringing down some of those numbers.
“It’s a team process that address those issues, and the credit really goes to those administrators, staff and teachers,” said Burns, who is new to the district this year. “Our staff are putting their best foot forward, and they are making that learning process exciting and fun, and it means less children are making poor choices.”
The same reports also showed the number of students placed in the district’s alternative disciplinary program dropped, from 59 in 2010-2011 to 33. In terms of specific disciplinary problems, the district saw fewer incidents of students with controlled substances, alcohol violations and truancy.
“Our staff really try to partner with parents, and work to find out what the root is for some of these issues,” Burns said. “We also try to provide a lot of organizations and activities for students, where they can have an adult in their life that they feel they can talk to.”
While many of the district’s stats declined, others, such as tobacco violations and fighting, increased.
Moving forward, Burns said the district will continue to work as a team with administrators, teachers, parents and students. He said the district will continue to educate students and staff about bullying.
“We did that last year, and I think that also helped bring down some of those incidents,” Burns said. “That will continue this school year.”
The Killeen Independent School District saw a rise in the overall number of disciplinary incidents, according to the agency’s data — from 30,597 in 2010-2011 to 32,476.
John Craft, the district’s deputy superintendent, said the increase could be the result of student enrollment growth. Enrollment data shows the district grew from 40,463 students in 2010-2011 to 41,172 last year, part of a long-term pattern of growth since the late 1990s.
“As we have an increase in student enrollment, it’s normal to have some increase in student discipline incidents,” he said. “Looking at the data, it’s almost a direct correlation.”
Despite more overall incidents, the data showed drops in the number of assaults on district and non-district employees, tobacco violations and school-related gang violence.
Killeen ISD data also showed that out-of-school suspensions were down by 236, felony controlled substance violations were down from 10 to six and fighting decreased from 708 incidents to 602.
“I think we can attribute those decreases to our campus principals taking a proactive approach to enforcing the code of conduct, and working to have good relationships with our students,” Craft said.
He said the district will continue to work to fairly implement its disciplinary rules, and also stressed the importance of administrators and staff building positive relationships with students.
“When we can build positive relationships with students, that can take care of a lot of issues before they even start,” Craft said.