Brevard County school district leaders and parents are working together to try and address what some are calling “scary behavior” among students.
In a seven-hour meeting on Thursday, school leaders, teachers, parents and community members met to look at changing how the district handles discipline with students.
Much of the solution was reinforcing policies that were already on the books. Four items surfaced that were likely to be used as a foundation for any votes in the future were:
Enacting a zero-tolerance policy when students attack staff and mandating discipline.
Equalizing the treatment of incidents on buses and in classrooms, ensuring the consequences are the same for both.
Implementing a strict “no cellphone use” policy in the classroom.
Penalizing parents who board buses after being told to get off.
Critically, some of the biggest contributors to the decline in students’ behavior were the types of incidents that school leaders say are becoming more common in classrooms and on buses: physical attacks, bullying, fighting and intimidation.
Data from Florida’s School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting System shows Brevard officials submitted 2,274 incidents, ranging from arson to tobacco use, during the 2018-2019 school year. However, the number of reports declined to 1,603 during the 2019-2020 school year and 1,470 during the 2020-2021 semesters.
Nothing discussed Thursday was finalized, and changes are expected before any policy is formally rewritten or adjusted. Some of the key sticking points included how tough to be on students — some parents worried about widening the “school to prison pipeline” — and if any new policy would result in unfair treatment for Black and other minority kids and teens.
The Brevard County School Board’s next meeting is on Tuesday.