New Punishment for Rockford Students

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Rockford school Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson says it's his number one priority; dealing with students who routinely break the rules, but come next year instead of detentions or suspensions, students who misbehave could be in for a more long-term punishment.

Dealing with disobedient students takes up about 75 percent of Janice Hawkins’ day.

She says, "Disobedience in following classroom instruction, argumentative behaviors with teachers, inattentiveness, distracting other students," says the Hawkins, the assistant principal of Guilford High School.

U.S. history teacher Walter Hoshaw has also taken note of the problem. He's had plenty of students disrupt his lessons.

"Every interruption of the educational process takes away from our ability to transmit information to students that they reproduce on standardized tests," says Hoshaw.

Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson says their needs to be tougher consequences for these kids who constantly break the rules. With the help of a discipline committee he formed several months ago, they're proposing a new alternate middle and high school for students with discipline issues.

"It's a much better alternate than we have right now; being that we continuously suspend them out of school, they're not learning and we lose money financially because students are not in school," says Thompson.

Thompson says the new school could open as early as next year. Here's how it would work: students would accrue points. Every time they're disciplined five points, perhaps every time they disrespect a teacher. Once they get to a certain number, maybe 75 points, they'd be recommended for the alternate school.

"It would be for a certain period of time and it would be a much more structured environment for students at the alternate school. There's also counseling intervention for them," says Thompson.

Thompson’s eyeing a building for the project right now that will hold around 200 middle and high school students. At least 10 new teachers will also be hired. It'll cost upwards of 500,000, but Thompson says it's a worthwhile investment.