Discipline a Problem in Rockford Schools

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From fighting to bringing weapons to school, discipline issues in the Rockford school system are a major problem.

School Board members were presented with the latest discipline report at Tuesday night's meeting. The numbers are alarming.

It's one of the biggest problems in the halls and in the classrooms: discipline.

Rockford School Board members learned Tuesday the harsh reality of how frequently it becomes an issue.

According to a new report, in just this first semester 75 students have been expelled; compare that to last year when the number of students expelled for the entire year was 49. The year before it was 44.

Bringing a weapon or drugs to school and group violence are the top reasons students are expelled, but there are more than 10,000 other incidents of a lesser offense reported this semester like disobedience, verbal abuse and tardiness.

"It's not a majority of the kids; it's a small portion of them creating these disturbances," says Linda Hernandez, Assistant Superintended of Student Support.

School Board member Alice Saudargas said at Tuesday night's board meeting that these numbers show the need for the alternative school, which will open at Wilson or Rista in a separate wing next year:

"And that's where this therapeutic stuff will come in; we want them to have anger management, peer mediation, anything that will change their behavior and get them back into their home school," explains Hernandez.

As far as expulsion numbers, Hernandez says she hopes student will see them and take note.

Hernandez also points out that the district has become tougher on students and more diligent in reporting these incidents, so that could be another reason these numbers are so high.