Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 26, 2013

Unit 40 seeing less suspensions among teens

NICOLE DOMINIQUE
Effingham Daily News

---- — Disciplinary infractions are down among Effingham junior high and high school students as the two schools’ handbooks are being realigned to increase consistency.

“There is a lot of merit in making sure the junior high and high school handbooks are similar,” said Kurt Roberts, assistant principal at Effingham Junior High School (EJHS), at the Unit 40 Board of Education meeting on Monday. He continued by saying that it’s easier on the students as they transition to the high school.

Unit 40 Superintendent Mark Doan reported that Effingham High School suspensions have dwindled by 50 percent over last year, while EJHS suspensions are down by 66 percent, which he calls a “positive return.”

“I want to make sure this is understood,” he said. “That was an area that we chose to address as a board. We’re having some positive return on that, at least at the suspension level.”

EHS Assistant Principal Cody Lewis reported that disciplinary actions for the school year so far have numbered 800, which includes tardiness write-ups. Last year’s levels were about double.

Only in his first year as administrator, Roberts did not have numbers for EJHS available, but he said the most common infractions were tardies and “other” — those that didn’t have their own category.

“In my own mindset ... you work between that balance of keeping kids in school and keeping your school an environment for learning,” he said. “That’s the best place for them, that’s where they need to be.”

Administrators also noted that despite the prevalence of cellphones, usage isn’t a big issue among students, and when it is, it is because a student’s phone is ringing in his or her locker, not in the classroom.

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com.