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Janesville, WI: HUGE INCREASE in elem. school discipline problems; dean of students hired

Aug 25, 2018, Janesville (WI) Gazette: Our Views: Discipline problems confound educators … Teachers typically don’t like to do it, but incidents prompting a trip to the principal’s office are happening with astonishing frequency in the Janesville School District. In one school alone, Madison Elementary on the west side, there were 691 incident referrals in the 2017-18 school year. That’s about 1.5 incidents for each child attending the school and up from 191 incident referrals in 2014-15. And these incidents don’t include the random spitball shot at the classroom whiteboard. They involve harassment, bullying, fighting, theft or repeated violations of school rules. It leaves us wondering, how does teaching get done at Madison Elementary? To address disciplinary issues, the school district plans to hire a dean of students to be shared among Madison and Wilson schools. This is a pilot program, meaning the position is new for the elementary school level…. The Holy Grail within the education world is the system/strategy/program that minimizes discipline problems and maximizes academic achievement. Nowadays, educators are focused on so-called “adverse childhood experiences,” believing that if they can address the core reason for students misbehaving, they won’t misbehave. It’s a noble goal, and we hope the district succeeds in better identifying and helping those students with troubled home lives…. But we hope parents and educators alike keep this in mind: There’s no replacement for teachers who know how to run a classroom and demonstrate each day a contagious love for learning. If only this kind of teacher could be replicated across every classroom, a new dean of students probably wouldn’t be needed.

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