What to make of Southern High School's highest discipline rate? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

What to make of Southern High School's highest discipline rate?

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It has the highest discipline rate in the Department of Education - but does that rate indicate a disciplinary problem? Or simply an administration cracking down on student behavior?

Southern High School has a discipline rate of over 50% percent, with DOE deputy superintendent Chris Anderson saying, "There were roughly 850 events registered year to date for Southern High School that were adjudicated by a school administrator. Looking at that number in relation to their student population, which is roughly over 1,400 students, that gave us a rate of roughly 56%." The figure is 15% higher than the school with the next highest disciplinary rate - George Washington High School - which comes in at 41%.

"They have fewer students," noted Anderson. "It's not as cut-and-dry to try to understand what those numbers tell you, it could tell you different things, but on the reverse, the concern that Southern High School that you have kids doing whatever they want to do, the other way to look at this is you have a school administration who's actually taking action."  He said this is because the rate only takes into account events where disciplinary action is taken, and does not include incidents that go unreported, or incidents that are referred, but where no action is taken.

"So one way to look at it is the school is actually doing quite a bit to address issues of safety on the campus," he shared.

He said DOE needs to take a closer look at what those numbers mean, and if there is indeed a high rate of incidences involving student behavior at the Santa Rita school. Anderson said this is the second year the home of the dolphins has implemented the Positive Behavior Intervention Supports framework to help address student climate and student safety. One instrument is a school safety survey which touches on the perception of safety from students, teachers and staff.

"We may want to take a look at the results after the survey is done this year to compare that with again, the results that we just talked about. Because it could be just as simple as the administration is aggressive in taking action on referrals that come their way," he said.  

"We appreciate the concerns of students and their perception of how they think things are happening at Southern High School, and it's important that the administration as well as senior managers take those concerns seriously and try to address them."

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