School discipline report reflects ‘get tough’ policy


   “It’s ugly,” was how Superintendent Blaine Dauzat described the discipline report for the school year so far.
   Dauzat told the School Board’s Education Committee he had pledged to improve discipline in the schools when he was appointed superintendent, and efforts have been made to do that.
   “I told you that this is one of those things that will get worse before it gets better,” Dauzat said. 
   He said schools have been cracking down on violations in an attempt to improve discipline. The result is an increase in disciplinary actions in several schools. However, he said schools are also doing more to encourage and reward positive behavior.
   As of Nov. 10, the school system had 5,547 students enrolled. There had been 1,355 students referred to the office for a total of 3,927 office referrals. 
   Dauzat pointed out that some students have been referred to the office multiple times. One school reported a student had been sent to the office 10 times so far this school year.
   There have been 136 students referred to the office for infractions on buses. There have been 1,487 students suspended and 59 expelled this school year.
   Bunkie Magnet High has the most expulsions with 23, followed closely by Avoyelles High with 19. Marksville High has had six expulsions and Marksville Elementary has had seven.
   Bunkie, Cottonport, Plaucheville and Riverside elementaries have had one expulsion each. LaSAS and Lafargue Elementary have had no expulsions.
   The numbers for Bunkie Magnet were particularly concerning, with 266 of its 552 students being sent to the office at least once, for a total of 1,193 referrals. It has had 345 suspensions -- probably involving many of those included in the referral list.
   “Well, at least Bunkie’s students are behaving on the bus,” Bunkie board member Van Kojis joked, noting no “bus referrals” for BMHS.
   Mike Lacombe, who represents the Cottonport area, retorted, “That’s because the kids riding the bus are from Cottonport.”