CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – School officials said that student behavior is improving in Chesterfield County Public Schools.
Data from the Virginia Discipline Crime and Violence Report was presented at a Sept. 13 School Board meeting.
According to that data, there has been a 71-percent decrease in the number of student incidents in the past two years.
The data indicated that there were 25,215 incidents during the 2013-14 school year, which dropped to 7,174 incidents during the 2015-16 school year.
Superintendent James Lane attributed the drastic decline to teachers and staff members who have provided strategies and interventions to enhance positive behaviors.
“This is an extraordinary effort that is helping keep more students in school,” Lane said. “And as we know, students who miss school tend to fall behind with their academics.”
The school division has expanded its work with the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program, providing additional strategies to help children solve potential conflicts.
In addition, the school division has expanded bully-prevention programs at the elementary school level and the restorative justice program at the secondary level.
In addition, the number of incidents referred to law enforcement has dropped substantially as well.
The total number of students referred to law enforcement during the 2015-16 school year was 366. That is down by more than 50 percent from the 2013-14 total of 775.
“In an era of conversation related to school-to-prison pipeline, Chesterfield County Public Schools continues to lead the way in partnering with the local police department to implement alternatives to arrest and removal from class,” School Board Chair Dianne H. Smith said. “As a Board, we are committed to continuing to focus on solutions like teaching core values, focusing on digital citizenship and other methods to affect student actions.”
The number of incidents involving weapons decreased by 31 percent between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. Assaults against students and staff members decreased as well.
“Children cannot learn if they do not feel safe; adults are not as effective if they do not feel safe either,” Lane said. “We will continue to work to enhance student learning through classrooms that are free from distraction and disruption.”