Behavior challenges occurring with Alcona students

LINCOLN — Alcona Community Schools administrators are looking into recent behavioral challenges occurring with students and trying to find a way to adequately address the issues.

The issue was discussed Monday during a school board meeting where Superintendent Dan O’Connor said there have been instances in both the high school and elementary school concerning student violence, in some cases against staff.

ACS, as well as other schools in the state, have had to change discipline of students after a Michigan law change that went into effect in August.

Under the Revised School Code Section 380.1310d school officials have to weigh certain factors before a student is suspended or expelled from a school, including a pupil’s age, discipline history “whether the pupil is a student with a disability, the seriousness of the violation or behavior committed by the pupil, whether the violation or behavior committed by the pupil threatened the safety of any pupil or staff member, whether restorative practices will be used to address the violation or behavior committed by the pupil and whether a lesser intervention would properly address the violation or behavior committed by the pupil,” as outlined in the law.

Districts must demonstrate that a school board weighed all the factors before a suspension is justified.

O’Connor said the district was set up with a new discipline plan at the start of the year, but it may have to be modified to adequately address the issues.

“We are starting to look at some staff and reassign and look at more options of trying to address some behavior issues,” he said. “And also make sure that safety and security is of the upmost importance.”

O’Connor said he may have a new behavioral model ready to be examined by the Nov. 27 meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the high school.

During discussion Trustee Steve Yokom asked O’Connor if there had been instances of violence in the last few weeks.

O’Connor confirmed there had been and said it is more than one student.

“It’s a variety of different children, that’s part of the challenge moving forward to develop a program that has some flexibility,” O’Connor said, “That is why we’re taking some care in building it. We are looking at options both in school and out of school.”

Yokom told O’Connor that he should not take any time in implementing a plan and added that his wife was a teacher in the district and has had to deal with some of the issues.

Several parents were in attendance to discuss the issues, including Craig Johnston who described an incident where a classroom had to be evacuated after a disruptive student made threats.

He said he did not want to see any students get hurt.

“We don’t want the young one who is doing that to hurt himself,” Johnston said. “It’s a pretty tough apple to take a bite out of but I just encourage the board to take whatever O’Connor is doing here and support it.”

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at jogden@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.