A recent report showing that discipline cases in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District declined from the previous year is clearly a positive sign. But – and there is a caveat – the fact that in the first month of school there were 47 incidents that resulted in the alteration of a student’s instructional setting indicates there is still much work to be done.
The story on today’s front page details the report, which shows that the most discipline cases, 31, occurred at Uvalde High School. Of that number, 26 were code-of-conduct violations, which could be anything from wearing shorts that are too short, allowing tattoos to show or bullying. Far more problematic at the high school were two incidents involving controlled substances, an unspecified felony and one aggravated robbery.
Also of concern were 10 incidents at Flores Elementary – eight code-of-conduct violations, one controlled substance issue and one assault on non-school staff. And while this is an elementary school, we have to remind ourselves that the misconduct of years gone by that might have involved the occasional playground scuffle or slinging food in the cafeteria has escalated.
The fact that discipline cases declined across the district, including at Flores, probably has many parts, not the least of which is the presence of the UCISD police force. The officers have become a familiar presence among students and no doubt serve to defuse some potential cases of misconduct.
This is particularly welcome in cases that involve aggression, such as bullying or hazing. Allowing any child to suffer at the hands of a fellow student is simply not acceptable. And that includes both physical and emotional bullying, which is now often perpetrated under the radar using social media.
The fact that UCISD has an app called Stop!t that can be utilized to report bullying is one more important tool in the fight for acceptable behavior.
By default the school district has an obligation to ensure the safety of all children while they are on a district campus. It is, however, incumbent on the parents of those students to teach them correct behavior and that there will be consequences for failure to follow the rules imposed by our schools and society.