Survey: Discipline cut into teaching time

LAFAYETTE (AP) — Some Lafayette Parish educators said they lost substantial teaching time last year because of disruptive students. They suggest that the district address infractions quickly and make sure there are enough staff members on campuses to handle behavior problems.

A total of 360 people, out of 1,980, responded to a survey from Lafayette Parish School Board member Greg Awbrey. The Lafayette Parish Retired Teachers Association, which compiled the results, presented them at Wednesday night’s board meeting.

Of the responses, most teachers said about 15 to 20 percent of their students were habitually disruptive and they lost 20 to 25 percent of teaching time each day because they were handling discipline problems. About 58 percent of respondents said they felt they lost control of their classrooms this past year because of district discipline policies.

Marcella Baudoin, president of the Lafayette Parish Retired Teachers Association, said most respondents were also critical of the district’s new initiatives to handle discipline. Most said they did not see improvements in student behavior after they attended N.P. Moss Preparatory School or when students worked with health and wellness teams.

The presentation generated an outburst from board member Kermit Bouillion, who questioned the validity of the survey because there were so few responses. Bouillion called the results “misinformation.”

But board member Tehmi Chassion said he thought the results represented the views of most teachers, even those who did not fill out the surveys.

“When I go to schools ... they tell me the exact same thing that I heard tonight,” Chassion said. “A lot of what was said tonight, a lot of it, is absolutely true. Let’s not pretend these things don’t exist here.”

The presentation came ahead of the board’s unanimous approval of a new Consequences to Behavior Guide. The guide distinguishes between minor and major infractions. For minor infractions, there are increasing consequences for each incident, and more authority is given to teachers and staff members to handle problems. Consequences for major infractions can include detention, suspension or placement at the N.P. Moss Preparatory School.

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