Eureka Springs School Board adopts 'In-school suspensions' before harsher steps are taken

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

EUREKA SPRINGS -- High school Principal David Childers told the school board at its meeting Thursday that the school will try "in-school suspension" (ISS) as an interim measure before kicking students out of school for infractions.

He said he had obtained a copy of Berryville's ISS rules and asked his teachers for their feedback, which has been positive.

He said ISS had been talked about for years, but trying to find a room and having to hire a supervisor put it on hold.

"It's another way we're going to try to work with kids to keep them in school," Childers told the board. "I didn't want to do this until I showed it to you."

Currently, discipline consists of lunch detention, Saturday school and out-of-school suspension, with each being determined by the severity of the infraction and the discretion of the principal.

With in-school suspension, students will go to a designated room at 7:55 a.m. and bring their books and supplies. They must actively work on their schoolwork or on other assignments by the ISS supervisor for the full day.

They will get two bathroom breaks, go to lunch earlier than the rest of the school and cannot talk to others.

In the ISS room, they cannot talk, move out of their seats, sit idly, sleep or attend in-school functions.

If they commit further infractions while in ISS, they will be assigned extra ISS days. After three ISS days, a fourth offense results in out-of-school suspension.

"We're also offering alternative computer education," said Superintendent Wayne Carr. "There are lots of ways to be successful."

He said there are a dozen students enrolled in online classes, called EPIC learning.

"It's a different setting, a smaller group."

On a 3-2 vote, with one abstention, the board approved hiring Morrison Architecture to draw up a contract for a study of whether to remodel the high school or build a new one.

They had a difficult decision, the board said, choosing between Morrison and Johnson/Troillett, as they knew both firms do good work and are local.

In other business, the board heard the principals' and Carr's reports. Carr said the schools will have to make up snow days: the last day of school will be June 1.

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