The Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) Student Discipline Task Force came together to review the division’s student discipline data and identify recommendations on how to improve the way staff and administration handle poor student behavior.
This review found a number of trends, including the fact that the highest causes for referrals were chronic tardiness and cell phone violations. Additionally, it was found that even though African American males made up only 12 percent of the VBCPS student population, they were 30 percent of all school suspensions. Furthermore, students with special needs made up 20 percent of all suspensions.
Taking this into consideration, the task force identified five recommendations for the division: 1) hold divisionwide training on discipline disproportionality, including cultural awareness and how to reduce implicit bias; 2) increase the number of school psychologists; 3) mandate mediation as a first step in discipline (with the exception of the most serious offenses); 4) implement in all schools Positive Behavioral Inventions and Supports, an approach to student discipline that is focused on defining, teaching and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments; and 5) establish an Office of Opportunity and Achievement.
In the three years since the task force shared these recommendations, VBCPS has taken major strides in this work area and seen increases across the board in student achievement.