Tucson Parents, Educators Want Stricter Punishment For Verbal Threats, Not Fighting
By Corinne Murdock |
Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) parents and educators say they’d rather have stricter punishments for students who issue verbal threats, not students who fight.
This preference was outlined in a recent survey conducted by TUSD. The district issued the survey to gather parental input on code of conduct revisions.
About 80 percent of parents expressed support for long-term suspensions (11-30 days), longer term suspensions (11-180 days), or expulsions (over 180 days) for students who issue verbal threats. That broke down to 53 percent for long-term suspension, and 27 percent for longer term suspension or expulsion.
However, only 20 percent of parents expressed support for stricter punishments in the case of physical altercations. That broke down to 13 percent for long-term suspension, and five percent for longer term suspension or expulsion.
Likewise, 78 percent of school staff expressed support for long-term suspensions, long-term suspensions, or expulsions for verbal threats. That broke down to 55 percent believing in long term suspension, with 23 percent believing in longer term suspension or expulsion.
Yet, 25 percent of staff said they would issue stricter punishments in the case of physical altercations. 20 percent would award long-term suspension, and only five percent would issue either a longer term suspension or expulsion.
Only 10 percent of parents believed that verbal threats warranted short-term suspension. Six percent of parents believed it warranted in-school suspension; seven percent of parents believed it warranted an in-school contract or plan.
Comparatively, 63 percent of parents believed that physical altercations warranted short-term suspension. 14 percent believed it warranted in-school suspension, and five percent believed it warranted an in-school contract or plan.
Survey respondents, identified as stakeholders, asserted that elementary, middle, and high schools should have separate codes of conduct. There were nearly 6,300 stakeholders: over 800 students, over 2,800 staff, and over 2,600 parents.
Of note, students reported that classes about drug use weren’t actually helping students who used drugs. Students also reported that there shouldn’t be a dress code in the new code of conduct, and if there were to be one, it shouldn’t be “gender-biased.”
According to the survey results, commonalities among student, staff, and parent stakeholders included the determinations that both fights and drug use should incur short-term suspensions, not lengthier suspensions or expulsions. The stakeholders added that students should have the option of an in-school- or out-of-school suspension, or a combination of the two.
The majority of stakeholders also concurred that dress codes should remain at a lower tier for code of conduct violations, and that students shouldn’t be suspended for truancy.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.