Mid-South school districts cited for discipline issues

Mid-South school districts cited for discipline issues

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Several Mid-South school districts were cited and named in a State of Tennessee report for the way they discipline students with disabilities.

This report is not intended to punish, rather to course correct schools who are showing disproportionate discipline.

In total 25 Tennessee school districts were cited, and seven of those districts are here in the Mid-South.

The reason for that citation is for showing significant disproportionality in at least one of 14 areas that shows either over-representation or over-identification of students with disabilities based on race or ethnicity.

The Department of Education says the reason for the increase of schools this year is because of a change in the way the department calculates the data.

School districts cited in the Mid-South area include Shelby, Tipton, Hardeman and Lauderdale Counties, Bartlett and Collierville.

WMC5 talked to Shelby County Schools leaders about what they're doing to improve the way they train teachers and principals who interact with these students in the district.

"For the last year, we have been addressing social emotional learning very intentionally in our district, so we have a series of schools that have gone through what we call trauma informed schools to move from kind of punitive disciplinary actions into a much more collaborative,” said Natalia Powers from SCS.

If upon review, a school district is found to be significantly disproportionate, they are required to redirect 15 percent of funds from the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" for coordinated early intervening services to address areas of disproportionality.

There is not an additional fine or punitive action from the state.

The Millington School District was also cited in the report but appealed and has since been removed.

Other districts that were cited have seven business days upon receipt to submit an appeal.

WMC5 reached out to all of the other districts for comment and is waiting to hear back.

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