- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - As the new school year gets underway, district officials are hoping to continue last year’s trend toward fewer disciplinary incidents.

Between August 2013 and May 2014, the school system recorded 40,546 major incidents. Those can include a wide range of offenses, including repeated tardiness, fighting, disrupting class or bringing weapons to campus. The number of incidents was lower than in the two previous years.

“This progress indicates that our overall health and wellness model and 100 Percent In, 100 Percent Out plan is working and is having the predicted outcomes,” said district Health and Wellness Director Bradley Cruice told Advertiser (https://bit.ly/1vMgP3P) in an email.

Over the past two years, the district has made changes in how it handles discipline. The N.P. Moss Preparatory School and associated AMI Kids programs work with students who have the most numerous or difficult problems. In general, the philosophy has been to keep students in school, rather than unmonitored and out of the classroom. Some critics have said that the new models are confusing and add stress to teachers, while others say they have had positive results.

Last year in Lafayette Parish elementary schools, there were 9,065 major incidents, according to the district. That was a decrease from 9,559 incidents the year before, but higher than the 8,856 major incidents recorded in 2011-12. Most of the incidents happened among fourth-grade students.

Last year in local middle schools, there were 14,440 major incidents, the lowest in three years. Most of the incidents happened among sixth-grade students. The middle schools with the highest number of reported incidents were Paul Breaux Middle (2,374), Lafayette Middle (2,357) and Carencro Middle (2,020).

In high schools, there were 17,041 major incidents last year. That is lower than the 18,557 major incidents the year before but higher than the 16,206 major incidents in 2011-12.

Lafayette High Principal Patrick Leonard said his school’s number of discipline incidents was virtually unchanged between 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Leonard said he attributes the number of incidents to the large volume of students at the school. Lafayette High is the largest school in the parish.

“Being that we’re a school that was basically built for 1,800 kids, and we’re trying to house close to 2,500, we have a really close proximity for the students,” Leonard said.

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Information from: The Advertiser, https://www.theadvertiser.com

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