Behavior Needs to Change At SCHS

Senior Kathrine Mahoney shares her opinion on student behavior at SCHS this year.

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Senior Kathrine Mahoney shares her opinion on student behavior at SCHS this year.

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As the first semester comes to a close and students on the events within it, many realize that SCHS had a rough start to the school year, especially in terms of the behavior amongst the student body.    

Yes, there were some uncontrollable factors that may have triggered the shift.  The school had changes in administration with Joe Pat Covington retiring and Meocha Williams taking over as the new head principal.  The school brought on several new assistants, and whenever there is a change in leadership, there are always adjustments.

The school experienced a rapid increase in student population with the combining of the 9th Grade School with SCHS that led to traffic jams in the halls and a packed cafeteria during lunch blocks.  Everywhere I turned, there were more students than there had ever been before.

Upperclassmen in the building, such as myself, quickly noticed that the most dominant change in the behavior of students was the increase of fights happening on school property.  The constant violence caused students to feel as if one wrong move or one misunderstood conversation could lead to threatening or violence from peers.

There has been many differences of opinion as to what has caused the tension and poor behavior in some students at school. In December, I sat down and discussed with Mrs. Williams about my concerns.   Mrs.Williams believed that this change in behavior was caused by “an increase in student bodies,” and she also said that “social media incidents are being brought into school.”

While both of these are valid opinions, I personally believe that the increase in violence has been caused by the decrease in discipline.  As a student, I have witnessed fellow students make poor choices before this school year. For example, if a student disrespected a teacher, he or she was removed from the classroom and sent immediately to ISS.  However, this year, that has not always been the case.

Mrs. Williams acknowledged during our meeting that more “administrative hearings” were being held rather than punishments, especially for first offensives. An administrative hearing is a meeting with the student that includes their counselor, their assigned administrator and it may or may not include the parents. While this may sound effective, the less severe consequences for behavior seem to be doing little to reduce the number of repetitive offenders. Students school-wide have noticed that the offenders are repeat offenders.  These students cause constant disruptions, but yet the consequences given have not been as effective as needed.

The school has tried to diminish student behavior with some new options. One of the new options of discipline that is offered at SCHS this year is a return of Saturday school.  Students attend school for approximately four hours, and while here, they may receive some tutoring services.

Personally, this option doesn’t seem as threatening to students now as it may have in the past.  Why would a student’s behavior change by coming to school on a Saturday when there are no other students present?   

I believe there is still work to be done. With students becoming more comfortable with their peers and more understanding of the expectations set forth by the school, it’s time we become more aware of one another and think before we act. Many of us were taught this rule in first grade and it’s time we all remember this. And if we can’t behave properly, administration needs to assign serious consequences to the offenders quickly.  If that can be done, SCHS can be back on the path of achieving excellence.

*The views, opinions, and positions expressed by the author are hers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions or SCHS or any employee of it.