Fewer student offenses reported

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - It seems more Chesterfield students are following the rules. Numbers show student conduct has improved over last year, even though enrollment is up. Overall school violence has decreased, and not just this year, which is right on par with national trends.

For this Monacan High School junior, the rules and the consequences for the school year are crystal clear.

"In the beginning of the year there's always an assembly that they tell any fights that happen, will be 15 days in  suspension, if you hit a teacher you could go to jail," said student Justin Maples.

And he says it's usually enough to deter his classmates from doing the wrong thing. School officials say these strict guidelines and strict enforcement are reflected in this year's student conduct numbers.

Despite some earlier incidents, this year, weapons offenses were down two and a half percent; violent behavior against staff fell 9 percent, and against others 13 percent. In-school suspensions have also dropped. There was a dramatic decrease in out of school suspensions by almost 20 percent compared to last year. School officials credit the results with prevention programs and partnerships with staff, resource officers, and parents.

"My son took his cell phone to school and dropped it on the playground and they called me right away when they found it and my child was punished for that. So they do a really good job corresponding with the parents," said Clinton Phillips, parent.

But that cell phone violation is one area that still needs work. The technology category has seen a huge increase, emerging as a new and growing problem. Violence against other students is also on the rise by 19 percent.

"We're going to push every single category, we want to see everyone have a downward trend," said Shawn Smith, Chesterfield County Schools Community Relations.

Officials say there's no way to compare these numbers to other school districts as each school system may have different codes and disciplinary measures.

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