A New Approach To Discipline

February 6, 2007
Reported by Vince Atkinson

What is the best way to discipline young students at school?  This is a question that has been debated for years.   Tuesday night the Calcasieu Parish School Board took a step toward trying a new form of discipline.   We are talking about a proposed elementary alternative school that is being considered for the parish.   School board members say the idea for the elementary alternative school is not to warehouse students with discipline problems, but to face the issue and attempt to fix the problem.

Tamara Keys has been working with elementary students for 25 years and has been a school counselor for the past 12 years.   Keys has met with more than her share of students who have crossed the line of good conduct.   Keys said, "Some come in being angry.   Maybe something happened at home that morning and they just can not focus ... As you are aware, we've got LEAP testing and I-LEAP testing, all those things we are having to focus on and get children ready for.   If you have to stop and work with a child who is being disruptive, it takes away from that time."

Disciplinary problems are part of the reason why the old vacant St. John Elementary School in Lake Charles is being considered for Calcasieu Parish's first ever elementary alternative school.  Calcasieu Parish School Board Member R. L. Webb is not shy about expressing his ideas on the concept.   Webb said, "I sure hope the board will pass this so that we might be able to implement this."

The school board did approve the plan for the alternative school for future talks.   While the majority of the Calcasieu Parish School Board members support the idea, it is not a done deal yet.   The idea has now been sent to the budget committee for review and to figure out just how much the idea will cost.