TPSD seeks community input about discipline

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – School district officials will continue to seek community input as they shape new discipline policies.
Discipline in Tupelo’s public schools has been a hot topic over the past year, and administrators have been working to develop more thorough guidelines.
Several of those policies were on the school board’s agenda during Tuesday’s meeting, but Interim Superintendent David Meadows asked the board to delay adopting them so the district could have more conversations with residents.
“I hope we can continue the open dialogue with parents and teachers across the school year as we define our discipline matrix,” Meadows said.
District officials held a pair of meetings with community members recently about the topic. Meadows said he wants even broader input.
Meanwhile, Tupelo educators will be encouraged to use the first 20 days of the school year to set firm classroom expectations.
The school board did take one step on Tuesday to address discipline in the district, approving a new “Tupelo Structure Day Program,” which will be housed at the Fillmore Center for students with major discipline violations.
The program will be run like a boot camp in that it will have tight regulations for students to follow, said Assistant Superintendent Fred Hill. It also will have three or four school safety officers present to maintain a structured environment.
The program will cost about $500,000 and will have a capacity of 50 students.
Last year, the school district used the private company Ombudsman Educational Services to run its alternative school.
This year, it will use Ombudsman to focus on students who are struggling academically. The program will be for 10th- to 12th-grade students who are two school years behind their peers or those with minor discipline issues.
The Ombudsman program will be aligned with the High School Advancement Academy, which is for freshmen who are two academic years behind their peers. Both programs will be housed at Church Street school.