Discipline mistakes forces Waco ISD to evaluate and make changes - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Discipline mistakes forces Waco ISD to evaluate and make changes

WACO, TX (KXXV) - Mistakes made by Waco ISD are drawing statewide attention. Last school year, several students were expelled or placed in alternative school by accident. Now, the Texas Education Agency is looking at the school districts disciplinary practices, which has forced them to make some changes.

District officials say in some cases mistakes were made because of negligence.

School districts in Texas are rated based on how they handle discipline issues on a scale of zero to four. A recent report from tea shows Waco ISD was given the worst rating possible of Stage 4.

Among the problems were that 20 students were expelled without authorization last school year. 15 of those cases were caused by incorrect coding and five of them were caused because staff was not aware of policy changes. In a separate case a five year old was incorrectly placed in alternative school. Waco ISD's Executive Director of Student Services Rick Hartley say mistakes like these are unacceptable.

"It never should have happened. It happened one time, but even one time is too much. That is why TEA responded so quickly on that. It is considered a level three offense and it should be. It should not occur," Hartley said.

Another problem the school district faces is placing more African American students in alternative school than all the other races combined. An acceptable ratio is determined by TEA, but Waco ISD's is higher than normal.

School district officials say they are taking care of the problem.

"We want things done right. Actually when we got word about some of these issues back in January, I had training done in a week. We jumped on it immediately. in fact since that point we have been tracking all potential areas not just these but other ones TEA monitors," Hartley said.

They have addressed the issues with alternative school administrators and admission staff so these mistakes will not happen again. As well as reminding school administrators district-wide about the current discipline programs in place that would limit the number of students who are placed in alternative schools.

School district officials say TEA does make changes on a yearly basis on rules and requirements based on discipline, but this time in some cases they just simply dropped the ball.
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