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Increasing behavioral issues at elementary schools warrant new approach

Submitted by on January 17, 2020 – 12:56 amNo Comment

The number of incidents of classroom disruptions and bad behavior in elementary schools is rising at an alarming rate across the country.

According to a 2019 EAB survey of nearly 1,900 elementary school teachers, administrators, and staff, disruptive behaviors have increased rapidly in elementary school classrooms over the last three years. The survey revealed the trend is alarming to teachers, who often feel they lack guidelines and training to address the growing number of disturbances.

Alpena Public Schools is preparing to begin a pilot at Besser Elementary School to help teachers, students and classrooms better handle bad behavior issues.

APS Superintendent John VanWagoner agrees that behavioral issues are increasing at the elementary level, even in kindergarten. The pilot program at Besser is expected to help teachers, students who act out and other kids in the classroom.

Administrators hope the pilot will eventually lead to a better solution at all schools and for all grade levels. But the program will cost money, something the district doesn’t have a lot of. The project calls for a “student support facilitator” who will assess incidents and help teachers manage them. Another position, “behavior tech” might be provided to the district through the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency, which also provides APS with school success workers.

The pilot calls for a special classroom that will be staffed and house kids who act out in class. Administrators say that allowing a student who misbehaved return to the classroom after a brief counseling, can also be traumatic for other children in the room.