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PAISD creates ‘dean of discipline’ at MHS

Port Arthur Independent School District is looking to address disciplinary issues and in turn make for a better learning environment at Memorial High School with the creation of a dean of discipline position.

Trustees on Monday unanimously approved the creation of the dean of discipline position. Trustees Kenneth Lofton and Thomas Kinlaw III were absent from the meeting.

According to information from PAISD, the “dean of discipline will work closely with the principal, school personnel and students to build and maintain a positive, safe and orderly school climate and direct the activities which effectively manage the education/disciplinary plans and programs of the students.”

“Students need to learn how to behave,” Superintendent Mark Porterie said. “We need one person to focus on discipline at Memorial High School. This will not be a person who arbitrarily puts a student out but ensures teachers are able to teach.”

The dean of discipline role comes with a long list of major responsibilities and duties such as assisting staff and parents in developing student behavioral/attendance expectations and confer appropriate consequences for behavior as well as working with the assistant principal on monitoring attendance and discipline and attend disciplinary hearings when necessary.   This person will report to the school principal.

Porterie, in his weekly column in the Port Arthur News, stated the district’s focus in the upcoming school year will be on strengthening the delivery of instruction, improving student learning and performance, and addressing student discipline.

PAISD will also work to make sure the community understands the student code of conduct and hopes for parents to take a more active role in changing the behavior of students who continually cause disruptions in the classroom or on the campus.

“It is simply unfair to both the teacher who wants to teach and to students who want to learn,” Porterie said in the June 6 column. “For all to have to tolerate a disruptive student that requires the teacher to continually spend time redirecting and addressing his/her negative behavior is unfair and unacceptable. We do understand that every child has a right to a free and appropriate public education. However, when is it enough? When does it cross the line if other students are unable to receive the education they deserve because a particular student or some students choose to be disruptive — in the classroom — at the schoolhouse.”

Board Vice-President Robert Reid said the principal and assistant principals at the high school are doing a great job but they need more help and this new position gives them that help.

“There is a discipline problem at Memorial,” Reid said after the meeting. “It’s affecting our learning environment. It’s affecting the students who come to school to learn and affecting the teachers who are trying to teach.”
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