Complaints over Huntsville City Schools’ student Code of Conduct prompt response from administrators

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Several teachers and parents within the Huntsville City School System have expressed frustrations for months with this year's student Code of Conduct.

The new policy is geared towards keeping all kids in the classroom, including students who are causing problems. When students act out, their teachers are now supposed to handle the disciplinary actions in the classroom rather than send them to the office.

Topper Birney is a former board member with Huntsville City Schools and says the new policy is very concerning.  He said he has heard from several teachers in recent months about the changes. "Teachers can't teach their lessons. It is obvious when there is a disruptive child or two in the classroom. The other kids are not going to learn and our whole school system therefore suffers," says Birney.

School administrators say they are offering teachers various support systems and are encouraging them to express any behavior concerns.

"We look at discipline weekly and we provide feedback to our principals and ways that we can support the schools in being successful," said Dr. Barbara Cooper, Huntsville City Schools Deputy Superintendent.

Gregory Hicks is the school district's behavioral learning director. This week he emailed staff members acknowledging the problems that teachers are facing.  He encouraged teachers to send him their issues so that administrators can make adjustments for next year. District leaders also made ways for teachers to send in questions about the code of conduct in addition to suggestions for solutions. They also offer other ways for teachers to express their concerns.

"They also have faculty meetings where they are able to discuss the code of student conduct and really keep it on the radar as an area that we are really focusing on this year. And we encourage them to give us that feedback, because the only way that we make our code of student conduct stronger and better and truly a tool that is going to continue to support teachers is by hearing from teachers, responding to that feed back, and make sure that we are creating a document that will be supportive of teaching and learning in the classroom," said Dr. Cooper.

Parents who have concerns are also asked to send in their concerns.