Huntsville City Schools’ new Code of Conduct causing changes in the classroom this year

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - This year, Huntsville City Schools made some system-wide changes to the student Code of Conduct. The school system has several goals in mind the Code of Conduct is geared towards achieving. The ultimate goal is to keep students in the classroom learning.

Gregory Hicks is the school system's Behavioral Learning Director.  He explained one of the goals.

"To teach a child how to behave. If the child is struggling with English, we teach them. If they are struggling with behavior, obviously the answer should also be teach them," Hicks said.

There are also big changes in terms of student discipline - and how students are punished. The student discipline section is broken down into three classes of offense, each with different levels of misconduct and disciplinary actions.

"All of these things that focus on instruction the data shows that our discipline is steadily going down," said Hicks.  "So it is not just this code of conduct, it does help but this is what we have been look for a long time now."

When comparing the new Code of Conduct to previous years, there are several changes in discipline.  What used to be a Class Two offense is now a Class One offense, which means teacher are required to handle the situation differently.

"We need to teach them the soft skills. We need to teach them to get along with each other. We need to teach them to communicate their feelings, communicate them well," said Hicks.

If a student misbehaves they want to avoid kicking the student out of classroom because that keeps them from learning.

Cheating used to be a Class Two offense, with the teacher contacting the student's parent as well as handing down in-school suspension.  If the student was caught a second time, they were suspended for up to five days.

In the new Code of Conduct, cheating is a Class One offense.  Now for this violation, the teacher attempts an in-class correction and then has a meeting with the student to explain to them what they did wrong.  If this behavior continues, the teacher is asked to repeat same steps just mentioned along with making a phone call to the student's parent.

The changes made to the handbook put more disciplinary action in the hands of the teacher.  If a student disrupts class, instead of the student being sent to the principal's office, the teacher is now expected to make an "attempt at in-class correction and conference with the student."

If you have a child attending Huntsville City Schools and have questions or concerns about the new Code of Conduct email Gregory Hicks.